If you’re willing to spend a hefty dime on a high-octane performance car over, say, $50,000 — you’re pretty well catered to. Even at amounts over $40,000, there’s no shortage of fun, tossable cars to choose from. But as you come down the ladder, it gets harder to discern the performance models from the run of the mill A-to-B cars. Or at least, it used to be.
Today, automakers are catering to young, often first-time buyers who are looking for an affordable vehicle that’s cheap to maintain and own, but doesn’t necessarily sacrifice its fun factor. Cars like the Volkswagen GTI and Chevrolet Camaro have long been bargain nameplates that don’t sacrifice one for the other. Those models have only gotten better with age, and as far as your bang for the buck is concerned, times have never been better.
We took a look at 16 car models available now — or in the very near future — all of which clock in at under $25,000, and offer the most fun (and speed) in their segment. We ranked the following vehicles by horsepower (least to most), and though we tried to include just about every applicable model, let us know what we left out in the comments below.