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The 9 Cheapest Fast Cars, Subaru WRX And BRZ, More Than Affordability

What are the new sports cars that are fun, fast, and still affordable? Subaru has two. See why the 2024 WRX and 2024 BRZ should be on your shopping list. They offer more than affordability.

If your sports car budget is around $30,000 to $33,000, you have nine new, fun, fast, and affordable options. U.S. News ranked the best models, and I've listed them here. But which ones are the best?

U.S. News says, "If you are on a budget and have a need for speed, the options are limited, but there are still some fast, fun vehicles that don't break the bank."

Take a look at your options from this list, which includes performance scores from U.S. News, and then I'll explain why the 2024 Subaru WRX and 2024 Subaru BRZ are top picks

The 9 Cheapest Fast Cars in 2024 Under $35,000

  • 2024 Hyundai Elantra N: $33,700 | 276 hp | Performance Score: 8.9/10
  • 2024 Subaru WRX: $32,735 | 271 hp | Performance Score: 7.3/10
  • 2024 Volkswagen GTI: $31,965 | 241 hp | Performance Score: 9.3/10
  • 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club: $31,550 | 181 hp | Performance Score: 8.8/10
  • 2024 Subaru BRZ: $30,195 | 228 hp | Performance Score: 8.7/10
  • 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost: $30,920 | 315 hp | Performance Score: 8.0/10
  • 2024 Toyota GR86: $29,300 | 228 hp | Performance Score: 8.7/10
  • 2024 Mini Cooper S: $29,100 | 189 hp | Performance Score: 7.8/10
  • 2024 Honda Civic Si: $29,100 | 200 hp | Performance Score: 8.2/10

The 2024 Subaru BRZ

  • $30,195 | 228 hp | Performance Score: 8.7/10

U.S. News says, "The 2024 Subaru BRZ sets a benchmark for affordable sports cars with its blend of performance, style, and technology. Under the hood sits a 2.4-liter "boxer" four-cylinder engine delivering 228 horsepower. You also get your choice between a six-speed manual transmission and a six-speed automatic transmission."

"This Subaru's classic sports car design features a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, ensuring exceptional handling and balance. It even features a TORSEN limited-slip rear differential."

"Inside, the BRZ caters to driving purists with features like quick-ratio steering, sport seats with substantial bolstering and a digital instrument cluster with a G-force meter and modes for Sport and Track. The base Premium trim includes dual-zone automatic climate control and an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto."

  • Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 228
  • Top Speed: 140 mph
  • 0-60 mph Time: 6 seconds

The 2024 Subaru WRX

  • $32,735 | 271 hp | Performance Score: 7.3/10

U.S. News says, "The 2024 Subaru WRX continues its legacy as a rally-inspired sports car (regardless of how many doors it has) with advanced technology and performance."

"It features a 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer engine delivering 271 horsepower, routing power to standard symmetrical all-wheel drive through a six-speed manual transmission. The WRX offers a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which is an unlikely choice for a performance vehicle. Even with its simulated "gears," it's not as rewarding as the manual."

"The WRX also boasts a track-tuned suspension for sharp cornering, and its ride quality is easily the most refined of any WRX to date. The cabin is function-first and won't be confused with a luxury car any time soon. Impressively, Subaru has made many of the EyeSight driver-assistance features standard even in the manual model, which is no easy feat given how these safety features affect the throttle and brakes."

  • Engine: Turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 271
  • Top Speed: 155 mph
  • 0-60 mph Time: 5 seconds

I think one significant thing performance enthusiasts looking for an affordable, fun, fast, and fun-to-drive sports car need to know is what sets the Subaru WRX and BRZ apart from the others on the list.

The Subaru Boxer Engine sits low for a lower center of gravity.

Subaru has a unique engine design using a Boxer engine. No other automaker uses it except for Porsche. Subaru is the only automaker that uses the Boxer engine in every one of its models. 

The Subaru Boxer sits flat in the chassis because the pistons are horizontally opposed instead of vertically, like most engine designs. It's not just the WRX and BRZ. All Subaru vehicles have a lower center of gravity because of the Boxer engine, giving the car more stability and improving driving performance. 

It's Called Balance

The WRX and BRZ bring a unique quality called balance that sets the sports cars apart from all others on the list above. As with a professional athlete, it's the most important thing and the difference between being good and being great. 

Scientifically, balance is defined as the body's ability to maintain its center of gravity above its base of support. In a sports car, it helps maintain stability in all driving situations. 

It's Why BRZ and WRX Have The Highest Road Scores

In Consumer Reports testing, the Subaru BRZ and Subaru WRX have the top road test scores in the 4/5 seat sports car category. The BRZ has the highest score of 86/100, and the WRX is next with a score of 83/100.

You don't have to spend $50,000 to drive a fun and fast sports car. If your sports car budget is around $30,000 to $33,000, check out the 2024 Subaru WRX and 2024 Subaru BRZ. They have the best balance. 


What do you think is the best cheap and fast sports car? Please click the red Add new comment link to write your comment and participate in the discussion.

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News and Subaru reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 13 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Subaru USA


Mike (not verified)    May 13, 2024 - 2:34PM

In reply to by Colin Butler (not verified)

The WRX currently has 0% financing for up to 72 months (In the LAX zone) on remaining 2023 models. That alone has sold a handful here in Tucson, Arizona.