Affordable Sports Cars: Paradox or No?
By Ray Prince, NorCalCars Writer
The Porsche Carrera, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Ferrari Enzo might blind the eyes
with its impeccable sleek style and handling, along with its price tag. To the
casual observer, sports cars electro-sticker-shock the wallet with high end
features that belong in 2014 rather than now. Surprisingly but surely, there
are lots of sports cars possessing nearly all qualities high end models own.
From the proverbial bucket seat famous with the Cobalt and Wrangler (not a
sports car) to supercharged coupe editions, affordable sports cars are the way
After getting a few ideas on what you might want stop by our photo gallery and
see if we have the right sports car for you. Some of these high end sports cars are likely to become collector items.
If you own one of these vehicles be sure to get the right coverage for a collector
car like AARP collector car insurance. Always protect your
investment from the unexpected.
If you want a cheaper alternative to the Porsches and Ferraris, but with better
handling and ride than my standard Acura RSX and just traded-in Pontiac Grand
Am, consider the equally priced Mazda RX-8, Chevy Cobalt, and 2007 Toyota
Solara. The Mazda RX-8 profile is impressive, with rear opening doors that
bears semblance to swinging Ferrari doors. Its best asset is its engine with
9000 rpms/238 HP of pure power without distinguishing itself as a "supercharged
coupe" like the Cobalt. The RX-8's body is a masterpiece with Jessica
Simpson-like curves and overfenders to make it look sturdier. The interior is
solid, with front bucket seats and a triangular shaped instrument panel unlike
the rounded edged interfaces we see in most cars. For a combination of looks
and power, the Mazda RX-8 does the job at just under $27,000 for the standard
Toyota Solara Convertible
To glide past roads with the feel of a 911 for $27,000, the Toyota Solara
Convertible is another good bet. It's a rag topped four seater with one of the
sleekest designs I've ever seen with curvy tail and head lamps along with
enough concave surfaces that makes standing water look impossible. If you like
the Lexus ES 350s dynamic front hood, you will appreciate the Solaras. The
interior is pretty neat as well, a four seater with dual color scheme options
(SLE wood grain and SE silver trim), along with a futuristic looking, brightly
lit cockpit panel. Audio and video enhancements include a GPS navigation system
based off DVD and XM Satellite Radio. XM Satellite Radio, by the way,
integrates extremely well into any car. My Mercury Mariner's XM system is easy
to figure out with music category displays (bluegrass anyone?), no static
(minus under bridges), and rich sound overall.
Chevy Cobalt SS
Another sports car that has been receiving critical acclaim for its versatility
and modest price tag is the gas saving Chevy Cobalt series launched in 2005. I
say series because the Cobalt line holds a record number of different versions
like the LS and SS Supercharged coupe - all with modified interiors and trim.
Fans of Cobalt will love its classic emerald taillights and round tail lamps.
In addition, the entire ride has a low weight to horsepower ratio (compared to
the "slower" and more gas consuming Ford Mustang) which means better
acceleration. With front bucket seats and folding back seats that stand a bit
higher than usual, it’s a winner in my personal favorite barometer of
sportiness: comfort-speed ratio. In my opinion, this is a smart move. How many
times have we had to endlessly adjust our seating just to keep our eyes above
the dashboard? Sports cars should double as mini SUVs every once in a while!
Plus, with iPod jack compatibility, leather seats, satellite radio, and the
option OnStar navigation system - you'd barely scratch its $20,000 asking
Ford Mustang Coupe
If a $27,000 MSRP is too steep for you, go $7-8000 cheaper with the $19,000 Ford
Mustang Coupe and $20,000 Pontiac Solstice. The redesigned 2005 Mustang
philosophy continues into 2006 with a V6 210 horsepower, bigger tires, and an
even bigger attitude with fog lit grilles. With just a strong following as
Harley Davidson and Jeep Wranglers, it's a classic sports car overall. The
Pontiac Solstice is a lightweight version of the Mustang with 177 horsepower
and a 5 speed manual. Although it has less horsepower than the typical sports
convertible, I like it because insurance is cheaper. Overall, its best asset is
its handling and response, a must in matching expensive performance in a
In a world of ancient Shelbys, McLarens, and $90,000 sports cars - it's nice to
refer back to nitty gritty, 20 grand two-door coupes every once in a while.
With comparable horsepower, traction, comfort, audio options, and stylish
instrumental panels on all of the above mentioned cars, you may even be more
inclined to dream about these.