What used sports car should I buy?
Hyundai and Subaru each offers a practical, fun, four-seater sports coupe you can find for less than $25,000
I'm looking to buy a reliable used sports car. First and foremost, it has to have aggressive good looks – I don't want a wolf in sheep's clothing. I'd be driving the car during winter and it would also be nice if the car has good fuel economy. My price range is up to $25,000 for a car with fewer than 80,000 kilometres. Sandy, Toronto
When you think of companies making sports cars with aggressive good looks, Hyundai and Subaru probably aren't the first names that pop up.
But each one has a practical, fun, four-seater sports coupe you can find for less than $25,000 without having to go back much further than 2013 or 14.
They might not look like angry sports cars, but they look like sports cars – compared with, say, gutsier four-doors such as the 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI and the 2013 Subaru WRX.
There's also Nissan's 370Z, but to get one for less than $25,000, you'd have to go back to 2010 – which could mean more mileage.
If you like your aggression with a North American flavour and an optional V-8, there's the Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang.
"The Challenger is roomier and appealing in a retro muscle car sort of way, while the Camaro still holds the edge for dramatic styling," review site Edmunds said. "But among this talented group, the Mustang is still our favourite."
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T
First generation: 2010-16
Average price for base: $17,798 (Canadian Black Book)
Transmission/drive: Six-speed manual, eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 11.8 city, 7.6 highway (automatic), 11.4 city, 7.9 highway (manual); premium gas
For 2013, the Genesis Coupe got a power boost from 210 to 274 horsepower, improved transmissions and "a more aggressive and sporty design with a bolder front grille," Globe Drive said. "While this coupe is stellar on the track, it also makes for a pleasant daily driver. The price is another bonus for sports-car enthusiasts who can't afford a pricier Nissan 370Z."
The tuner-ready R-Spec, with 19-inch wheels, low-profile summer tires, Brembo brakes and firmer suspension, costs $500 more used, on average. There's also a 348-horsepower, 3.8-litre V-6 that is selling for $21,666, on average.
"Most buyers will find the spirited performance offered by the turbocharged four-cylinder engine of the 2.0T models more than enough," Edmunds said.
Consumer Reports doesn't give reliability data for the Genesis Coupe. There were two recalls in Canada, including one to prevent the accidental disconnection of the system that disables the airbag when a child is in the front passenger seat.
2013 Subaru BRZ
First generation: 2013-present
Average price for base: $19,271 (Canadian Black Book)
Transmission/drive: Six-speed manual, six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 9.6 city, 7.1 highway (automatic), 11.0 city, 7.9 highway (manual); premium gas
When's the last time a Subaru was compared to a Porsche?
"Comparing a Subaru to such sports-car luminaries as the Datsun 240Z, Porsche 944 and original Mazda RX-7 would've been heresy before the BRZ debuted," Edmunds said. "Yet this Subaru can proudly stand tire-to-tire with those icons as it similarly proves that if you've got a very well-balanced chassis, communicative steering and light weight then you don't need a lot of power to have a lot of fun."
The BRZ is a Subaru without four-wheel drive. It was developed jointly with Toyota, which sold it as the Scion FR-S (now the Toyota 86). The 2013 FR-S was cheaper new and used – $18,403, on average, used – but "dollar for dollar, more value comes from the BRZ," Globe Drive said.
Consumer Reports doesn't list reliability data for the BRZ, but in a joint review with the Scion, it said it expected above-average reliability.
"With strong road-test scores of 83 for the FR-S and 82 for the BRZ, we recommend both cars," it said, adding that the only real differences between the two were "nuances in styling, exhaust note and suspension tuning."
There were no recalls in Canada.
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