Sports cars don’t have to be the most powerful cars on the road. In fact, they’re often not. Instead, a sports car is all about the driving experience. They’re low to the ground with tight suspensions and steering, making them super-nimble in the twists and turns of a race track. They also tend to have zippy low-end acceleration, allowing them to rocket out of tight turns, though their top speed generally isn’t higher than your everyday sedan.
If this is the experience you’re looking for, but you have a limited budget, continue reading. We’re about to present to you the 13 cheapest sports cars in Canada so you can have all the fun without the expense of picking up a Porsche or Ferrari.
The VW Jetta GLI may have four doors and not look overly sporty, but driving one shows you it's a legit competitor. Redesigned for 2019, the Jetta GLI boasts a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that produces 228 horsepower (hp) and 258 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque. This power flows through a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with Tiptronic on its way to the front wheels. All this power adds up to a 6.1-second 0-100 km/h acceleration time, which isn’t bad for a car that doubles as a family cruiser.
This is all reined in by a sport-tuned suspension, a lowered ride height relative to the standard Jetta, and sticky tires.
All this performance rings in at an average asking price of $27,895 for a 2021 model on the used market.
While it has an entirely different name, the Golf GTI is little more than the hot hatchback version of the Jetta GLI. However, there’s a small divide between them, as the Golf GTI just underwent a full redesign in 2022, while the Jetta GLI has remained the same since 2019.
The redesign also came with a new 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that cranks out 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This power flows through a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission for a 6.2-second 0-100 km/h sprint time. This is all controlled by standard 19-inch Adelaide alloy rims wrapped up in grippy summer tires, a tight suspension system, a progressive steering system, and a Vorderachsquersperre (VAQ) limited-slip differential.
On top of all this, the Golf GTI being a hatchback means it’s also ready to take on a decent amount of cargo when called upon.
In the preowned market, a 2022 Golf GTI starts at a typical asking price of $31,348.
The Hyundai Elantra has been around for ages, but in 2022, Hyundai released the performance-oriented Elantra N. This added yet another four-door model to our list of sports cars. Unlike the Jetta GLI, which looks like an everyday sedan, the Elantra N doesn’t hide its sports credentials with aggressive wheels and body kit highlighting the already sharp-looking Elantra body.
On top of its sharp appearance, the Elantra N has a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that pumps out 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque. This heads to the front wheels via a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. This adds up to an estimated 5.3-second 0-100 km/h sprint time.
And, of course, keeping all this power in check is a retuned sports suspension, wider tires, and an updated steering system.
You can snap up a used 2022 Hyundai Elantra N for a starting price of around $37,000.
While it may not be the cheapest sports car in Canada, the Audi TT, which has remained mostly the same since 2016, is a bargain for what you get. This slick-looking 2-seater has direct ties to Porsche, giving it plenty of sports car cred, and the numbers back it up.
The base TT Coupe has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that delivers 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive that help it deliver a 5.6-second 0-100 km/h sprint time. The TTS model bumps the output to 288 bp and 280 lb-ft of torque, giving it a 4.7-second 0-100 km/h sprint time.
On top of all this, the TT has impeccable handling for weekend track days. And all this you can pick up for a typical starting price of $53,775 for a 2021 model. The TTS will start closer to $64,000. Again, it’s not overly cheap, but the value is unmatched. Plus, since it’s remained mostly the same since 2016, you can go a few years older and get even more value.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata -- simply Miata for short -- has always been a high-performance value car. On the pre-owned market, its fun-per-dollar value remains, as you can grab a well-equipped 2021 model starting around $31,155, depending on the kilometres, and trim.
This shifty roadster comes standard with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that delivers 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. This power heads through a standard six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic and out to the rear wheels.
Add in precision handling, and the two-seater MX-5 Miata is a no-brainer in affordable sports cars.
The Chevrolet Camaro is a legendary sports car in Canada, with a history that spans back decades. Today, it's not only a great performer, but it offers a strong value too, with the 2021 model ranging from $28,805 in its base 1LS trim to $49,910 for the 2SS trim.
This legendary North American pony car has several powertrain configurations, starting with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. There's also an optional 3.6-litre V-6 that cranks out 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque.
Opt for the LT1 or SS trim adds a potent 6.2-litre V-8 engine that injects 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque.
The Camaro has a six-speed manual transmission or an optional 10-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive regardless of the powertrain.
Though it hasn't been around as long as the Miata, the Subaru BRZ is also developing a reputation as a very affordable sports car. in 2022, the BRZ underwent a redesign that brought in a new design and a revised engine that delivered more usable power than the previous engine. A pre-owned 2022 model sits at about $32,650.
The 2020 Subaru BRZ comes standard with a 2.4-litre boxer four-cylinder engine that injects 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a standard six-speed manual transmission and out to the rear wheels. Buyers can also opt for a six-speed automatic.
Where the BRZ really shines is in the corners, where its sport-tuned suspension and balanced weight distribution keep it planted in the twisties.
The Toyota GR86, platform-mate of the Subaru BRZ, has been through many names in its time. It began life as the Scion FR-S, then became the Toyota GT86 and then the Toyota 86. Now with Toyota teaming up with Gazoo Racing, the Toyota GR variant was born in 2022. The Toyota GR86 has a new name and includes a new, more powerful powertrain, the same 2.4-litre boxer-four that pumps out 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque in the BRZ. Like the BRZ, you can snag the GR86 up in manual or automatic.
A 2022 Toyota GR86 carries an average asking price of $32,300 for the base model, making it a great value.
While it's not overly powerful, the highlight of the 86 is its impeccable handling and precision.
You can't talk about the Chevy Camaro without also mentioning the Ford Mustang. The 2021 Mustang enters our list with an average listing price of $29,260 for the base Eco model and $45,525 for the GT Premium trim.
The 2021 Ford Mustang comes standard with a 2.3-litre Ecoboost turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pumps out 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. With the optional High Performance Package, this four-pot engine jumps to 330 horsepower.
Jumping into the GT models adds a 5.0-litre V-8 with 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
Both engine options come standard with a six-speed manual transmission or an optional 10-speed automatic.
The 2021 Dodge Challenger is a fringe sports car, as it's a light blend of muscle car and sports car rolled into one retro-styled package. This rings in at an average asking price of $37,525 for the base GT model to $61,430 for the Scatback 392 Widebody trim.
The Challenger has a standard 3.6-litre V-6 engine that pumps out 303 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. A bonus is that this is the only muscle car on our list with optional all-wheel drive (AWD), so it can also tackle the Canadian winters.
Optionally, the 2020 Challenger has a 5.7-litre HEMI V-8 with 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque in the R/T trim. This engine pairs to either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. This engine comes only with rear-wheel drive (RWD).
There's also a 6.4-litre V-8 that adds even more power: 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque in the Scatpack 392 trims. This power also heads through either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. This engine is exclusively available with RWD.
Another four-door sports car that belongs on our list is the WRX, which went through a full redesign in 2022. With an average starting asking price of $33,000 for the base model, it’s no wonder it’s so popular.
The base WRX comes standard with a 2.4-litre turbo boxer-four engine that delivers 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission with manual mode. It also comes standard with AWD.
The sporty Honda Civic Si has been a legendary compact performance car for many years, and the all-new-for-2022 model is no different.
This value-loaded performance car comes standard with a 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that delivers 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. This power routes through a rev-matching six-speed manual transmission and out to the front wheels.
All this comes at an impeccable value of $35,920.
The Nissan 370Z disappeared from Canadian dealerships after 2018, but it returns for the 2023 model year. It boasts a smaller, more sports car-like form and a new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. This power flows through a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional nine-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels.
With this power, the 2023 Nissan Z can sprint to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds, and it has a platform designed to make the most of the twists and turns.
The Nissan Z is all-new for 2023, so finding a used one can prove difficult. However, you can expect to pay around $44,000 for a pre-owned base model.
Ready to pick up one of the cheapest sports cars in Canada but don't want to go the route of a traditional dealership? Clutch, Canada's first online pre-owned vehicle retailer, has the pre-owned sports car you need.
First, our vehicles undergo a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process to ensure they’re in top-notch condition. Then, we add a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty for good measure. You also get a 10-day or 750-km test-own period. If you don't love your new sports car during that period, you can return it for a full refund or exchange it.