10 Fun Cars To Drive That Are Under $40,000

Buckle up for a thrilling ride with these affordable automotive wonders.
Updated June 25, 2023
couple on convertible car

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Many drivers think a cool, sporty, fun car is something they will never be able to afford. But that's not necessarily true.

There are quite a few vehicles that are fun to drive, but that will also let you keep more money in your bank account.

If you have $40,000 or less to spend on a new car, truck, or SUV, here are some options that might fit your budget and level of cool.

Chevrolet Camaro

Courtesy of Chevrolet Chevrolet Camaro

Chevy is well-known for its Corvette, particularly with its recent mid-engine redesign. But this car has a starting price of $64,500.

Instead, get a Camaro for a starting price of $26,100. The more-affordable sports car comes in coupe or convertible versions, and you can customize it with different design and engine options.

Ford Mustang

Courtesy of Ford Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang is another American sports car icon. You can pick it up for a starting price of $27,770. The two-door car is available as either a fastback or convertible. 

Even if you add some premium options to bump up the fun factor, you can do so without exceeding your $40,000 budget.

The new 2024 model redesign is coming out in the summer of 2023. So, you might be able to get a good deal on a 2023 model as dealers make room on their lots for the newer version.

Jeep Wrangler

Courtesy of Jeep Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is a great vehicle if you prefer to drive something fun off the beaten path.

The Wrangler Sport is a great way to enter the Wrangler lifestyle with a base price of $31,195 for a two-door version. It comes with a seven-inch touchscreen and a zipperless soft top.

BMW 230i

Courtesy of BMW BMW 230i

You may be surprised to see a BMW on this list, but you can get one for under $40,000.

The BMW 230i coupe features a compact two-door design for drivers who want something small and sporty. The car's base price is $38,200, so beware that extras such as parking assist could push you over the $40,000 mark.

Hyundai Elantra N

Courtesy of Hyundai Hyundai Elantra N

The Hyundai Elantra is a great sedan if you want a well-designed car to get you around without much flash.

On the other hand, if you want something sporty and fun, upgrade to the Elantra N model, which includes a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, bucket seats, and a variable exhaust valve system.

It only gets 31 miles per gallon compared to the Hyundai Elantra Blue hybrid’s 54 miles per gallon, but you can still afford gas thanks to the $32,900 base price.

Dodge Challenger

Courtesy of Dodge Dodge Challenger

The Dodge Challenger is another great American car model, and you can get one with a starting price of $31,965.

The Challenger, however, is in its last production year, with Dodge announcing that it will stop production of the Challenger and Dodge Charger by the end of 2023. So, if you want to have fun with a Challenger, you’ll have to get your order in soon.

Ford Bronco

Courtesy of Ford Ford Bronco

Even SUVs can be fun to drive if you find the right one. One of those options may be Ford’s iconic Bronco.

The Bronco has a base price of $34,890 and has been in high demand since its 2021 return after being off the market for decades. If you enjoy outdoor activities, you may want to include extra cash in your budget for things like a roof rack or front bumper winch.

Toyota GR86

Courtesy of Toyota Toyota GR86

You may think of a Camry or Corolla when you think of Toyota, but the car manufacturer also has a sporty option that might be more fun.

Check out the Toyota GR86 with a base price of $28,400. The GR86 features a sporty design and a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. 

You can also get a free high-performance driving experience with your vehicle to learn more about its sporty track features.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Courtesy of Mazda/Adobe Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 Miata could be a fun option if you’re looking for a two-door version of something sporty.

The MX-5 Miata comes in a convertible version with additional options, such as an interior package with alloy pedals or additional exterior bodywork to give it an extra-sporty look.

All three versions of the MX-5 come in under $40,000. The cheapest Sport model has a base price of $28,050, and the highest-end Grand Touring starts at $33,050.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Mercedes Benz GLA 250

You can get a fun SUV from a luxury brand and still keep more money in your wallet.

The compact Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 easily maneuvers its way through streets and highways with its compact design. You can pick one up with a base price of $37,500, but remember to account for any additions you might want, such as a panorama roof.

Bottom line

Marko/Adobe businesswoman driving car at sunset

You don’t have to compromise on fun — even if you’re on a budget — when it comes to your next vehicle.

Remember to check with your local bank or financial institution if you need a loan for your vehicle, as their terms may be as good as or better than the loan terms from your dealer.

Also, lower your costs even more by finding ways to save money on car insurance.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.