As winter draws its last chilly salvos and we look forward to warmer temperatures and sunny skies, our hearts turn to sports cars. And although the number of sports cars has dwindled over the decade, there are still some very tempting choices.
With the exception of the Volkswagen, all are rear-wheel drive, ensuring you have fun. Even in their base form, these cars provide a lot more driving feel than some stuffy sedan with styling accessories to make you think it’s sporty, or a clunky crossover that looks more like a garden shed than a a car.
These vehicles are the real deal. All come with manual transmissions as standard equipment, and the base prices shown do not include destination charges, options, or sales tax. And given that the average new vehicle costs over $47,000, these trips are a bargain. Saddle up; it’s time to drive.
5. 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI: $29,545
the ancestor of hot hatches, the Volkswagen GTI receives a complete redesign for 2022, making it the eighth generation of the iconic hot hatch. With 111.8 cubic feet of interior space, including a substantial 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space, the EPA considers it a mid-size car despite its compact car length.
For that price, you get the base S trim with a 6-speed manual transmission; the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic will cost you an extra $800. The GTI is powered by VW’s 2.0-liter turbocharged E888 4-cylinder engine rated at 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque that delivers quick acceleration and crisp handling. It ruthlessly tackles corners with effortless German efficiency and is thankfully free of steering torque. It’s a classic pleasure box.
4. 2022 Toyota GR86: $27,700 / 2022 Subaru BRZ: $27,995
These identical, rear-wheel-drive cousins have a lot in common. These pretty little go-karts are the result of Subaru Toyota exterior and interior design and engineering. Its 2+2 configuration has a rear bench seat that lacks usable legroom and is best thought of as a padded storage shelf to augment the comfortable trunk, a horizontally opposed 2.4-liter engine that produces 228 hp and 184 lbs. -ft of torque.
A 6-speed manual is standard; a 6-speed automatic transmission is optional. With perfect steering and brake feel, and a predictable cornering nature, this car remains a mess of throwing fun with athletic responsiveness in a small and lightweight package. The steering is quick, the body tilt non-existent and the ride firm, not strenuous.
3. 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata: $27,300
For 2022, the MX-5 Miata gets a new feature that slightly slows the inside rear wheel in high-speed corners. Other changes are minimal – and that’s a good thing. The Miata retains its lively 2.0-liter Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine that sends 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission.
A 6-speed automatic transmission is available on the much more expensive Grand Touring model. As before, the Miata uses double-wishbone front suspension with aluminum arms, multi-link rear suspension, monotube shock absorbers, front and rear stabilizer bars. Its great looks, lightness, handling and handling are unlike any other sports car you can buy, making it a modern-day classic.
2. 2022 Ford Mustang: $27,205
The world’s best-selling and most iconic sports car on this list, the Mustang remains a bargain for performance cars, even in base trim. This model’s EcoBoost is a turbocharged 2.3-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder and independent twin variable cam timing mated to a Getrag 6-speed manual transmission. and producing 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. .
To the Fast and Furious crowd, that might not seem like a lot, but it’s just five less than a 2010 Mustang GT. That’s enough to hit 60 mph in a sketch in 5.1 seconds. And the Fastback’s double-bubble roof design lends a bit of European craftsmanship to this sassy, amazing pony.
2022 Chevrolet Camaro: $25,000
Look again at this price. $25,000; It’s less than a Toyota Camry and a whole lot more fun. Looking at the car. Its style is a clear evolution of the previous car, which was inspired by the first Camaro. Its styling obstructs the driver’s view, but side mirrors and driver assistance systems help compensate.
The cabin is incredibly well put together, with high quality materials. A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder produces 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque through a 6-speed manual or an optional 8-speed automatic. The handling is superb, with a nice feel. Its solid grip is solid in turns as it communicates exactly what is going on. It offers what enthusiasts are really looking for: driving pleasure. And it’s a great car when considered in those terms.