Rallycross is a great way to get into motorsport, and it really allows you to push your limits as a driver in a safe environment. In it, you run on a timed course through cones, similar to autocross — but instead of being in a parking lot, you’re on dirt. While you can definitely compete in local rallycross events in your own daily driver (I certainly do), the dirt and bumps can take a bit of a toll if you’re worried about keeping your car showroom ready. That’s why a lot of drivers like to pick up something else to race in and make mistakes in. But you don’t want to spend a ton of money, because you’re going to go thrash it in a field — and yet, it still needs to be fun and hopefully semi-reliable. So here are five great rallycross cars you can get for five grand or less.
2014 Ford Focus SE Hatchback
One of the great things about rallycross is the wide variety of cars competing in it. The lack of traction really limits the playing field, so the folks with less horsepower can do shockingly well if they drive smart. That’s why a car like this 2014 Ford Focus makes a lot of sense. It’s front-wheel drive, 4-cylinder and it pushes out 160 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque — which isn’t shabby for a little hatchback. Plus, if you ever break something, parts will be a piece of cake to find. This particular Focus is listed by a dealer in China, Michigan, for $4,995 with around 52,000 miles on it. Find a Ford Focus for sale
At the other end of the spectrum is this 2001 Ford Mustang. Now, this is the V6, not the V8, because we’re trying to work within a budget — but that still means you’re getting 193 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. So there’s plenty of oomph to let you drift it sideways, which is really all you want anyways. Get sideways, throw dirt, make noise and laugh with your friends. Rallycross is the best, you guys. I don’t know of any car out there that has a larger aftermarket than the Ford Mustang, so regardless of how far you want to modify it, and what class you want to run it in, the Mustang will be able to grow along with you as your skills progress. This one is listed for $4,998 by a dealer in Bellflower, California, with 55,000 miles on the clock. Find a Ford Mustang for sale
Of course, if we’re talking about rally, in any form, eventually there will be a Subaru. I’m pretty sure it’s the law. In this case, we’ve got a 2004 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. That’s a long way of saying it’s an Impreza wagon. This isn’t the fire-breathing, turbo-huffing WRX from Forza, but it still has the famous Subaru symmetrical all-wheel drive, which is the important part. The AWD system is channeling 165 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque from that boxer 4-cylinder engine. While that’s less than the Mustang, it can put all of that to the ground all of the time, which is what really makes the difference, as nothing digs out of a dirt corner quite like an AWD car. This one is for sale for $4,995 from a dealer in Falls Church, Virginia. Find a Subaru Impreza for sale
Part of racing, especially in rough conditions, is reliability — and nothing says reliability like a Honda. This Honda Civic LX Coupe may only have 140 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque, but it will probably run forever. Plus, it has VTEC, which is worth like 20 hp just by itself, as long as you throw a few stickers on there. While the humble Civic may be down on power, it makes up for its power disadvantage in nimbleness. It comes in at around 600 pounds lighter than both the Mustang and the Subaru, which definitely adds up in the corners. This Civic is listed for sale for $4,500 by a private seller in Ontario, California. Find a Honda Civic for sale
While this car may not make the most sense from a racing or reliability perspective, it makes my soul happy, and that’s good enough. The GTI is what started this whole hot hatch phenomenon off in the first place, and I would absolutely love to see one tearing it up in the dirt 30-plus years later. Is it fast? Probably not. Is it reliable? Well, this one needs a clutch and it’s leaking fuel, so not really. But you’ll be a hero if you race it. So go for it. This beauty is listed for a mere $3,500 by a private seller in Lawton, Oklahoma. Find a Volkswagen GTI for sale