With the snow finally melting away, driving enthusiasts and sunshine lovers turn an eye toward bringing their sports car out of hibernation, or even buying a new sports car. While you might think of a Chevrolet Corvette or a Porsche as the ultimate toy for driving around on a gorgeous Sunday, you don't need a car that starts at $50,000 or more to enjoy the summer sun. Our affordable sports car rankings highlight models that start at less than $25,000, and range from two-seaters like the Mazda MX-5 Miata to muscle cars with available V8 engines like the Chevrolet Camaro. Many of these sports cars are just coming off a redesign or have received a recent refresh, making now a great time to be considering a sports car.
The fully redesigned 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is slated to go on sale this summer. The 2016 Miata carries on with the same basic formula of a small, two-seat convertible powered by a four-cylinder engine. The 2015 Mazda Miata currently places fourth in our affordable sports car rankings, earning praise for its nimble handling and fun driving dynamics. After driving a pre-production model overseas, Car and Driver reports that the 2016 Mazda Miata is incredibly rewarding to drive.
Some of the Miata's closest competitors in the class are the 2015 Subaru BRZ and 2015 Scion FR-S. Both coupes are powered by a four-cylinder engine, and they earn praise for their athletic handling, responsive steering and supportive front seats. Unlike the Miata, the BRZ and FR-S both have a small back seat, though most critics say that these seats are best suited for kids or as additional luggage space.
Another soon-to-be redesigned affordable sports car, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, will be unveiled May 16 in Detroit, according to Chevrolet. The 2015 Chevy Camaro currently ranks in sixth place, ahead of the refreshed 2015 Dodge Challenger but behind the top-ranked 2015 Ford Mustang, which was just redesigned.
If you want a sports car that is fun to drive and offers a little more practicality, the 2015 Volkswagen GTI is tied with the Mustang in first place in our affordable sports car rankings, and its hatchback body style gives it significantly more cargo space than a typical sports car. Test drivers remark that the GTI's rear seats are welcoming to tall passengers, which isn't the case with cars like the Camaro, BRZ or Mustang.
If you want a V8-powered muscle car but can't do without a practical back seat and trunk, the 2015 Dodge Charger is a full-size sedan available with one of three V8 engines, ranging from a 370-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 to a 707-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The Charger has a full-size back seat and over 16 cubic feet of trunk space, which is larger than most sports cars' trunks. Similar to the Charger, the 2015 Chevrolet SS has a standard V8 engine, is available with a manual transmission and delivers robust acceleration, according to critics.