10 Cars Under $50,000 That Drive Like Much More Expensive Ones

These luxury and sporty vehicles are options for those with modest budgets.
Updated June 8, 2023
Woman smiling while driving

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Buying a car in today’s market can be intimidating. Interest rates on car loans have soared, and dealers are struggling to keep popular models in stock.

However, there are still some great options available, especially if you hope to spend less so you can keep more money in your wallet.

Check out some of the following stylish vehicles that could be a good fit for both your garage and your budget.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Courtesy of Mazda Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 has been around in the U.S. since the late 1980s and is a great option for fans of small and sporty-looking vehicles.

The current MX-5 Miata has a starting base price of $28,050. The cost can go up from there depending on whether you want the Sport, Cub, or Grand Touring version of the car. This car could help you keep more money in your bank account compared to many others in a similar category. 

Remember to consider the wait time on the Club, which is built to order.

Chevrolet Camaro

Courtesy of Chevrolet Chevrolet Camaro

If you’re looking for an American sports car, there are some good options that cost less than $50,000.

The Chevrolet Camaro, for example, has a base price of $26,100. That price might seem low, but remember that you’ll probably want to add extras to the car to make it sporty and sleek, and those costs can add up.

However, at $45,940, even the iconic Camaro SS will keep you under the $50,000 limit.

BMW 230i

Courtesy of BMW BMW 230i

Yes, you can own a BMW for less than $50,000: The BMW 230i gives you the chance to drive a luxury car within your not-so-luxury budget.

This two-door sedan features the engineering and styling BMW is known for. You can also add stylish wheels and a dark-trim package for the exterior to make the car stand out.

The base price starts at $38,200, but give yourself some room for upgrades.

Toyota GR Supra

Courtesy of Toyota Toyota GR Supra

The Toyota Supra was a beloved sporty car that disappeared from Toyota’s lineup in the early part of this century. Now, a new version is back on American roads.

The Toyota GR Supra has a starting cost of $44,640. That price is close to the $50,000 limit, so remember to factor in any potential add-ons that could bump you over that mark.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Courtesy of Ford Ford Mustang Mach-E

Car companies are transitioning to more electric vehicle options that you can still buy at an affordable price.

One of those options is the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the company’s electric SUV option under its iconic Mustang brand. You can grab a Mach-E for a base price of $42,995 from your local dealer.

Pro tip: If you’re worried about your budget, check out if your purchase might be eligible for electric vehicle tax credits at the state or federal level. Every dollar you save is money you can use to get ahead financially.

Honda Civic Type R

Courtesy of Honda Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic sedan starts at $23,750 for those worried about spending less than $50,000.

But if you want something with more performance, check out the Honda Civic Type R to get that extra sporty feel. The Type R includes more power, attention to aerodynamic details, and a higher level of performance. It also has a base price of $43,795.

Cadillac XT4

Courtesy of Cadillac Cadillac XT4

Yes, you can afford a Cadillac on a budget of less than $50,000.

The XT4 features all the luxuries you might expect from a Cadillac SUV without the super-high price tag. Pick up an XT4 for a base price of $36,295, which gives you plenty of room to add on extra features while still sticking to your budget.

Subaru BRZ

Courtesy of Subaru Subaru BRZ

Check out a Subaru BRZ if your budget is super tight but you still want a sporty car.

The BRZ has a base price of $28,595, putting it well below the $50,000 limit. The car comes with an automatic transmission as well as paddle shifters if you prefer those.

Dodge Charger

Courtesy of Dodge Dodge Charger

Another great sporty American option is the Dodge Charger, which starts off at a base price of $33,200.

However, you might have to act fast on this one, as production of the Charger is being discontinued after the 2023 model year. Dodge is beginning to focus more on electric vehicles in its lineup.

Mercedes-Benz C 300

Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz C 300

Check out Mercedes-Benz if you’re looking for a luxury compact car at a reasonable price.

For example, the Mercedes-Benz C 300 starts out at $44,850. The compact sedan has a sleek interior design that will allow you to drive a luxury car within your budget.

Bottom line

Yuri Bizgaimer/Adobe cars for sale stock lot row

If you are looking for a great vehicle, affordable options abound. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to feel good about your car purchase.

So, if you want to lower your level of financial stress, consider the vehicles on this list. Driving them will make you feel like a million bucks without having to spend anywhere near that amount.

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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.