There are so many great cars out there that don’t cost a fortune. No-one has to buy a mundane, everyday Toyota Camry or Mazda 2 which fade into obscurity, so why not take a look at ten cars you could get – and feel proud of when getting behind the wheel. There’s something for every budget listed here.
Chrysler Crossfire 2003-2008
Chrysler is known for its innovative styling, and the Crossfire is no different. The huge 3.2 V6 engine ensures it sits firmly in the sports coupe class. With eight color choices and an award for its stylish curves, you just know you will be noticed as you get in or out of this modern classic.
The one I found – A 2005 blaze red 3.2 liter automatic V6 model with only 37,658 miles on the clock for $14,899 which is a great price considering the engine size, the use you will get out of it, and the fact it’s becoming more and more collectable. Get one in Australia and you will pay for a similar model anywhere from $23,700. Do the math.
BMW 1Series M Coupe 2007-2013
Not a car you see many of these days, the shy BMW 1 Series M Coupe comes out of its shell when able to take the driver for a ride. Great build quality and ease of use invites the driver to open up its limits. Not a huge Coupe compared to the Audi A5 or Mercedes CLK Class, but it gives plenty of grunt none-the-less, and comes in turbo (135i model), or non-turbo (128i model) versions.
The one I found – A 2013 white manual 128i with just 65,862 miles on the dial and an asking price of $10.999. Add some racing stripes, and you’re cruising in style.
VW Scirocco 2008-2017
The third generation three-door Scirocco is ‘hot hatch’ personified. Stand out color would have to be Viper Green, although Rising Blue and White have their place. The 2.0 liter turbo engine gives this small car plenty of bang for the buck. Pull up to the traffic lights and get ready to rumble.
The one I found – An amazing 2012 Rising Blue automatic with a mere 56,000 miles all for just $4,750. Amazing value.
Alfa Romeo GTV 1994-2004
Not to be confused with the two-seater Spider (in which you get the Convertible version), the 2+2 Coupe has a solid roofline and two smaller seats in the back. More than 41,000 were built over a ten year period, and come in a variety of engine sizes from the lower 1.8 and 2.0 liter Twin Spark engines, to the 2.0 liter V6 Turbo, the 3.0 and 3.2 liter V6 engines. There are also 5 or 6 speed manuals. With this variety, you’re spoiled for choice, although I’d steer clear of the Twin Spark versions with the car having previous problems with this set up.
The one I found – A manual 1996 2.0 liter V6 turbo in eye-catching red with a low 44,500 miles for $13,500. Still plenty of get up and go left in this car.
BMW Z3 Roadster 1995-2002
The stunning BMW Z3 was produced in the ‘Spartanburg’ factory at their headquarters in Greer, South Carolina, and for me is undoubtedly their best looking car ever. Quite rare is the Shooting-Brake Coupe version, but you will still find a few Roadsters popping up for sale. If you’re not looking for a high performance model, then the perfectly respectable 1.9 and 2.0 liter models will suffice, but those looking for a larger engine have the choice of a 3.0 and 3.2 liter 6 cylinder model which will give more grunt.
The one I found – Actually I found two that are exactly the same apart from the miles and price. Both are 2000 automatic 2.5 liter silver models with good service history. Depending on your budget, you can have one for only $6,495 with 80,000 miles, or $9,999 with 62,034 miles on the clock. A tough call.
Volvo C30 2008-2013
A car you don’t see much of is the sexy Volvo C30. Only produced for the American market over five years, this little beauty was considered a premium near-luxury coupe/hatch back in the day. It came in a variety of petrol and diesel models, and with the quality build you’d expect from a Volvo.
The one I found – A 2008 T5 2.5 liter turbo, 5-speed automatic in a tranquil ‘Barent’ blue color with 66,000 miles on the clock for just $7,490 drive away. Deal!
Audi TT 1998-2021
Sleek yet cute at the same time, the Audi TT has a persona of its own. It comes in either a 1.8 liter turbo, the 1.8 liter turbo Quattro, or the 3.2 VR6 Quattro. The trademark ‘Quattro’ AWD (all-wheel drive) is a joy to drive and hugs corners effortlessly. For such a small sports car, it certainly packs a lot of punch.
The one I found – I managed to find a 2001 1.8 liter turbo Quattro model in blue with blue leather seats and an aftermarket moon roof and stereo. It had the timing belt changed at 45,000 miles (which is great as that is a costly exercise) and now sits at only 61,117 miles in total. All this for just $6,400 firm.
Mini Cooper 2000-2021
An icon of motoring history, the modern version has been in production for more than twenty years and shows no signs of slowing down, with electric versions on the horizon. The compact design, retro features, and unique color/pattern variations give this car a funky, city street vibe. It’s also easy to park and made for everyday life.
The one I found – A sporty 2011 6-speed automatic in blue with a sunroof and only 55,559 miles for only $6,490. Bargain!
VW New Beetle 1998-2011
Just like the Mini Cooper, Volkswagen decided to bring back their longest and biggest-selling namesake for a new generation of car-buyers – this time with the engine located in the front. You can also choose from the fully enclosed model or the convertible. There are some unique colors available as well if you delve further into the model suited to you.
The one I found – A white 2010 6-speed automatic with a conservative 68,000 miles on the books for just $4,999. I did however spot a one-owner 2001 5-speed manual in a great blue and black color combo with sunroof and only 49,200 listed miles for an insane $1,999 with no accident history. You’d have to delve further into why the price is so low before committing to this one though – but it may well be worth the effort.
Smart Fortwo 1998-2021
If it’s something ‘tiny’ and ‘economical’ you strive for then look no further. This wonderfully unconventional microcar on wheels crams a lot of stylish finishes into its interior while the outside has a radical shape measuring just 8.8 feet long (even though it seems a lot shorter) making it easy to park pretty much where-ever you want. Choose from the Coupe or the Cabriolet. Be careful though, some used car websites show some very pricey models for the same mileage and age.
The one I found – For $8,495 you can pick up a 2013 Smart Fortwo ‘Passion’ Coupe in light metallic blue with grey highlights and a mouth-watering 37,824 miles. This one I found on carbuzz.com.
It can be fun finding a bargain, and sometimes you may have to wait for one to present itself, but they are out there. I have only just touched the surface when it comes to selecting a stand-out auto, don’t rush, just take your time in seeking out the ideal car for you.