Best 2011 Sporty Cars Under $25,000 - Part Two

October 19, 2010

In part one of Best 2011 Sporty Cars Under $25,000 we looked at affordable cars that provide the maximum in driving performance, style, and excitement. But we’re only half-done. Here’s the rest of the list of reasonably-priced sporty cars you might want to consider as your next daily driver (or addition to the family vehicle lineup).

These sporty cars, just as in part one, are ranked according to starting manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs), from lowest to highest.

Ford Mustang

The automaker’s website touts the 2011 Ford Mustang as “All Legend. No Compromise.” The tagline fits the iconic American muscle car that has been in continuous production since its 1964 debut. While the retro design may appeal to some consumers, it may be a turn-off for others. But for a starting MSRP of $22,145 for the base V-6 Mustang, buyers get a sports car with few compromises, powered by a 305-hp 3.7-liter V-6 engine with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and cold-air induction mated with a six-speed manual transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/29 mpg highway (19 mpg city/31 mpg highway with optional six-speed automatic tranny). The four-passenger rear-drive Mustang is also available with SYNC, Ford’s innovative and class-exclusive in-car connectivity system that allows for hands-free calling, voice-command music controls, available traffic direction, personalized content, and more.

2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Not only does the rear-wheel drive 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe have attractive styling, it even looks like it’s fast when standing still – although it’s not fast like Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro. Two 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe models come in under the $25,000 target: 2.0T and 2.0T R-Spec, at $22,500 and $24,500 starting MSRPs, respectively. Both models are powered by the 210-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged and intercooled in-line four-cylinder engine mated to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. The five-speed automatic transmission bumps 2.0T starting MSRP to $23,500, and puts 2.0T R-Spec beyond the target at $26,750. EPA-estimated fuel economy for manual-transmission models is 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway. The Genesis Coupe, which seats four, has numerous standard safety features as well, including six airbags, electronic stability and traction control, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, and brake assist, among others.


Chevrolet Camaro

Perennial competitor to the Ford Mustang (except for Camaro’s seven-year hiatus from 2003-2009), the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro adds more horsepower from its return-to-the-pony-car forum 2010 model. For 2011, Camaro in base LS form and starting MSRP of $22,680 gets 312 horsepower from the 3.6-liter V-6 engine. Mated to the standard six-speed manual transmission, EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/29 mpg highway. While there’s certainly a lot to admire about the Camaro, including nine standard airbags, standard electronic stability control with traction control, five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and much more, some reviewers complain about obstructed visibility from the driver’s seat and less backseat room than competitors. Overall, though, few complaints about the sports car’s overall performance. It seems that consumers are either in the Mustang or Camaro camp – if they’re considering either – and aren’t easily dissuaded.


Mazda MX-5 Miata

For more than two decades, the Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster has been providing drivers with the thrill of exhilirating, open-air driving excitement. For that alone, the MX-5 Miata is truly exemplary of Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom” advertising tagline. But there’s more to a machine than just marketing genius. The MX-5 Miata for 2011 is largely unchanged from the 2010 model – it’s still quick, agile, and remarkably fuel-frugal. Fit and finish is of high quality, and the MX-5 Miata holds its value longer than some competitors. Now to the basics: To meet the under-$25,000 price bogey, you’ll need to stick with the Sport model, which carries a starting MSRP of $22,960. (Note: Choosing the Touring model bumps the starting sticker up slightly to $25,300.) With Sport, you get a 167-hp MZR 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission. The bonus is great fuel economy – an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway. Six-speed manual transmission in Touring achieves 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway fuel economy. Downside? The MX-5 Miata still only seats two.

Missed the first part of this list? Check out Best 2011 Sporty Cars Under $25,000 – Part One.


[Chevrolet Ford Hyundai, Mazda]

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