Coupes are great little cars. They’re stylish, they’re fun to drive, they’re compact, they’re usually pretty good on gas, and they really look fantastic. However, in our current age of practical sedans, useful minivans to haul around hockey gear, and SUVs just because a lot of people want to drive something on the larger side, the sporty little coupe has gotten squeezed out of the new car market. There’s just not as much of a demand for two-door cars these days. Still, the people who love coupes — the couples, the unmarried individuals, and even the families who don’t mind folding the front seat forward so the kids can hop in the back — want their sporty two-door vehicles.
That’s not to say that coupes aren’t available at all, though. Lots of luxury car manufacturers turn out coupes for those who want them. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Jaguar — all of these car companies and a few others all make awesome coupes. The only problem is that they cost quite a lot, and are financially out of reach for the average driver who might have close to six figures to spend on a small car that’s fun to tool around in but ultimately not super practical. And even more middle of the road car companies like Hyundai and Volkswagen have coupes with costs that are just too expensive for ordinary people to justify.
This brings up an interesting and important question: where can you get a great and sporty coupe for a reasonable price, say, under $30,000? We’re glad you asked, and we’re here to help. Here are the top five coupes to buy for under $30,000.
2017 Ford Mustang – List price: 26,085
Is there any car that’s more awesomely American than the Ford Mustang? It’s been rolling off the production lines for over 50 years, and in that half century plus, it’s won the hearts of millions. And perhaps even better than its mystique is its price. The base V6 model comes in at a relatively affordable cost of around $26,000, and an upgrade to the EcoBoost manual engine is just a skosh more.
The engine is nice, but really, you get a Mustang because you love the way it looks. For a small car, it’s imposing, with a fat grill up front and gorgeous lines on the back. Nice and chunky alloy wheels get you where you need to go, and the dual exhaust tells other drivers that you mean business. Whether you’re looking for an affordable coupe to tool around in on weekends or a practical everyday car with style, a Ford Mustang is both great and easy on the wallet.
2017 Chevrolet Camaro – List price: $26,900
Aesthetically, the Camaro is a lot like the Mustang, though the front end is a lot beefier, and the tires seem to take up more space on the overall body. As far as drivability goes, the Camaro does not disappoint. It hugs the road well, and when you’re behind the week, it feels like you’re driving a car with much more expensive engineering. The base model comes with a four cylinder, 275 horsepower engine, but if you’ve got just a little bit more to spend and want a bit more of a power boost, you can opt for the $28,395 V6 edition.
2017 Subaru BRZ – List price: 26,315
Subarus are the car maker of choice for people who live in rougher terrain: the mountains, the hills, the snowy and icy conditions. And while the company’s Outback and Forester models are popular because of their size and power, the Subaru BRZ is a fun little coupe that affords many of the same safety features, all wrapped up in a more compact and streamlined package.
It’s a fairly spacious four seater, with a four cylinder, 205 horsepower engine and excellent handling. The base model comes in well under the $30k mark, but its features and styling are fairly ordinary. Throw in a few more grand, and you can still spend less than $30,000 and get upgrades like leather seats, sleeker looking wheels, better brakes, and better shocks.
2017 Honda Civic – List price: $20,025
Please, just hear us out on this one. Yes, we know that the Honda Civic isn’t a sports car. And yes, we are fully aware that the Civic isn’t going to win any awards for power. After all, it’s got a pretty compact four cylinder, 158 horsepower engine. Still, the Civic is one of the best low-price coupes you can buy.
It’s small and lightweight and oh so peppy. It’s low to the ground, it handles remarkably well, and it’s a lot more fun to drive than you might think. Plus, the Civics of today look a lot less utilitarian and a lot more sleek and sporty than the Civics of just five years ago. And can we talk about price? The Civic may be one of the least expensive cars on the market, but if you’re looking to get the most car for your dollar, it’s the one that’s really tough to beat. And finally, the name Honda is practically synonymous with durability and longevity; if you buy a Civic today, and if you don’t skimp on maintenance and upkeep, you’ll still be driving it 20 years from now.
2017 Dodge Challenger – List price: $28,285
The Dodge Challenger is like the Charms Blow Pop of the auto world. Coupe or muscle car, kids? Both! It’s a sweet looking American classic of a brute, with a powerful V6, 305 horsepower, eight speed automatic transmission. It’s got unmistakable styling that’s at once sporty and dominant, and it’s great to know that after all these years, the strong, two-door Challenger can still turn heads.
And like all compact muscle cars, it’s just a lot of fun to drive. Plus, thanks to an all wheel drive system, it’s actually quite good on wintery or mountain roads. Its mileage may not be as great as that of the Civic’s, and it may come in just under the $30k mark, but if you’re looking to make a statement with your coupe, the Challenger may be the right choice for you.