The sports car isn't for everyone. Driving one every day can mean making sacrifices. The sports car isn't about being practical. It's for the person who puts their love of driving ahead of such pedestrian worries as extra seats or cargo space. These are cars that can put a smile on your face or turn a bad day around. In the right car, work commutes suddenly aren't quite long enough, stop lights become mini drag strips and bends in the road become an invitation to find the perfect racing line.
There are cars that can change your world. Here are five of the best used sports cars on the market today.
A paragon of fast driving in all road conditions, the WRX is a sports car for drivers who consider unpaved roads a personal challenge. The rally-bred WRX (short-hand for World Rally Experimental) is an enhanced, sports-oriented trim level of the standard Impreza sedan and hatchback. As the car's name suggests, the WRX is well known for its inclusion in the World Rally Championship. The car's sport-tuned suspension, all-wheel drive system and turbocharged four cylinder engine have evolved from decades of professional rally racing experience. One distinguishing feature of the WRX is the car's horizontally opposed engine. Instead of the traditional V or in-line cylinder arrangements, the WRX uses a boxer type engine, not unlike most Porsche motors. This layout, coupled with the Subaru's unique exhaust, gives the engine a distinctive burbling sound unlike anything else on the road.
Since its launch in 1964, Ford has released five generations of the Mustang. There have been countless changes over the years, but the formula has stayed pretty much constant since the first car debuted. The Mustang is a 2+2 sports coupe, meaning there are two seats in the front, plus two much smaller seats in the back for children, bags or people who have difficulty calling "shotgun". Engine options for most generations include a large V8, and a more economic six cylinder engine. The current crop of V6 engines now produce much more power than the V8s of old, while still achieving over 30 MPG.
Like the Subaru WRX, the Lancer Evolution (or, Evo, as it is known to most enthusiasts) was born from international rally racing. Both cars feature all-wheel-drive and turbocharged four cylinder engines. The similarity between the two cars and the inevitability of the comparison between them has formed something of a blood-feud rivalry between fans. Though the Evo is currently in its tenth generation, the hot Mitsubishi has only been available to Americans since 2003. Many used Evolutions on the market today have been modified in one way or another. Caution should be taken when purchasing any extensively modified vehicle. It's highly recommended that prospective Evo buyers have a car inspected by an expert before buying.
The 'Z' nameplate is older than Nissan itself. Affordable Japanese sports cars were originally sold under the Datsun badge before the company was re-branded in the 80s. The return of the Z name to the company's line-up was celebrated by car lovers the world over. With two seats, a powerful V6 engine and rear wheel drive, the 350Z has all of the ingredients to be one of the top sports cars around. The popularity of the car means used models are plentiful and relatively inexpensive, making the 350z one of the most fun used cars for the money on the market today.
Honda's two seat roadster was designed for knife-edge handling and open air excitement. Designed by the same team that created the Acura NSX, the Honda S2000 is one of the most focused sports cars on the market. Early models feature a 2.0-liter engine that can rev to 9,000 RPM. S2000s built after 2004 come with a slightly larger 2.2-liter motor that doesn't rev as high, but is ultimately more powerful and easier to drive around town.