Car Deal Canada

Fast Cars For Under 20k

Fast Cars For Under 20k

Feel the need…the need for speed? The adrenaline rush of acceleration pushing you back into your seat? Want to experience the joy of corner carving agility without emptying your bank account? Good news – owning a fast, fun car is more attainable than ever thanks to today’s used performance car values.


Gone are the days when driving a rapid ride required taking out a second mortgage or winning the lottery. There are now numerous options on the market for speed demons on a budget. High horsepower vehicles that were once only accessible to the wealthy are now available for everyday enthusiasts.


This comprehensive guide will highlight the best performance bargains under $20,000 CAD. We’ve tracked down the fastest, most thrilling machines that prove you don’t need deep pockets to fulfill your need for speed. From track-ready coupes to muscle cars packing neck-snapping torque, affordable fun awaits.

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Best Bang for Buck Speed Demons

These vehicles provide the most horsepower, fastest acceleration and highest top speeds for the money in the under $20k price range.

 

2011+ Ford Mustang GT

The 2011 and newer Ford Mustang GT packs a serious punch thanks to its muscular 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8 engine putting out an impressive 412 horsepower. This provides a tremendous power-to-price ratio, with tested 0-60 mph times coming in around 4.3 seconds. The Mustang GT combines retro styling with modern performance, making it a bargain-priced speed demon. Opting for a 2011 or newer model year grabs you the more powerful Coyote engine. Mustang GTs in this budget offer a RWD thrill ride for those who want neck-snapping acceleration and a glorious V8 soundtrack without breaking the bank.

 

Everyday Drivers That Can Still Kick It

These more practical yet peppy cars retain usable back seats and trunks but can still pin you to your seat when you floor it.

 

Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of the most beloved affordable sports cars of all time. With over 1 million sold worldwide since its debut in 1989, the Miata blends nimble handling, open-top fun and Japanese reliability into one iconic package. The fourth-generation ND Miata debuted for 2016 with a lighter chassis and more power than ever from its 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. Output sits at 155 to 181 horsepower depending on trim level, allowing a 0-60 mph time of just 5.7 seconds in higher trims. Weighing under 2,400 lbs, the Miata delivers incredible agility and balance through corners that puts smiles on the faces of even the most seasoned drivers. Yet it remains comfortable enough for daily commuting duties. With over 30 years of refinement, the Miata provides an unbeatable driving experience in an affordable used package under $20,000.

 

Best Coupe: BMW 128i

For those seeking a nimble two-door performance machine on a budget, the BMW 128i is arguably the top option under $20K. Part of BMW’s 1 Series lineup from 2008-2013, the 128i Coupe delivers an agile, driver-focused experience with plenty of punch from its 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine.

Producing 230 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque, this rear-wheel drive coupe can sprint from 0-60 mph in under 6 seconds. The 128i is smaller and lighter than BMW’s 3 and 5 Series models, making it feel tight and tossable through corners. Steering is precise and braking is strong with the 128i’s 4-wheel disc setup.

Inside, the interior offers premium materials and driver-focused ergonomics you’d expect from a BMW. Bolstered sport seats keep you planted during aggressive driving. Some high-tech options were available too like a hard drive-based navigation system.

Reliability and running costs are very reasonable for a used German performance coupe. Opting for a later model year 128i will provide the most up-to-date tech and features. Overall, the 128i Coupe gives you authentic BMW driving dynamics in an affordable package under $20,000.

 

Best Convertible: Mazda MX-5 Miata

For open-air thrills on a budget, look no further than the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Miata has been beloved by driving enthusiasts for over 30 years as an affordable roadster that delivers smiles per mile. Opting for a used Miata under $20,000 gets you lightly used examples from the ND generation launched in 2015.

The Miata comes with a 2.0L Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine making 155-181 horsepower depending on the model year. This provides plenty of pep for the featherweight roadster, allowing a 0-60 mph time of just over 6 seconds. The real joy of the Miata is how nimble it feels, with perfectly balanced handling and an intimate connection between car and driver.

With the top down, the Miata becomes a sensory experience, letting you enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of backroad driving. The short wheelbase and double wishbone suspension allows the Miata to carve corners with ease. For those wanting a pure driver’s car, the Miata’s manual transmission is a must. There’s simply no more grin-inducing convertible available for the price.

 

Best Sedan: Subaru WRX

When it comes to four-door fun for under $20,000, the Subaru WRX reigns supreme. With its legendary turbocharged boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive system, the WRX offers rally-bred performance in a practical sedan package. Models from 2008-2014 can be found for well under budget and come packed with up to 265 horsepower driving all four wheels. The throaty turbo snarl and tenacious grip make the Subaru a thrill on backroads, while still offering a comfortable ride and roomy interior for daily commuting.

With its hood scoop, large rear wing and aggressive body work, the WRX definitely looks the part of a fast street machine. Yet it retains good outward visibility and a usable back seat. These turbo Subarus have lots of aftermarket support, so adding some bolt-on mods to up the power is easy. The AWD system gives it great traction in all weather, and the handling is nimble and responsive. The WRX gives drivers serious performance and driving excitement in an affordable package with room for friends and storage.

 

Best Muscle Car: Ford Mustang GT

When it comes to American muscle for under $20k, nothing beats the Ford Mustang GT. Since the 2011 model year, the Mustang GT has packed a burly 5.0L “Coyote” V8 under the hood, putting out an impressive 412 horsepower in later models. This provides effortless power delivered through a great sounding engine note. With the rear-wheel drive layout and available manual transmission, the Mustang GT offers an old-school, tire-shredding muscle car experience while still being a comfortable daily driver. While the solid rear axle suspension design may not provide the sharpest handling, it does allow the Mustang GT to launch incredibly hard off the line. With great looks that turn heads, abundant power for the price, and the rear drive fun-factor, the Mustang GT is the best muscle car bang for the buck under $20k.

 

Best Supercar: Mercedes-Benz SL600

If you really want exotic supercar performance on a budget, look no further than the 2008-2012 Mercedes-Benz SL600. This luxurious grand tourer packs a twin-turbo 5.5L V12 engine making over 500 horsepower. That’s enough grunt to rocket the SL600 from 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. Its top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

With the silky smooth 7-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive, and adaptive suspension, the SL600 delivers incredible performance and refinement. The interior is lavishly appointed with leather, wood trim and the latest technology of its era. Plus you get a power retractable hard top to enjoy open-air motoring.

Thanks to rapid depreciation, these ultra-luxury Mercedes coupes can now be had for under $20,000. That’s an absolute steal for a hand-built supercar with over half a million dollars of hardware when new. The SL600 provides breathtaking performance and prestige that easily rivals modern exotics, but for a fraction of the price.

 

Maintenance Costs

Performance cars can often cost more to maintain than regular vehicles. Here are some of the key maintenance costs to factor in when budgeting for a fast car under $20k:

 

  • Oil changes – Sports cars tend to require full synthetic oil and changes more frequently, around every 5,000 miles. This can cost $80-$120 per change.
  • Tires – High performance tires wear faster and cost more to replace, often $150+ per tire for premium brands.
  • Brakes – Larger brakes and performance pads and rotors wear faster and need replacement more often.
  • Premium fuel – Most fast cars require or recommend premium gasoline, which costs 20-40 cents more per gallon.
  • Insurance – Insuring a sports car, especially for a young driver, can cost substantially more per month.

 

While the thrill of driving a fast car is hard to put a price on, it’s important to budget extra for the ongoing care and feeding of these machines compared to a standard vehicle. Proper maintenance is crucial to ensure peak performance and reliability.

 

Insurance Costs

One factor to keep in mind when purchasing a fast car on a budget is insurance costs. Sports cars generally have much higher insurance premiums compared to regular passenger vehicles. Insurance companies view them as higher risk due to their increased power, speed capabilities, and appeal to younger drivers.

Some models, like the Ford Mustang, are notorious for having astronomical insurance rates, especially for drivers under 25. Others, like the Subaru WRX, are a bit more affordable to insure but still carry higher premiums. Comprehensive and collision coverage in particular can be very expensive for these types of vehicles.

To keep insurance costs manageable, opt for a higher deductible if possible and shop around for quotes. Ask your insurance agent if they offer any discounts for safety features like traction control or anti-lock brakes. And consider a model with a less “boy racer” reputation to potentially save on premiums. With some smart planning, insurance doesn’t have to break the bank.

 

Fuel Economy

When shopping for a fast car on a budget, fuel economy is an important consideration. While these speedy vehicles are thrilling to drive, their powerful engines typically require premium gasoline and have increased thirst compared to an average commuter car.

Among the most fuel-efficient options are the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Subaru WRX, which can achieve up to 33 mpg highway with manual transmissions. The nimble Miata leverages a small 4-cylinder engine while the turbocharged WRX offers all-wheel drive traction without guzzling too much fuel.

At the other end of the spectrum, the muscular Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang GT pack over 400 horsepower but sacrifice efficiency with EPA ratings of just 19/30 mpg city/highway. Daily driving one of these V8-powered coupes will require a steady diet of premium fuel.

Other considerations that impact fuel economy include transmission choice, where automatics typically rate lower than manuals, and driving style. Performance models encourage spirited acceleration but efficiency-minded drivers can improve mpg by taking it easy on the throttle when possible.

Overall, most of these rapid rides under $20k offer fuel economy in the 20-25 mpg range. While not outstanding, with today’s gas prices this is a reasonable tradeoff for the excitement of piloting a quick, agile machine.

 

Safety Features

Safety should always be a top priority, even when shopping for a fast car on a budget. Look for important active and passive safety features that can help prevent accidents or minimize injury in a crash. Here are some key items to look for:

 

Airbags – More airbags, the better. Front, side and curtain airbags are ideal for protecting occupants.

 

ABS and Stability Control – Anti-lock brakes prevent wheels from locking up and help you maintain steering control. Stability control systems like ESC help you stay on course during abrupt maneuvers.

 

Traction ControlHelps prevent wheel spin and loss of grip, especially important in powerful, rear-wheel drive cars.

 

High-Strength Steel – Reinforced passenger cabins with crumple zones absorb impact energy in a collision.

 

Collision Warning Systems – Some models offer forward collision and lane departure warnings to help avoid accidents in the first place.

 

While tempting to go for the most horsepower and fastest 0-60 times, don’t neglect essential safety aids that could save your life. Prioritizing safety doesn’t mean sacrificing performance.

 

Finding Deals

With some savvy shopping, you can find incredible performance bargains in the used car market. Here are some tips for locating the fastest rides under $20,000 CAD:

 

Check Online Listings

Websites like AutoTrader, Kijiji and Craigslist often have private sellers listing hot hatches, sports coupes or muscle cars for well under 20k. Sort by price and pay attention to details in the description that indicate mods or high performance trim levels.

 

Search Dealership Inventory

Dealerships sometimes acquire higher-mileage performance trade-ins that they list for bargain prices just to move them quickly. Expand your search radius and scour dealer sites for inventory specials. Contact sellers to verify condition.

 

Auctions & Wholesalers

Government, police and fleet vehicle auctions can have some amazing deals on seized, crashed or retired performance models. Wholesale auto auctions are also worth checking for steeply discounted sports cars.

 

Private Sale Forums

Enthusiast forums and Facebook Groups focused on specific makes or models often have members selling their rides. You can get a car with mods and maintenance records from an engaged owner.

 

Inspect Condition

When examining any listing in-person, look for crash damage, check service records, take a test drive and have a mechanic inspect before purchasing. Make sure worn components like tires, brakes and fluids have been replaced.

 

Test Drive

Test driving a used performance car before buying is crucial. Here’s what to look out for during your test drive:

 

  • Listen for any unusual engine noises when accelerating or shifting gears.
  • Pay attention to the transmission – does it shift smoothly or do you feel any clunks?
  • Test the brakes – do they stop the car quickly and smoothly without pulling to one side?
  • Take tight turns and high-speed curves to evaluate steering and chassis dynamics.
  • Accelerate hard to experience the car’s power and torque.
  • Drive at highway speeds to assess comfort and road noise.
  • Sit in all seating positions to gauge comfort and visibility.
  • Test any tech features and controls to ensure they function properly.
  • Assess visibility out of the windows and over your shoulders.

 

A thorough test drive will reveal potential issues and help you determine if a used performance car truly meets your needs before purchasing.

 

Conclusion

Owning a fast, fun car is an attainable goal for budget-focused drivers thanks to the many affordable performance machines available on the used market. This guide showcased a wide range of speedy vehicles that can be purchased for under $20,000 CAD, from practical everyday coupes and sedans to track-ready muscle cars and exotic supercars.

Whether you prioritize acceleration, handling, straight-line speed or just want a head-turning ride, there are plenty of options to inject some excitement into your commute without breaking the bank. Daily drivers like the GTI and WRX blend practicality with pep, while the Mustang GT and Corvette offer old-school American muscle. For those who want a taste of European flair, the BMW 128i and Mercedes SL600 deliver autobahn agility at used-car prices.

Owning your dream car is closer than you think – you don’t need deep pockets to experience performance driving. By opting for one of these thrilling used performance machines under $20k, you can enjoy neck-snapping acceleration, track-ready handling and head-turning style on a budget.

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Questions About Fast Cars Under 20k

Some of the fastest cars under $20,000 available in Canada include the Ford Mustang GT, Subaru WRX, Mazda MX-5 Miata, and Chevrolet Camaro SS. These cars offer great performance and driving dynamics at an affordable price point. The Mustang GT packs over 400 horsepower from its V8 engine, while the WRX offers rally-bred all-wheel drive performance. For purist driving enjoyment, the lightweight rear-wheel drive Miata can’t be beat. And the Camaro SS brings classic American muscle with over 330 hp.

When searching for a fast, affordable car in Canada, consider the vehicle’s power, acceleration, handling, braking performance, fuel efficiency, reliability and maintenance costs, insurance costs, winter drivability if applicable, interior space and features, resale value, and overall enjoyment as a daily driver. Prioritize the features most important for your needs and budget. Test drive top contenders to get a feel for acceleration, steering, shifter engagement if a manual, seat comfort, visibility, cabin noise, and ride quality over varying road surfaces before deciding.

 

You can find quite a lot of power in fast cars available under $20K in Canada. Some examples include:

 

– Ford Mustang GT: Over 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft torque from 5.0L V8

 

– Subaru WRX: Around 268 HP and 258 lb-ft torque from 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder

 

– Volkswagen GTI: 228 HP and 258 lb-ft torque from 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder

 

– Mazda MX-5 Miata: 181 HP and 151 lb-ft torque from 2.0L naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder

 

– Chevrolet Camaro SS: Over 330 HP and over 350 lb-ft torque from 6.2L V8

 

So models like the Mustang, Camaro and Subaru WRX offer very strong power, while cars like the Miata focus more on lightweight handling. There are plenty of quick options to choose from with this budget.

Here are some of the quickest 0-60 mph acceleration times you can expect from top sports car picks under $20K in Canada:

 

– Ford Mustang GT: 4.3 seconds

 

– Subaru WRX: 4.9 seconds

 

– Volkswagen GTI: 6.3 seconds

 

– Mazda MX-5 Miata: 5.7 seconds

 

– Chevrolet Camaro SS: 4.6 seconds

 

The Mustang GT and Camaro SS stand out with the quickest times in the low 4-second range. The WRX all-wheel drive grip helps it reach 60 mph in under 5 seconds. Lightweight rear-drive sports cars like the Miata aren’t far behind. Overall there are great quick acceleration options to choose from.

Some of the top used sports cars widely available under $20,000 in Canada include:

 

– Ford Mustang GT

– Mazda MX-5 Miata

– Subaru BRZ

– Chevrolet Camaro

– Dodge Challenger

– Nissan 370Z

– Volkswagen GTI

– Ford Focus ST

– Subaru WRX

– Honda Civic Si

 

Canadian used car sites often have good selections of these popular sports coupes and sedans that blend performance and practicality at an affordable used price point. The RWD Mustang, BRZ and Miata are agile and fun to drive. The Camaro, Challenger, 370Z and WRX offer more power. And the GTI, ST and Civic Si are sporty everyday hatchbacks.

The most reliable sports cars under $20,000 available in Canada are:

 

– Mazda MX-5 Miata

– Subaru BRZ

– Honda Civic Si

– Acura RSX Type S

– Toyota 86

 

These affordable driver’s cars from Japanese brands are renowned for durability, longevity and lower repair costs compared to most European, British and American counterparts. The Miata tops lists for incredible reliability even with hard use. The BRZ, Civic Si, RSX and 86 all have proven naturally aspirated engines and drivetrains that hold up well over years. Avoiding overly complex turbo engines and AWD systems found in some rivals keeps running costs lower.

 

The top AWD sports cars available for under $20K in Canada for capable winter driving include:

 

– Subaru WRX

– Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

– Volkswagen Golf R

– Ford Focus RS

– Subaru BRZ (with winter tires)

 

The turbocharged, rally-bred AWD systems in the WRX and Evo make them hard to beat for year-round sports driving, including on snow and ice. The Golf R offers an upscale interior and luxury brand cachet with its all-wheel drive grip. And the previous-generation Ford Focus RS provides outrageous driftable fun. Even the BRZ sports coupe does well with proper winter tires.

Here are the top daily driver sports cars widely available for under $20K in Canada based on a balance of fun performance, comfort, features, reliability and practicality:

 

– Subaru BRZ

– Volkswagen GTI

– Ford Mustang Ecoboost

– Mazda MX-5 Miata

– Honda Civic Si

– Subaru WRX

 

The BRZ, GTI, Mustang and Miata provide agile handling for winding back roads with usable space for passengers and storage. The Civic Si and WRX add turbocharged power while remaining comfortable and efficient for everyday commutes. These sports coupes and sedans manage to blend excitement with sensible running costs and usability.

 

Some fast sedans available for under $20,000 to buy in Canada include:

 

– Subaru WRX

– Volkswagen Jetta GLI

– Kia Stinger

– Honda Civic Si

– Ford Fusion Sport

– Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited

– Chrysler 300C

– Dodge Charger

 

The WRX again tops the list with rally-bred performance pedigree and an available manual gearbox. The GLI and Stinger provide sporty alternatives to boring family sedans. And the V6-powered 300C, Charger, Fusion Sport and Legacy offer surprising straight line speed in bigger four-door packages. The Civic Si is a lighter and more agile option.

The sports cars that hold their value best when buying used for under $20K in Canada are:

 

– Porsche Boxster

– Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ

– Mazda MX-5 Miata

– Honda Civic Si

– Ford Mustang

– Chevrolet Corvette

Acura Integra

 

Porsche and Toyota/Subaru models top residual value lists, making them smart buys used. The mid-engine Boxster maintains higher value as an entry to the Porsche brand. And the lightweight 86/BRZ twins have proven reliability to match their precision handling. Overall the Miata, Civic Si, Mustang, Corvette and Integra also retain well-above-average value across years of ownership.

The cheapest fast cars to insure for under $20K in Canada are:

 

– Mazda MX-5 Miata

– Subaru BRZ

– Scion FR-S

– Honda Civic Si

– Volkswagen GTI

– Ford Mustang Ecoboost

 

The Miata convertible sees very low rates due to its lightweight design and low accident frequency. The BRZ and near-identical FR-S coupes are also economical to cover. Front-wheel drive hot hatches like the Civic Si and GTI offer affordable performance with lower insurance costs. Dropping to the turbo 4-cylinder from the Mustang GT V8 also makes a significant savings impact.

 

New sports cars listed for sale under $20K at Canadian dealers include:

 

– Mazda MX-5 Miata

– Subaru BRZ

– Toyota 86

– Fiat 124 Spider

– Volkswagen Golf GTI

– Mini Cooper S 2-Door

– Kia Forte5 GT

 

The Miata continues to offer pure, lightweight rear-drive fun with its sharp handling as an affordable new roadster. Toyota and Subaru carry the BRZ and twin 86 coupes that focus on balance and precision at a reasonable sticker. And the front-drive GTI and FWD/AWD Mini Cooper S bring hot hatch practicality. The Fiat Spider provides an Italian twist on the Miata formula.

 

The fastest new cars in Canada with MSRP available under $20K are:

 

– Hyundai Veloster Turbo/N: Around 275 HP turbocharged

– Subaru WRX: 268 HP turbocharged

– Volkswagen Golf GTI: 228 HP turbocharged

– Mazda MX-5 Miata: 181 HP naturally-aspirated

– Toyota 86: 205 HP naturally-aspirated

– Honda Civic Si: 205 HP turbocharged

 

Hyundai’s hot Veloster models offer compelling performance value, with the highest horsepower-per-dollar. The iconic WRX and GTI need no introduction. Lightweight Mazda and Toyota coupes focus on balance over power. And Honda’s tuner favorite Civic Si reaches 60 mph in under 7 seconds.

The top sports cars under $20K widely available in Canada for modification potential are:

 

– Mazda MX-5 Miata

– Nissan 350Z

– Subaru BRZ

– Scion FR-S

– Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

– Honda Civic Si

– Ford Mustang

 

With an immense aftermarket for parts, the lightweight Miata takes well to power adders, handling and brake upgrades to become an epic track weapon. Nissan 350Z tuning can easily yield 500+ horsepower. The low center of gravity RWD BRZ, FR-S and Mustang platforms respond beautifully to suspension and tire mods. And the Evo and Si integrate upgraded turbochargers seamlessly for more boost.

 

The best affordable convertible driver’s cars available for under $20K in Canada are:

 

– Mazda MX-5 Miata

– Ford Mustang

BMW 3 Series

– Mini Cooper

– Volkswagen Beetle

– Fiat 124 Spider

– Chevrolet Camaro

 

With its near perfect weight balance and ultra-precise handling, the Miata is hard to top for open-top thrills on a budget. Ford’s iconic Mustang pony car also beckons to be driven top-down. BMW, Mini and VW convertibles offer more refined driving manners. And the Fiat Spider and Chevy Camaro bring Italian and American flavor respectively.

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