These are the purebreds, designed from the first stroke of the engineer’s mouse to advance the pleasure of driving. Their powertrains and suspensions are crafted to deliver what their gorgeous bodies promise: excitement. Each is reserved for an intimate two passengers (well, the Porsche 911 does have a pair of tiny rear seats). And all make this list by virtue of their value, technology, or just plain emotional pull. Arranged least expensive to most, the base prices include the manufacturer’s destination fees, which average around $950.
2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Base price range: $24,765-$33,450
When it comes to pure sports
-car fun, few measure up to the Mazda
MX-5 – still known widely in the U.S. by its earlier moniker, the Miata. That it’s also the most affordable ride on our list is a big bonus. The Miata is a rear-wheel drive, two-seat convertible that comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on base models, a six-speed manual on all other versions; a six-speed automatic is optional on all. While the Mazda
may be less powerful than many of its rivals, this is a car that is all about the incredibly athletic handling and responsive steering that makes the driver feel connected with the car in a way that few others can, especially at this price point. Miata delivers 167 horsepower with either manual gearbox and 158 with the automatic. Torque comes in at 140 pound-feet with all transmissions. Fuel-economy is rated 25 mpg city-highway combined with the five-speed, 24 for with the six-speed manual, and 23 with the automatic. Although it’s undeniably a small car, there is just about enough room for all-but the tallest of occupants in the Miata, but trunk space is a limited as you would probably expect. The Miata is available with either a soft top or the power retractable hard top.