The quest for speed and agility often clashes with the reality of a budget… especially when you don’t win the megamillions. (Someday!)


The car companies are starting to get it, and I think 2024 is the year for performance cars that are both exciting to drive and easy on the wallet. Here are a few cars that I think are going to get some of my gearhead friends going without draining their Venmo accounts.


Check it.


Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 Miata remains everyone’s favorite affordable sports car. They’re fun, reliable, and rear-wheel drive – score! The 2024 model features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, 181 horsepower, manual or automatic transmission, and a retractable soft top for open-air driving experiences (perfect for south Florida!). Its agility, fuel efficiency, and iconic design makes it a favorite among driving purists.


Ford Mustang EcoBoost

You knew that a Mustang had to be in the top 2, right?! The Mustang EcoBoost gives the muscle car experience without the hefty price tag. I test drove it and found it had impressive power with its turbocharged engine, without the V8 fuel drain. It’s got a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 310 horsepower, rear-wheel drive, and advanced driver-assistance features.


Volkswagen Golf GTI

The Golf GTI is the hot hatch that started it all. The 2024 model has sharp handling, practicality, and a turbocharged engine that delivers both performance and economy. There’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 241 horsepower, front-wheel drive, and a spacious interior – perfect for hauling those roadside junk finds, I mean hidden treasures.


Subaru BRZ 

The BRZ is Subaru’s answer to affordable sports car enthusiasts who want a “pure driving” experience. Like the Miata, it’s lightweight and rear-wheel drive, and includes a naturally aspirated engine for immediate throttle response. With a 2.4-liter flat-four engine, 228 horsepower, manual or automatic transmission, and a low center of gravity, it’s got that authentic sports car feel with excellent handling and balance that doesn’t cost a fortune.


Honda Civic Si 

The Civic Si is a sportier version of their popular compact. Unlike the standard package, it offers enhanced performance with a turbocharged engine, sport-tuned suspension, and a manual transmission as standard. It’s also got a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 200 horsepower, front-wheel drive, and a performance-focused interior and provides a balanced mix of performance, reliability, and everyday practicality. It’s a good nod to Honda’s racing heritage.


Toyota GR86

The twin to the Subaru BRZ, the Toyota GR86 makes driving fun with a similar lightweight, rear-wheel drive layout. It also focuses on agility over outright power. There’s a 2.4-liter flat-four engine, 228 horsepower, manual or automatic transmission, and a driver-centric design. And for those who appreciate Toyota’s reliability and a slightly different styling approach, the GR86 is a nice alternative to the BRZ.


What cars would you add? Do you agree you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a great time behind the wheel?


I think, whether you’re drawn to the classic charm of the MX-5 Miata, the muscle car vibes of the Mustang EcoBoost, or the practicality of the Golf GTI, the important thing is to get out on the road n’ go!


Stay tuned up!


Patrick James

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