These 8 Fast and Cheap Cars Cost Under $40,000

There’s an old adage that speed costs money, and with the rise in car prices over the past couple of years, that certainly seems true. But luckily, there are still fast and cheap cars that you can buy new. Recently, US News & World even made a list of the fastest and cheapest cars under $40,000. Using this list as a starting point, we highlight some of our favorite fast and cheap cars on the road today.

The 2022 Honda Civic Si is a fast and cheap car

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Let’s talk about the 2022 Honda Civic Si first. While 200 horsepower might seem like little these days, the Honda Civic Si makes the most of it. And, for $27,3000, it’s one of the most entertaining and practical sedans you can buy on a budget.

The Civic Si features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with one of the industry’s best manual transmissions, a rev-matching unit from the 2021 Civic Type R. The Si includes stiffer suspension for responsive handling but don’t sacrifice comfort. The steering is also responsive, delivering a precise feel that’s properly weighted for city and highway driving.

In short, it is not a surprise American News included the 2022 Honda Civic Si on its list of fastest affordable cars under $40,000. What if the Civic Si sedan wasn’t your cup of tea? Wait for the 2023 Civic Type R, which will soon return as Honda’s ultimate hot hatch.

The 2022 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback aims to thrill

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Next up is the 2022 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback. The Mazda3 has long been a great option for drivers looking for a fun and practical car and the 2022 model is no different. The turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder produces 227 horsepower, giving the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback a spirited performance. All-wheel drive is standard with the turbo engine and complements the car’s athletic handling.

The Mazda3 2.5 Turbo starts at $31,550. Other trim models, including a non-turbo model, are cheaper, but for an enthusiast on a budget, the 2022 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback is the perfect fit. Buyers looking for a bit more luxury can upgrade to the Turbo Premium Plus trim level, which includes standard leather upholstery for $34,400.

The 2022 BMW 230i Coupe is an affordable BMW model

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A surprise on this list is the appearance of a sub-$40,000 BMW model. The 2022 230i might be a budget Bimmer, but it’s no slouch in the performance department.

Equipped with a 255-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and an eight-speed gearbox, the rear-drive coupe offers plenty of performance for a low base price. Add the $2,000 Dynamic Handling Package, which includes M Sport brakes, and you’re still under the $40,000 mark.

The 230i is also a surprisingly fuel-efficient car, with a combined rating of 29 mpg. But what sets it apart is the balance and poise of the car. It offers an ideal blend of comfort and precise handling, giving the 230i characteristics shared by a long line of BMW M cars.

The 2022 Chevrolet Camaro LT1 is a fast car under $40,000

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It’s hard to believe you can still get a big 455-hp V8 performance car for less than $40,000, but there are two on US News’ fast and cheap car list. First up is the 2022 Chevy Camaro with the evergreen 6.2-liter small-block engine. Ordering the LT1 package gets you the V8, upgraded performance suspension and Brembo brakes.

The Camaro is a classic muscle car updated with modern braking and handling. Unfortunately, it suffers from classic muscle car fuel economy, getting 19 mpg combined. But for fans of a big, rumbling V8 soundtrack, there’s no substitute for cubic inches.

2022 Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 make the list

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The 2022 Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 are fraternal twins. The result of a joint effort between the two automakers, the two fast and inexpensive cars share the same platform and mechanical components, but differ slightly in looks and options.

Both cars feature a new 228 horsepower flat-four engine and six-speed manual transmission, which provides 0-60 mph times in around six seconds. Whichever car you choose, the BRZ and GR86 are great fun to drive.

The 2022 Volkswagen GTI is a fun little car to drive

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Almost 50 years ago, VW stuffed a hot engine into a Golf, brightened up the suspension and created one of the original and wickedly fun “hot hatches”. Today you can still buy a new GTI that carries the spirit of that original car.

The 2022 Volkswagen GTI has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that develops 241 horsepower and is linked to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. But what stands out are the kart’s powerful brakes and quick reflexes. It’s a really fun car to drive, and when you combine that with the practicality of the sedan, you get a combination that’s almost unbeatable for an everyday driver.

The 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring is surprisingly fast

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Available as a roadster or Targa-style retractable hardtop, the Miata can be loaded with options and still cost less than $40,000.

Regardless of trim, the Miata comes with a naturally aspirated 181-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission or an optional automatic. The joy comes from the free-revving nature of the engine and its light, nimble handling. But the Miata is also surprisingly quick, with 0-60mph times in the five-second range.

2022 Ford Mustang GT Tops US News List

2022 Mustang GT California Special | Ford

The 2022 Ford Mustang tops US News’ list of fast and cheap cars. There’s a Mustang flavor for just about everyone, from economy coupes and convertibles to high-performance sports cars.

Like the Camaro, you can get plenty of V8s for your money – in this case, a 460-hp 5.0-liter engine. Add in the GT’s performance package with Brembo brakes, a limited-slip differential and more track-ready suspension, and you’ve got a performance car.

Which fast and cheap car will satisfy your need for speed?

You can’t go wrong with any of the cars on this list. It really depends on what you like the most. From front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive sedans and hot hatches to rear-wheel-drive muscles, there are plenty of great choices for cheap, fast cars.

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