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8 Best Fast Cars Under 20K In 2023: Affordable Speed Machines

With a budget less than 20k, finding a new fast car is not an easy task because in 2024 approximately all vehicles start from 18K to 20K marks. However, in the used car market there are a number of quickest car options available. 

Our team of car experts have given a number of hours to collect and analyze all used cars and find which one will be good for you according to price and maintenance charges for coming years. 

We compiled this list of fastest used cars under $20,000 after doing research on consumer ratings, used price and reliability ratings available on carfax and JD Power owner ratings.

For a quick view, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is our top pick after considering all factors like Annual maintenance costs, Safety ratings and used prices available all over the USA.

From sporty coupes to agile hot hatches and even rally-inspired sedans, the choices are diverse and cater to different driving preferences. In this blog, we will delve into the world of affordable quick cars, exploring some of the most compelling options available. 

Buckle up and join us on a journey through the world of fast used cars under $20,000. Get ready to explore the roads with vehicles that offer thrilling acceleration, precise handling, and a dose of pure automotive excitement. 

It’s time to shatter the misconception that high-performance automobiles are only reserved for the wealthy. Let’s dive in and uncover the hidden gems that deliver speed and exhilaration without breaking the bank.

Understanding the Market for Fast Cars

Speed and acceleration are influenced by several key elements, including the engine, transmission, weight, and aerodynamics of the car. Let’s break down these elements:

  1. Engine: The engine is the heart of any fast car. Look for vehicles with engines that offer a good balance of power and efficiency. Turbocharged and supercharged engines can provide extra power without significantly increasing the vehicle’s weight.
  2. Transmission: A good transmission can enhance a car’s performance by allowing smooth and quick gear changes. Manual transmissions are often preferred by enthusiasts for their control and engagement, but modern automatics can also be very capable.
  3. Weight: Lighter cars generally accelerate faster because there’s less mass for the engine to move. Sports cars often use lightweight materials to improve performance.
  4. Aerodynamics: The shape of the car affects how it moves through the air. Sleek, aerodynamic designs reduce drag and help improve speed and efficiency.

1. 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

  • Price: $14,500
  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 155 HP
  • Top Speed: 131 MPH

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a great sports car among roadsters, offering an exhilarating driving experience and timeless design. This model year signifies the fourth generation of the MX-5 Miata, showcasing Mazda’s commitment to delivering the ultimate lightweight sports car. 

Powering the 2016 MX-5 Miata is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. While the power output may not be staggering, the MX-5 Miata’s lightweight construction enables it to deliver impressive acceleration and nimble handling. 

This lightweight ethos, combined with a perfectly balanced chassis, makes it a joy to drive on winding roads and twisty tracks. What sets the 2016 MX-5 Miata apart is its dynamic performance on the road. 

With its precise and responsive steering, the MX-5 Miata handles corners with remarkable agility and poise. In the used car market you easily find this model under 20K budget

2. 2014 Ford Mustang

  • Price: $13,000
  • Engine: 5.0-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 420 HP
  • Top Speed: 200 MPH

The Ford Mustang is an iconic American muscle car that embodies power, style, and performance. This model year represents the fifth generation of the Mustang, showcasing Ford’s commitment to delivering an exhilarating driving experience. 

Under the hood, the 2014 Mustang offers a range of engine options to suit different preferences and driving styles. The base model comes equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 engine that produces 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.

For those seeking even more power, there’s an available 5.0-liter V8 engine in the GT model, delivering a thrilling 420 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. The 2014 Mustang delivers impressive performance and dynamic handling. 

Its responsive steering, balanced chassis, and well-tuned suspension allow for confident cornering and precise control and make it good option for you.

3. 2015 Subaru WRX

  • Price: $12,999
  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 268 HP
  • Top Speed: 155 MPH

The 2015 Subaru WRX is a fast and affordable option for car enthusiasts on a budget. Priced under $20,000, this turbocharged sports sedan offers thrilling performance. With a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 268 horsepower, it delivers impressive acceleration and agility. 

The WRX features Subaru’s renowned all-wheel-drive system, ensuring excellent traction and handling in various conditions. Its sporty and aggressive design catches attention, while the driver-focused cabin provides comfort and convenience. 

The WRX comes equipped with modern technology and safety features, including a touchscreen infotainment system and available driver assistance systems. 

Overall, the 2015 Subaru WRX offers an exhilarating driving experience at an affordable price point.

4. 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

  • Price: $12,500
  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 291 HP
  • Top Speed: 138 MPH

The 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a high-performance car and a great choice for speed enthusiasts on a budget. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Lancer Evolution delivers an impressive 291 horsepower. 

Its advanced all-wheel-drive system, precise steering, and sport-tuned suspension contribute to its exceptional handling capabilities. The aggressive exterior styling of the Lancer Evolution hints at its performance-oriented nature, while the interior offers supportive seats and modern features. 

Technology such as Bluetooth connectivity and a Rockford Fosgate audio system enhances the driving experience. With its thrilling performance and affordability, the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a fantastic option for those seeking a fast and exhilarating ride without breaking the bank.

5. 2004 Chevrolet Corvette

  • Price: $12,995
  • Engine: 5.7-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 350 HP
  • Top Speed: 172 MPH

The 2004 Chevrolet Corvette provides incredible value with its powerful engine. Powered by a potent 5.7-liter V8 engine, the Corvette produces an exhilarating 350 horsepower, delivering thrilling acceleration and a thrilling driving experience. 

With its rear-wheel-drive setup and precise handling, the Corvette offers exceptional performance on the road. The sleek and iconic design of the 2004 Corvette turns heads, while the well-appointed interior features supportive seats and modern amenities. 

Optional features such as a heads-up display and a premium audio system enhance the driving experience. Overall, the 2004 Chevrolet Corvette offers a combination of power, performance, and affordability.

6. 2015 Infiniti Q50

  • Price: $9,995
  • Engine: 3.7-liter V6 
  • Horsepower: 328 HP
  • Top Speed: 145 MPH

The 2015 Infiniti Q50 is a stylish and powerful luxury sedan that can be found for under $20,000, offering an enticing option for speed enthusiasts on a budget. 

Equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 engine, the Q50 produces a satisfying 328 horsepower, delivering strong acceleration and a dynamic driving experience. Its refined handling and responsive steering contribute to its sporty nature. 

The Q50’s sleek and modern exterior design exudes sophistication and elegance. Inside, the cabin is well-crafted with premium materials and offers comfortable seating for all occupants. 

The Q50 also features advanced technology, including a touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, and available driver assistance features like blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning.

7. 2006 Chevrolet Corvette

  • Price: $14995
  • Engine: 5.7-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 350 HP
  • Top Speed: 185 MPH

The 2006 Chevrolet Corvette is a unique and exciting option for speed enthusiasts seeking a fast car under $20,000. This iconic sports car is powered by a potent 5.7-liter V8 engine, delivering an exhilarating 350 horsepower. 

Its rear-wheel-drive setup and precise handling make every drive a thrilling experience. The Corvette’s timeless design turns heads with its sleek and aggressive lines. Inside the cabin, you’ll find a driver-focused layout and comfortable seats. 

Despite being a bit older, the 2004 Corvette still offers modern features such as a premium audio system and optional heads-up display. 

With its combination of power, performance, and distinctive style, the 2004 Chevrolet Corvette is a standout choice for those looking for a unique and fast car at an affordable price point.

8. 2012 Ford Mustang GT

  • Price: $14,999
  • Engine: 5.7-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 412 HP
  • Top Speed: 157 MPH

This iconic American muscle car is powered by a robust 5.0-liter V8 engine, generating an impressive 420 horsepower that delivers heart-pounding acceleration and an unmatched driving experience. 

Its rear-wheel-drive configuration and precise handling allow for precise control and exhilarating performance on the road. The Mustang GT’s distinctive exterior design showcases its muscular and aggressive stance, turning heads wherever it goes. 

Inside, the cabin offers a blend of retro-inspired charm and modern amenities, providing both comfort and style. With its powerful engine, distinct aesthetics, and affordability, the 2012 Ford Mustang GT offers a unique and captivating choice for those seeking an affordable and unforgettable fast car experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: What are the best fast cars I can buy for under $20,000?

A1: There are several great options in this price range, including the Subaru WRX, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Nissan 370Z, and Mazda MX-5 Miata. These cars offer a mix of performance, style, and driving experience.

Q2: How do I determine the performance of a fast car?

A2: Performance is often measured by factors such as horsepower (hp), acceleration (0-60 mph time), top speed, and handling. You can find these specifications in the car’s technical details and reviews.

Q3: What should I consider when buying a fast car on a budget?

A4: Consider factors like maintenance costs, insurance rates, fuel efficiency, and the availability of aftermarket parts for customization. It’s also important to get a pre-purchase inspection to ensure the car is in good condition.

Q4: Can I find a used luxury sports car for under $20,000?

A5: Yes, you can find used luxury sports cars like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A3, or Mercedes-Benz C-Class in this price range. Keep in mind that maintenance and repair costs for luxury cars can be higher.

Conclusion

In the realm of affordable performance, the world of fast cars offers a thrilling spectrum of choices. From the pulse-raising acceleration of the Subaru WRX to the timeless American muscle of the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, there’s a symphony of power and style waiting to be experienced.

For those seeking a balanced blend of agility and reliability, the Honda Civic Si, Volkswagen Golf GTI, and Subaru BRZ beckon with their prowess on the road. These cars showcase that performance need not be compromised by practicality.

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