There are plenty of cars on the market that fit the category of “Sports Car” but to me there is and always will be one critical distinction that makes any car into a Sports Car.
That trick is to simply remove the top! Once you have a convertible top then to me you really do have a Sports car. Please do not get me wrong, a hard top two door can be quite sporty, but that market is so full of High Performance and High End cars that the true sports car flair is just overshadowed by expensive high horsepower machines.
Historically some of the finest sports cars have been small lightweight and marginally powered machines. The true fun of these cars is not the top speed but in the getting there.
I remember how fun it was to get in my convertible green 1971 Spitfire and buzz down the road. Recently I re-learned how awesome it is to hit the road in a 1973 MGB with the top down when I replaced the brake lines on a friends cherry little red sports car.
There is almost nothing more exhilarating that when you hit a nice curve in a tiny sports car with the RPM’s high and tapping the brakes on the way in and down-shifting to full throttle to come out of the curve. You just feel every bit of the driving experience in a little sports car.
One of the things I see now is that the sports cars which are on the market today are almost too refined to the point where they have lost some of that old time road racing feel that comes with a popping exhaust and some real feedback from the steering.
So to move forward here, I am going to present five 2010 model year Sports Cars that hold their resale values fairly well over time. This list is made up with cars that are fairly affordable, especially when compared to other much more expensive models in this class. I will also explain why we are drawn to these particular type cars.
1) Mazda MX-5 MiataSport Convertible
MSRP $26,400 2.0 Liter 4 cylinder with 167 horsepower in a rear wheel drive configuration.
22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. resale values for a 2007 model range from $11,200 to $18,700
The small size of the Miata combined with rear wheel drive makes it my personal top pick for that authentic sports car road feel. The engine has plenty of torque to get the job done, and the exhaust note is almost perfect for this kind of car, it could rumble a little more as it sounds kind of too clean for a true sports car. It is a well balanced sports car and the steering is dialed in much better now as compared to earlier models. Last thing to mention is that the “Fun Factor” of this car is literally through the roof!
2) Mini CooperConvertible
MSRP $24,250 1.6 Liter 4 cylinder with 118 horsepower in a front wheel drive configuration.
28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. resale values for a 2007 model range from $11,000 to $18,900
The best word for this great little convertible is zippy! These lightweight cars have just enough juice under the hood to make it feel sporty, plus they handle like a dream! What a sweet balance of agility and speed. These really do remind you of the boxy road racer style original mini that are still coveted by collectors. It does seem that the 1.6 Liter engine is slightly anemic but if you spend more money on a “John Cooper Works Convertible” you get almost twice the horsepower for almost twice the money.
3) VW New Beetle Convertible
MSRP $26,390 2.5 Liter in-line 5 cylinder with 150 horsepower in a front wheel drive configuration.
20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Resale values for a 2007 model range from $9,700 to $16,800
I am so interested in owning one of these one day! I am personally in love with the technology of the five cylinder engine. I have to say the best word for this convertible “New Beetle” would simply be Cute! These are really great handling little cars and with the top down you feel so free and alive that it is really hard to stop driving!
4) Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Convertible
MSRP $27,799 2.4 Liter 4 cylinder with 162 horsepower in a front wheel drive configuration.
22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. resale values for a 2007 model range from $10,900 to $15,500
The entire Mitsubishi line of cars has a very unique look to them especially in regard to the lights and front grille. Some days I am not really sure that I enjoy the overall look of this car. This is especially true when you compare it to the sheer elegance of the older Mitsubishi Spyder 3000GT Convertible Twin Turbo model.
I am Not quite sure why they quit building that model since it was to me exactly what a Sports Car is all about, balanced ride, plenty of power, convertible top, and very sleek look and feel.
5) Chrysler Sebring Convertible
MSRP $27,850 2.4 Liter 4 cylinder with 173 horsepower in a front wheel drive configuration.
20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Resale values for a 2008 model range from $8,400 to $18,400
This is the largest car in this group and it made the list primarily because of it’s low price for the base model convertible. I also like this car for its relatively sporty ride. The Sebring has the highest horsepower in this small group of sports cars. To be honest if the Crossfire was still on the market it would have been on this list instead. The Sebring does give the average car buyer the chance to get into a nice convertible for similar money as the other four sports cars on this list.
So in summary these five cars all meet the single most important criteria for me to consider them as a “Sports Car” and that important item is they are convertibles. Secondary point to make is their low cost to purchase versus most other cars in the same class. Save yourself some cash and test drive any one of these high quality convertibles and you just may be surprised at how much car you get for a lot less money than many other models in the sports car category.
Specifications can be found at each manufacturer website:
Useful specification information and other data:
Resale prices were found in local newspapers and at car dealerships in my hometown area.
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