Is There An Enthusiast Car That Is Safe And Cheap?

Miata Isn’t Always The Enthusiast Answer

All great enthusiast cars that are now affordable (sub $5,000) are from the late 80s and 90s.  There is a snag, most of those cars don’t even have air bags or meet todays crash test standards.  Why does that even matter?  Unfortunately as you get older these are things that concern you, or more importantly concern your significant other.  See that’s the thing.  If it were up to me I’d be driving an Exocet Miata to work everyday.  But in reality that’s not going to happen.

What Enthusiast Car Can Be Everything To Everyone?

Right of the bat the BMW e30 comes to mind.  But it has no airbags.  Then you have the B13 Nissan Sentra SE-R.  Again no airbags.  Mazda Miata, uh no.  1991 Honda CRX Si – you are kidding right?

It’s difficult. When you are buying a car typically there are sacrifices that need to be made.  It can be fun and affordable but not safe.  It can be safe and fun but not affordable.  Hell it can even be affordable and safe but not fun.  What car can be all three – fun, affordable and safe?

What Are The Safe Enthusiast Car Options:

These are a good deal on the used car market because the same year Subaru WRXs are still ridiculously expensive.  It’s not as fast as its big brother but it has the same genetics.  And that counts for a lot.

  • Ford Focus (manual transmission non-SVT from 2000-2005)

I made a big stink about this car in a couple weeks back because it truly is an enthusiast car that most people have forgotten.  And that is great because they are still cheap.

The Mazda RX-8 is quite arguably the best performance bargain on the market.  It’s a multiple Car and Driver 10 Best trophy winner and comparison winner.  It has the best handling characteristic of any sports car on the market at any price!  So why is it so cheap?  It’s that damn wankel.  The rotary engine that is, it’s so unreliable that people will practically give you their RX-8.

What are your recommendations?

  • Justin Hughes

    I would argue that the 2.5RS is actually a better choice for daily driving, or even rallycross, than the WRX of that era. Its normally aspirated 2.5 liter engine makes better torque down low than the WRX’s 2.0 turbo.