These are some of the best sports cars you get at this price point

Who said you have to spend a bomb to purchase a fast sports car? If you go the pre-worshipped route, you can have your pick of the litter for as little as $20,000. The options you find in this price bracket are aplenty. Generally, you can get well-maintained cars when you are looking for a purchase in this segment, because it is generally the enthusiasts who buy sports cars and most of them take good care of them all along, barring a few rotten apples.

To be honest, $20,000 is a healthy budget if you are ready to compromise on the model year and the mileage. However, be careful because you can find wrecked cars with good skin as well. But, with that said, here’s a list of top 10 sickest used sports cars that cost less than $20,000.

Ford Focus ST

2015 Ford Focus ST High Resolution Exterior
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The Focus ST is the performance version of the Focus that goes up against the Civic Si and the Volkswagen GTI.

The new Focus ST is not available in the States, but its predecessor was sold here and plenty of used examples can be found under $20,000 in the most immaculate condition.

The ST came with neutral looks on the outside that pleased all and offended none. The interiors were well-screwed and as is with any Ford, came with a strong feature list in the top trim.

The car came with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost engine that produced 252 horses and 270 pound-feet of torque. Power was sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. The Focus ST sprinted to 60 mph from a standstill 6.2 seconds and topped out at 155 mph. That said, the car was not a fuel guzzler and with sedate driving, it could deliver up to 30 mpg on the highway.

Ford Focus ST specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder
Horsepower: 252 HP
Torque: 270 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Manual
0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph

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Read our full review on the 2015 Ford Focus ST.

Toyota 86 (GT86)

2017 Toyota 86 High Resolution Exterior
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The Toyota 86 (or GT86 as it’s known in Europe) is one of the smartest-looking coupes that feel modern and will age gracefully. The 86 is co-developed with Subaru and the latter definitely knows a thing or two about building performance cars. It was formerly known as the Scion FR-S before the brand was retired.

The 86 is one of the most affordable and best-used sports cars you can find today that comes with a rear-wheel-drive configuration.

The 86 is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that churns out 200 horses and 151 pound-feet of torque.

Since power is sent to the rear wheels, the handling is exceptional. It takes 6.4 seconds to hit the 60 mph mark and can sprint up to 130 mph. Since the car did not sell in big numbers, you’ll have to do some extra research to find a well-maintained 86.

Toyota 86 specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder
Horsepower: 200 HP
Torque: 151 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Automatic or Manual
0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
Top Speed: 130 mph

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Read our full review on the Toyota 86

Volkswagen Golf GTI

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Does the Golf GTI even need an introduction? The moniker has been around since the 70s and it has raked in several awards to date. The GTI is a fun-to-drive hatch that will make you grin every time you floor the A-pedal.

For under $20,000, you can get a car as new as a 2016 model year. The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mill under the hood makes 220 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque.

The engine can be had with either a six-speed manual or lightning-quick twin-clutch gearbox. The car is loaded to the gills in terms of features in top-spec trim and is also quite spacious and comfortable on the inside. You can find some excellent examples of this car for under $20,000.

Volkswagen Golf GTI specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged
Horsepower: 220 HP
Torque: 258 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Manual or Automatic
0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds
Top Speed: 124 mph

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Read our full review on the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Mazda MX-5 Miata

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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The MX-5 Miata has been almost every enthusiast’s crush at some point in time in their lives. The car gives out the stereotypical budget sports car feel and that is one of the reasons why it’s adored so much.

The Miata is available as a convertible with a soft-top or a hard-top. It is also known for its fuel economy, handling, and how well-connected it is with the driver. It comes with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that churns out 155 horses and 148 pound-feet of torque.

Power is sent to the rear wheels via an automatic or a manual gearbox. The MX-5 Miata gallops to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and has a top speed of 130 mph. You can find good examples as new as the 2016 model year for under $20,000.

Mazda MX-5 Miata specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder
Horsepower: 155 HP
Torque: 148 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Manual or Automatic
0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds
Top Speed: 130 mph

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Read our full review on the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda RX-8

2010 - 2011 Mazda RX-8
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The car was discontinued a long time ago, but it was one of the coolest budget sports cars at that time. The RX-8 came with a rear-wheel-drive layout and that is one the main reasons why it handled so well. It featured a slick six-speed manual gearbox that made the car all the more fun to drive.

The weak rotary engine was the fly in the ointment, but there are a lot of people out there who dig it. The RX-8 came with a puny 1.3-liter rotary engine in the base trims, but produced 212 horses and 159 pound-feet of torque. 0-60 mph came in 6.4 seconds and it could sprint to 145 mph. Since it wasn’t a very successful model, you can find examples of the RX-8 for dirt cheap rates.

Mazda RX-8 specifications
Engine: 1.3-liter, rotary engine
Horsepower: 212 HP
Torque: 159 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Manual
0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
Top Speed: 145 mph

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Read our full review on the 2011 Mazda RX-8

Subaru WRX STI

2015 - 2016 Subaru WRX STI Exterior
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The Subaru WRX STI is the perfect all-rounder you can have at this price point. With a four-door configuration and a rather generic body design, the WRX STI can be passed off as an ordinary sedan. However, the car is a beast under the hood.

The Subaru WRX STI was powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged mill that developed 304 ponies and 317 pound-feet of torque.

Power is sent to all the wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. The best part about this car was the low-end torque that made it fun-to-drive even when not revved hard. The Subaru WRX STI is also mighty quick, with 0-60 mph coming in under five seconds. The car has a high resale value, but you can find examples for under $20,000. It is easily one of the best sports cars you can have at this price point.

Subaru WRX STI specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged
Horsepower: 304 HP
Torque: 317 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Manual
0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds
Top Speed: 174 mph

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Read our full review on the 2016 Subaru WRX STI

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
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The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX came out in 2005. The fact that this was the ninth generation itself is a testimony to the car’s success.

The car was not a mediocre sports version of the standard namesake car like many other companies have put out.

It came with double the power figures of the standard Lancer. The car was a corner-carver capable of plastering a wide grin on your face every time you got behind the steering wheel. With an all-wheel-drive system, reworked suspension system over the basic Lancer, and a stiffened chassis, the Evo was a hoot-and-a-half to drive.

The Evo IX featured a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mill under the hood that made 276 horses and 262 pound-feet of torque. Power was sent to all the wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. The Lancer Evolution is one car that will not disappoint you, be it on the tracks or in the city.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX specifications
Engine: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder
Horsepower: 276 HP
Torque: 262 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Manual
0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph

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Read our full review on the 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Ford Mustang GT

2013 Ford Mustang GT Exterior
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The Ford Mustang GT looks great, drives fast, and is an all-rounder in true sense. Since we are talking about best sports cars under $20,000, you can get a 2013 model year Mustang GT at that price point. The 2013 Mustang GT will not please the tech-heads, but is sure to excite the folks looking for the ultimate driving pleasure.

The car came with a mighty 5.0-liter, V-8 mill that churns out 420 ponies and 380 pound-feet of twist. Power was sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. In terms of performance, the pony car took just 4.3 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standstill. The top speed was limited to 155 mph, although the car has the potential to go a lot faster.

Ford Mustang GT specifications
Engine: 5.0-liter, V-8
Horsepower: 420 HP
Torque: 380 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Manual
0-60 mph: 4.3 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph

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Read our full review on the 2013 Ford Mustang GT

Chevrolet Camaro SS

Top 10 Sickest Used Sports Cars That Cost Less Than $20,000 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Chevy Camaro SS is one of the best-used sports cars under $20,000 that you can buy today. The Mustang’s primary rival, this car from the bowtie brand is as strong in the real world as it is on paper. The American muscle styling coupled with big numbers makes the Camaro a true badass.

The Camaro SS is powered by a massive 6.2-liter, V-8 engine that makes 455 horses and the same amount of torque as well.

Power is sent down to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or an automatic gearbox. In a straight line, it could leave the Mustang GT dead in its tracks. The sprint to 60 mph can be done in four seconds flat, while the top speed is rated at 165 mph. Finding a sub-$20,000 model could be a hard task, but absolutely worth it.

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Read our full review on the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Chevrolet Corvette

2001 - 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C5)
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Chevrolete Corvette Z06 (C5)

The Corvette that you can get for under $20,000 is the C5, which is the fifth-gen of this sports car. The C5 was a significant improvement over its predecessor in terms of handling, weight distribution, and even fuel economy to an extent.

The Corvette C5 was powered by a 5.7-liter, V-8 engine that made 345 ponies and 350 pound-feet of torque.

The mill was mated to a six-speed manual as an option and a four-speed automatic as standard. The sports car came with a rear-mounted transaxle that was witnessed in the Porsche 944 and the Ferrari Daytona as well, and it helped Chevy achieve a near-perfect weight distribution. The new design language and architecture meant that the C5 Corvette boasted a drag coefficient of just 0.29. One of the best picks you can have for a sports car under $20,000.

Chevrolet Camaro SS specifications
Engine: 6.2-liter, V-8
Horsepower: 455 HP
Torque: 455 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed Manual or Automatic
0-60 mph: Four seconds
Top Speed: 165 mph

Find one for sale on Cargurus.com

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Corvette C5

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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