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10 Cheap Turbo Cars

Enjoy Some Boost On a Budget With These Turbocharged Cars

Over the years as automakers have had to comply with federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy(CAFE) standards, they have reduced the weight of their vehicles and increasingly turned to turbocharged engines to supply the power. On one hand, the CAFE standards originally led to smaller vehicles; on the other, they have made it easier to find a wide variety of cheap turbo cars on the used car market.

Cheap Turbo Cars For Sale: Score a Deal on a Reliable Model

While there are a plethora of turbocharged cars on the market, much like any used car purchase, it pays to do your homework before making a purchase. And though you may be able to find a dirt-cheap turbocharged model, in many cases it pays to spend a little bit more for a car that will last.

To that end, the cheap turbo cars listed below have a price cap of $25,000, and while not everyone will find that “cheap,” if you get a well-maintained used car that can serve you reliably for many miles and years to come, that price point will actually be more affordable than the upfront cost might indicate.

Chevrolet Cruze

The Chevrolet Cruze is one of the cheapest turbo cars on our list. All trim levels have a 1.4L turbo under the hood, but if you opt for the Premier trim, you’ll get some added creature and tech comforts.

The turbo 1.4L under the cowl offers up 153 hp and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. Those numbers might sound a tad low, but the Cruze is a very lightweight sedan. And the Chevy Cruze is capable of 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway for a combined fuel economy of 34 mpg which looks pretty good at the gas pump.

The Premier trim package gets all the equipment standard on the three lower trim levels plus the addition of 17-inch wheels, an upgraded rear suspension, ambient interior lighting, and the optional RS Appearance package. This package adds foglights, a rear spoiler, a sport body kit, and 18-inch wheels.

Score a Cruze with the Sun and Sound package for a sunroof, color information center, a larger center touchscreen, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, and a navigation system. The Driver Confidence II package consists of rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlight control, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning with intervention technology. That’s a lot of features packed into this relatively cheap turbocharged car.

Subaru Impreza WRX STI

If you are looking for cheap turbo cars with AWD and are considering bang for your buck, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI might be a winner. And while newer year models of the WRX STI are known for being fast from the factory and commensurately pricey, if you look for a car that is 5-10 model years older, you can find a good number of options under $25,000.

The Subaru Impreza WRX STI is powered by a tough-as-nails 2.5L turbo inline I4 that generates 305 hp and 290 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s good for a top speed of 160 mph — awesome stats for a car that weighs 2,900 lbs.

Plus, the Impreza WRX has one of the largest aftermarkets in the world. So rest assured you can easily tune your WRX STI for north of 400 hp in a heartbeat if that’s your end game. If not, you’ll still find the stock Subaru WRX STI is surprisingly versatile and fun to drive.

Volkswagen Golf TDI

2005 VW Golf TDi; (photo/Harvey Giles)

No turbo vehicle list would be complete without a turbo diesel car, and the Volkswagen Golf TDI is our reverent nod to that group. Powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbodiesel, the Golf TDI packs a lot of power into a small hatchback. The engine has great output at 140 hp and 236 lb.-ft. of torque.

The standard gearbox is either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic depending on the model year. Opt for the manual for some fun driving. In confident hands, a Golf TDI has a top speed in excess of 130 mph.

And, more importantly, the economical hatchback gets 42 mpg on the highway … so long as you don’t bury that right pedal too often to test the top speed.

Ford Focus ST

Though most drivers might jump to shopping for the Focus RS, if you’re looking for a cheap turbo car don’t overlook the Ford Focus ST. This slightly more affordable option from Ford will give you a few more options when shopping around. And with the Focus ST, Ford built a fun little car that is relatively affordable, too.

The Focus ST is powered by a gritty 2.0L turbo 4 paired to a 6-speed manual transmission. The engine is capable of 252 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. The Focus ST is able to make it from 0-60 mph in a nearly flat 6 seconds.

Add in the standard alloy 18-inch wheels, performance brakes, an electronic limited-slip front differential, keyless ignition and entry, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, and the six-speaker sound system with a CD player, and you can see how this is a pretty cool turbocharged car.

BMW 335i xDrive

Let’s step away from the hot hatches for a second and dabble in the premium sedan segment. The BMW 335i xDrive is a splendid entry-level executive car. If you don’t mind shopping an older model year from the early 2010s, it can fit your budget, too.

In 2013, BMW redesigned the 3-series. One of the biggest changes was the addition of a turbocharged inline 4. The inline-4 isn’t as desirable as the 335i’s turbocharged inline-6 which some professional reviewers have called “one of the most powerful and invigorating engines in the luxury segment.” Producing 300 hp with a matching 300 lb.-ft. of torque, the 3.0L six thrills nearly every driver that tests its limits.

In addition to plenty of power, you get a sedan equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive and auto-leveling xenon headlights, automatic high beams, and a sunroof. All that is on top of a sumptuous leather interior and a driver-centric command center.

Fiat 124 Spider

The Fiat 124 Spider is powered by a turbocharged engine across its entire lineup. Introduced in 2017 and available in several different trim levels, the 124 Spider is a fun turbocharged package with an affordable price tag.

Powered by a 1.4L multi-air turbo 4, the 124 Spider makes in the range of 160 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. Mated to a 6-speed gearbox, you can find used 124 Spiders in both an auto or manual configuration. The range-topping Abarth was even outfitted with paddle shifters if you really want a sporty feel.

Additionally, you’ll find features like 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, foglights, automatic climate control, heated seats, leather upholstery, and the Technology package. The tech package brings keyless push-button entry, a rearview camera, HD radio, and a 7-inch touchscreen to the table. Not bad for cheap turbo cars under $25,000.

Audi A4

The Audi A4 is perhaps not as exciting as some of the turbocharged sports cars out there, but it’s still a fun car to own. Additionally, you only have to go back a handful of model years in order to afford the decked-out Prestige trim level, should you desire to pilot your A4 in luxury.

The Audi A4 Prestige is powered by a 2.0L turbo engine that produces 211 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. And the A4 Prestige adds quite a bit of comfort when compared to other cheap turbo cars on the market.

The A4 Prestige gets Audi’s MMI Navigation package which includes front and rear parking sensors, Audi’s MMI infotainment interface, a navigation system, a rearview camera, HD radio, and Audi Connect. Other features are adaptive xenon headlights, keyless entry and ignition, blind-spot warning system, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Volvo S60

For decades Volvo suffered from a mixed reputation. On the one hand, the company was known for building ultra-safe cars. On the other, it was known for having some of the drabbest styling in the industry. When the company redesigned all of its vehicles to eliminate boring styling from its repertoire, the Volvo S60 was one of the beneficiaries.

The entire Volvo S60 line is turbocharged, and each trim level brings a fair amount of luxury to the table. If you can find a range-topping trim level in your budget, you can count on the S60 to deliver class-leading power and suburb luxury for quite a bit less than other cheap turbo cars.

With the top trim package, the Volvo S60 is powered by a 3.0L turbo 6 that blasts 300 hp and 325 lb.-ft. of torque through an exceptional 6-speed Geartronic transmission (lower levels get a 2.5L turbo). And as an added bonus, this is an AWD sedan.

As to the luxury, an S60 with the Premier package offers drivers automatic headlights with washers, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats with lumbar adjustment, driver memory settings, power-folding rear headrests, a 7-inch display screen, Bluetooth, a CD player, satellite radio, keyless entry and ignition, a sunroof, leather upholstery, a configurable instrument display, and a rearview camera.

Honda Civic Coupe

The Honda Civic has been a best-selling model across North America for decades and has become known for being a reliable and economic car. The turbo 1.5L powerplant is no exception to that rule.

The popular 1.5L turbo 4 in the Honda Civic produces 174 hp and 162 lb.-ft. of torque. And it’s capable of a combined 35 mpg, making it a great option for any type of driving. Additional features, depending on the trim package, include heated side mirrors, a multi-function trip computer, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, an 8-speaker audio system.

In terms of tech, you can find used Civics with a wide variety of safety features including Honda’s LaneWatch lane-change assist system, a rearview camera, a touchscreen interface with HondaLink smartphone integration, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SMS voice-to-text functionality.

In terms of looks, the coupe gets 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, and a rear decklid spoiler for a bit more of a sporty look. Add remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, satellite radio, leather upholstery, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and there’s a lot to like in this turbocharged car.

Ford Mustang Ecoboost

Through the many iterations of Ford’s famous pony car, there have been more than a few turbocharged options. And while muscle car purists might scoff at a Mustang without a V8, if you’re looking for low-mileage cheap turbo cars, the Ford Mustang Ecoboost is a great option that is both affordable and fun to drive.

The 4-cylinder EcoBoost cranks out 310 hp and up to 320 lb.-ft. of torque. And it still gets up to 26 mpg combined — not a bad combination if you want some enjoyment when you bury the right pedal but don’t want to cry when you have to fill up the tank. Ecoboost-equipped Mustang models from the mid-2010s came with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.

Opt for an Ecoboost Premium and you’ll get some upgraded features like heated and ventilated seats, a nine-speaker audio system, and a higher-end interior finish out. The Premium Ecoboost can also be found as a convertible as well as the fastback of the base Ecoboost.

Cheap Turbo Cars For Sale: Explore Your Options

If you’re looking for a sports car with a bit of extra poke, you can do worse than these options, though, as you’ll find, there are plenty of other cheap turbo cars on the market. Narrow down your shopping focus with our list of cheap turbo cars, and get the benefits of added boost without blowing your budget.

About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them, but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. I founded GearHeads.org and then built and ran AutoWise.com until selling it to Lola Digital Media in 2020. I look forward to watching AutoWise grow as part of the AllGear group.