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10 Most Affordable New Performance Cars for 2019

Just because you’re looking for a reasonably priced new car doesn’t mean it has to be slow or boring or uninspired. Thanks to the popularity of sporty compact cars, hot hatchbacks and fun-to-drive roadsters, driving fun does not require a big budget. Here we’ve compiled a list of 10 of our favorite affordable performance cars on sale new here in 2019.

2019 Ford Fiesta ST

2019 Ford Fiesta ST

The Fiesta ST is one of the best bargains on the performance car market, with brand new examples carrying an MSRP starting at $21,340 and reaching around $26,000 when loaded. For your money, you’ll get four doors in a small, yet functional subcompact hatchback design. Powering the front-wheel drive Fiesta ST is a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine putting out an impressive 197 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque paired with a standard 6-speed manual. Add in a sport suspension, 18-in wheels, Recaro sport seats and a cool bodykit, and you’ve got what just may be the performance car bargain of the decade. Find a Ford Fiesta for sale

2019 Ford Focus ST

2019 Ford Focus ST

The bigger brother to the Fiesta ST, the Focus ST offers just about everything you get with the Fiesta ST, but in a bigger, more powerful package. A new 2019 Focus ST carries a starting price of $25,170, while a fully loaded example will run you around $33,000, although incentives should bring this figure closer to $30,000. Nonetheless, for your money you’ll get the practicality of a 4-door compact hatchback along with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine putting out 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque and paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. Find a Ford Focus ST for sale

2019 FIAT 500 Abarth

2019 FIAT 500 Abarth

The smallest vehicle on this list, the FIAT 500 Abarth takes the humble FIAT 500 city car and adds to it a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 160 hp, which is quite impressive for a vehicle of this size. A sport suspension and a mighty, grumbly exhaust note round things out. Overall, thanks to its strong engine, tiny size and the fun noises it makes, the 500 Abarth is a blast, although build quality is a shortcoming. Prices start at $20,495 and reach about $27,000 once fully loaded. Opting for the Cabrio adds another $1,500 to that figure. While this is technically a list for new vehicles, we’re going to make an exception here and encourage you to also consider a used Abarth. Along with other vehicles in the 500 family, 500 Abarths tend to depreciate quickly, and since they’ve changed little since they first went on sale back in 2012, it might make more sense for you to find a used example, and there are currently several to choose from listed on Autotrader for $10,000 or less. Find a Fiat 500 for sale

2019 Mazda Miata

2019 Mazda Miata

Thanks to a significant power bump taking it from 155 hp to 181, the 2019 Miata is an even more engaging drive than it was in years past. Two versions are available: a traditional roadster with a manually folding soft top or the RF model, which has a folding hardtop that retracts into the rear decklid with the push of a button, leaving the vehicle with a striking fastback look. Regardless of which one you choose, the Miata is all about driving pleasure, and it remains one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles on sale today. A brand-new 2019 Miata Roadster costs between $27,000 and $33,000, while retractable hardtop RF models carry about a $2,500 premium. Our advice? Unless you’re physically incapable of operating a clutch pedal and gear shifter, go with the manual. Find a Mazda MX-5 Miata for sale

2019 Subaru WRX

2019 Subaru WRX

What sets the WRX apart from compact performance cars like the Honda Civic Si, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI and the Focus ST, is its standard all-wheel-drive system, not to mention its rallying pedigree. The WRX doesn’t offer the nicest interior, nor is its ride particularly smooth, given the rally-tuned suspension, but it does put out a respectable 268 hp from its turbocharged 2.5-liter "boxer" 4-cylinder. This is enough to get the WRX from 0-to-60 mph in a little over five seconds, and makes it a hoot to drive on both wet and dry surfaces. A continuously variable automatic is available, but don’t bother. As with most other vehicles on this list, we recommend the 6-speed manual. A 2019 WRX carries a starting price of about $28,000 and reaches $35,000 in fully-loaded Limited trim. Find a Subaru WRX for sale

2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The GTI is the original hot hatch. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder putting out 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Putting that power to the wheels is either a smooth shifting 6-speed manual or a lighting fast 7-speed dual-clutch automatic offering paddle shifters and a launch control mode. Additionally, a brand new GTI comes with an extremely generous 6-year/72,000-mile warranty — one of the best in the industry. Long a good balance of performance, refinement and value, the GTI starts at about $28,500, while a fully-loaded example reaches $38,000. Find a Volkswagen Golf GTI for sale

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Using the same powertrain as the GTI and offering the same great warranty, the Jetta is a good option for anyone who has yet to come around to the GTI’s hatchback body style. Worth noting also is that the 2019 GLI and the Jetta on which it’s based are both all-new designs, while the Golf and its GTI counterpart have been around for a few years. Still, performance between the two vehicles will be similar, and like the GTI, the Jetta is available with both a 6-speed manual and that 7-speed dual clutch auto. Pricing for the new GLI has yet to be announced, but expect it to come in at slightly less than a comparably equipped GTI when it goes on sale in the coming months. Find a Vokswagen Jetta for sale

2019 Volkswagen Golf R

2019 Volkswagen Golf R

As it’s a step up from the GTI, the Golf R carries the highest starting price out of any vehicle on this list, but given that it offers an excellent powertrain and sophistication on par with the performance offerings of the German luxury brands, we thought it was worthy of inclusion on this list given its impressive value proposition. The practical Golf R makes use of a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which is similar to what you’ll find in the GTI, but in this case putting out a healthy 288 hp, good enough to propel it from 0-to-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Also like the GTI, buyers have the option of either a 6-speed manual or a lighting fast 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. One more thing — buyers willing to pay a $2,000 premium can choose a color from VW’s "Spektrum" program, which offers a total of 40 different hues, with unique options like Viper Green Metallic, TNT Orange and about five different shades of maroon.

The Golf R carries a starting price of about $42,000 and reaches $43,000 when optioned with the fast-shifting dual clutch automatic transmission (add another $2,000 if you want a special-order Spektrum color), making it a great value when compared to alternatives from Audi and BMW. Find a Volkswagen Golf R for sale

2019 Toyota 86

2019 Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ

The 86 and the BRZ twins are powered by a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine making 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. What it lacks in power, it makes up for in driving dynamics, as its low center of gravity allows for excellent balance and handling. Whether you want a BRZ or an 86 is up to you, as the two vehicles are virtually identical. The pair starts at around $27,000 while a fully-loaded example of either will run you around $32,000. Find a Toyota 86 for sale or Find a Subaru BRZ for sale

2019 Honda Civic Si

2019 Honda Civic Si

While at first glance, the Civic Si might seem like your run-of-the-mill sport compact car, it actually stands out for a few reasons. First, unlike most of the vehicles on this list, it doesn’t use a turbocharged engine, instead getting its 205 hp from an over-achieving 1.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder. Second, the Civic Si is available in both sedan and coupe body styles, making it a good option for anyone who prefers two doors to four. There aren’t many options available for the manual-only Civic Si, and regardless of whether you choose the sporty sedan or even sportier coupe, expect to pay around $25,000 for either. Find a Honda Civic for sale

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