13 min read
22 Oct

The quest for a thrilling ride on a budget can seem like a pipe dream in a world where meeting a need for speed often comes at a bank-breaking high price. However, the used car market brims with a satisfying supply of hidden gems, and for those with a need for speed and a tight budget, the possibilities are more promising than you might think. Does this sound like an interesting topic? 

This article takes a journey through the inspiriting realm of used fast cars that won't drain your wallet, all for under $10,000. We've based our selections on analytic pricing data from reputable resources like the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and JD Power, combined with current real-world market pricing. 

So, get ready to explore a collection of performance vehicles that prove heart-pounding power and budget-friendly affordability can indeed coexist. Whether you're a seasoned gearhead or simply someone looking for an affordable adrenaline rush, this guide is your roadmap to high-speed bargains. 

Related Reading: Here Are The Top 10 Fastest Selling Used Cars 2023 – iSeeCars Report 

20. 2009 BMW X5

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 7.8 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $4,991–$14,950
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $6,099–$6,399
2009_BMW_X5_3.0_Si_Spanish Coches via Wikimedia.

The 2009 BMW X5 is a luxury midsize SUV that offers a blend of performance, style, and comfort. Its choice of powerful engines, including a 3.0-liter inline-six and a 4.8-liter V8, delivers strong acceleration and handling. 

Typical of BMW, the X5’s interior features high-quality materials and advanced technology to maintain the brand’s hallmarks of enhanced comfort and upscale ambiance. The 2009 X5 is known for its responsive steering, sporty driving dynamics, and an all-wheel drive system improving its capability in various road conditions. 

19. 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 7.8 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $7,999­–$36,995
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $10,505–$10,993
2013 Jeep-Grand_Cherokee_Trailhawk.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a midsize SUV with an established reputation for rugged off-road capability and refined interior. The 2013 model delivers decent power and towing capacity, thanks to its range of engine options, including a 290-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 and a 5.7-liter V8 mill churning out 360 horsepower. 

The former held hands with a 5-speed automatic, while the V8 routs power to the full-time 4WD system via a 6-speed A/T. Step up to the SRT8 variant, and the updated 470-hp V8 shaves a goodly 3 seconds off the 0–60 acceleration time, clocking 4.8 seconds and 160 mph top speed. 

The Grand Cherokee features a well-appointed interior with comfortable seating and user-friendly technology. This model maintains Jeep's reputation for off-road prowess with available four-wheel-drive systems. 

18. 2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 7.6 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $5,900–$12,995
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $7,025–$7,516
2011_Mini_Cooper_S_Countryman_ALL4 DestinationFearFan via Wikimedia.

The 2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 is a compact crossover SUV with a unique blend of style, fun-to-drive nature, and practicality. It comes equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine to guarantee spirited performance and agile handling. 

As the term suggests, the Countryman All4 model includes all-wheel drive, so drivers can have the confidence of enhanced traction and stability in adverse weather conditions. Inside, it features a distinctive and well-designed cabin with quirky touches characteristic of Mini. Despite its compact size, the Countryman offers decent interior space and a rear bench seat. 

17. 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 7.4 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $2,950–$14,998
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $4,864–$5,064
2012_Ford_Focus_Titanium Htchback Michael Gil via Wikimedia.

The 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback stood out in the compact car segment with its attractive design, fuel efficiency, and engaging driving dynamics. It comes with a choice of engines, including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, offering a balance between performance and fuel economy. 

The Focus Hatchback's interior is well-crafted with modern features, and it stands out for its comfortable seating and user-friendly technology, including the available SYNC infotainment system. Its hatchback design enhances cargo versatility, a feature much appreciated by owners who need extra storage space. 

16. 2014 Volkswagen Jetta

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 7.3 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $4,799–$24,995
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $8,670–$10,258
2014_Volkswagen_Jetta_Highline_TDI_front_view Dairokakan9 via Wikimedia.

The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta compact sedan focuses on practicality and affordability, but it also offers spirited driving on a budget. It uses a range of engines, including fuel-efficient four-cylinders and a more performance-oriented GLI model with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine routing 210 horses to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. 

This powertrain sends the Jetta to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, translating to 0.5 seconds shaved off the 7.3-second acceleration time of the standard model. It also has an optional 6-speed DSG (automated manual) transmission. The interior is straightforward, with decent legroom for front and rear seat passengers. 

The 2014 Jetta emphasizes a comfortable ride and solid build quality. It's known for its balance between ride comfort and composed handling. While it may not be the flashiest option in the compact car segment, the Jetta appeals to those looking for a reliable, practical, and cost-effective daily driver. 

15. 2011 Buick Lucerne

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 7.3 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $6,000–$13,874
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $8,138–$8,962
2011_Buick_Lucerne_CXL_Premium IFCAR via Wikimedia.

The 2011 Buick Lucerne is a full-size sedan that caters to the luxury and comfort-oriented segment of the market. It is available with V6 and V8 engine options, including the base 3.9-liter V6 producing 227 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and a 4.6-liter V8 making 292 horsepower. Admittedly, both engine options weren’t competitive in the Lucerne’s luxury sedan class, but it managed to send the large car from rest to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. 

That’s faster than the smaller cars discussed above. Add the Lucerne’s spacious interior with high-quality materials, along with a wealth of comfort and convenience features, such as leather seating and advanced infotainment systems, and the car, despite its seemingly underpowered mills, makes a strong case for those in the market for fast affordable used cars. 

Step up to the Super trim level, and the Lucerne makes the 0–60 mph distance in 6.8 seconds. Buick's focus on ride comfort is evident in the Lucerne, offering a plush and relaxing driving experience. While not as sporty as some competitors, the 2011 Lucerne excels in a comfortable and refined ride to please customers who love the idea of a traditional American luxury sedan. 

14. 2008 Volvo V70

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 7.3 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $4,888–$9,000
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $4,959
2008 Volvo V70.

The 2008 Volvo V70 wagon embodies Volvo's reputation for safety and practicality. The V70’s motivation came from five and six-cylinder engine choices, with the 2008 model benefiting from a 235-horsepower 3.2-liter straight-six generating 236 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. 

Road & Track took the V70 for a speed test, and the wagon clocked 7.3 seconds at 0-60 mph distance, finishing the quarter-mile run at 15.6 seconds while traveling at 92.3 mph. 

The 2008 V70’s interior design focused on functionality and quality. It has enough cargo space to satisfy owners who frequently transport large items. Additionally, Volvo's commitment to safety is evident in the V70, which includes a suite of safety features and a solid safety record. 

Some wagons are, admittedly, sportier and more luxurious, but the 2008 V70 won’t let down customers who prioritize safety, reliability, and practicality in a family-oriented vehicle. 

13. 2015 Chevrolet Impala

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 6.8 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $8,981–$24,995
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $11,260–$16,004
2015 Chevrolet Impala.

The 2015 Chevrolet Impala is a full-size sedan with a combination of style, comfort, and modern technology. It's available with a choice of engines, including a fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder producing a humble 196 horsepower and a more potent 3.6-liter V6. 

The latter makes 305 horses, sending the Impala hurtling from rest to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. The 4-cylinder powerplant can manage that distance in 7.7 seconds, but it offers a compelling consolation price – a fuel-saving stop/start feature

The 2015 Impala showcases a comfortable and composed ride with a focus on smooth and quiet driving dynamics. It's a practical and family-friendly choice for those seeking a spacious and well-equipped sedan with a touch of contemporary design. 

12. 2017 Kia Optima

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 6.8 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $6,997–$22,769
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $11,196–$14,949
2017 Kia Optima.

The 2017 Kia Optima is a midsize sedan that stands out for its value, modern design, and wide range of features. For propulsion power, the 2014 Optima relied on fuel-efficient four-cylinders and a turbocharged option for gearheads seeking more power. 

The base 2.4-liter engine makes 192 horsepower, while the turbocharged 2.0-liter variant delivers 274 horsepower to the front wheels via a shiftable 6-speed automatic transmission. The turbo-4 sends the 2017 Optima SX from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 6.8 seconds, shaving a respectable 1.6 seconds off the standard 8.4. 

Additionally, the interior features user-friendly technology, including an available infotainment system with an intuitive touchscreen. This car presents a strong value proposition, offering a lot of features and space for its price. 

11. 2001 BMW Z3

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 6.7 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $5,999–$29,999
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $7,268–$11,855
2001 BMW Z3.

The 2001 BMW Z3 is a compact two-seat sports car that offers a blend of classic roadster styling and engaging driving dynamics. The Z3’s range of inline-six-cylinder engines delivers strong performance and a satisfying exhaust note. 

They range in power from the 2.5i Roadster 2D capable of 184 horsepower and waking to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, to the 3.0i Roadster 2D, with 225 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds. Besides performance, the Z3 features a driver-focused interior with a simple, elegant design and a manual soft-top that can be lowered for open-air driving. 

This car is famous for its nimble handling, precise steering, and balanced chassis, delivering a spirited and fun-to-drive experience. While it may lack the modern amenities of newer BMW models like the 2024 X1, the Z3 remains a popular choice for enthusiasts who appreciate a classic and pure sports car experience. 

10. 2010 Lexus ES 350

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 6.5 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $4,985–$18,995
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $8,321–$9,886
2010 Lexus-ES_350.

The 2010 Lexus ES 350 is a popular midsize luxury sedan known for its smooth and comfortable ride, high-quality interior, and class-leading reliability. This model uses a 3.5-liter V6 engine sending a spirited 272 horsepower to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. 

This powertrain ensures the ES350 is a very well-behaved luxury sedan capable of revving to 6,400 rpm and rolling from a standstill to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds while traveling at 197 mph. 

The ES 350’s interior is reputably well-appointed, boasting top-notch materials and a wealth of comfort and technology features. With this car, Lexus emphasizes a quiet and plush ride, making it an excellent choice for long-distance cruising. 

Related Reading: Here Are 10 Of The Fastest Sports Cars Under $10K

9. 2017 Kia Soul

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 6.5 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $5,500–$18,988
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $11,006–$12,638
2017 Kia Soul Turbo.

The Kia Soul compact crossover stands out for its distinctive design, affordability, and practicality. Its range of four-cylinder engines offers a balance between fuel efficiency and performance. For the 2017 model year, the Kia Soul used a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine as its base powerplant, mating it to a 6-speed manual gearbox and optional A/T to generate a humble 131 horsepower. 

Moving up the trim levels to the Soul + model, you get a 2.0-liter version that makes an updated but still humble 161 horsepower while married to a 6-speed automatic transmission. 

However, things get a lot more soul-ish with the Exclaim (!) trim, rocking a turbo version of the 1.6-liter option mated to a 4- or 7-speed dual-clutch A/T to deliver an impressive 201 horsepower and helping the Soul make 60 mph in 6.5. 

The Kia Soul’s unique boxy shape provides ample interior space and cargo capacity, making it a versatile choice for a compact vehicle. Additionally, Kia refined the suspension to better soak up road imperfections. 

8. 2013 Acura ILX

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 6.4 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $8,500–$19,000
  • KBB Fair Market Price Range: $9,275–$11,342
2013 Acura ILX.

The 2013 Acura ILX compact luxury sedan offers a blend of style, technology, and performance. It comes with a choice of naturally aspirated engines, including a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder producing 150 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and a more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower at 7,000 rpm in the sportier model. 

Mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, this engine manages to propel the ILX from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds. With a budget ranging from just $8,500 to $19,000, you can buy a 2013 Acura ILX with 48,000 to 163,000 miles on the odometer via TrueCar auto listing today. 

Besides performance, that money gets you an upscale interior with advanced tech like dual-zone automatic climate control and a user-friendly infotainment system. 

7. 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 6.1 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $7,499–$29,950
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $7,879–$8,173
1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500.

The 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500 is a luxurious convertible sports car known for its powerful performance and sophisticated design. Unlike the others on this list so far, the SL500 cradled a 5.0-liter V8 engine under its hood. This engine could turn over an easy 302 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, propelling the 1999 SL500 Roadster 2D from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. 

Step up to the SL600 Roadster 2D of the same model year, and its 389-horsepower 6.0-liter V12 shaves off 0.9 seconds to complete the 0–60 mph acceleration time in just 5.9 seconds. The V12-powered SL600 is a tough find, and the SL500 isn’t exactly everywhere you look. 

At least, they’re not as expensive as they are scarce these days, with their prices ranging from $7,499 to $29,950 on TrueCar, with their mileage as low as 37,166. The 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500’s retractable hardtop allows for open-top driving when desired. It's a classic Mercedes-Benz model that continues to be admired for its timeless elegance and dynamic driving characteristics. 

6. 2003 Jaguar XJR

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.9 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $5,700–$10,878
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $6,435
2003 Jaguar_XJR_X350_4.2_litre_Supercharged,_Black Pinback66 via Wikimedia.

The 2003 Jaguar XJR is a high-performance luxury sedan that embodies the British brand's reputation for style and power. It is powered by a 370-horsepower supercharged 4.2-liter V8 engine generating 387 lb-ft of torque for a robust performance. 

Besides the premium interior, the XJR combined sports car-like handling with a comfortable and elegant ride. That’s not a recipe you see every day in the luxury sedan segment. 

5. 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.6 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $8,786–$13,999
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $4,719
2003-2005 Dodge_SRT4 IFCAR via Wikimedia.

The 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4 is a high-performance compact sedan that made a name for itself in the world of sporty, budget-friendly cars. It used a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that inspired spirited acceleration and excellent power-to-weight ratio. 

The engine made 215 horsepower at 5,400 rpm, propelling the car from rest to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. It finished the quarter-mile sprint in 14.2 seconds while traveling at 102 mph. The ‘03 Neon’s straightforward interior focused on the essentials without extravagant luxury features. 

It was celebrated for its sharp handling and nimble chassis, which complemented its distinct sporty appearance and aggressive styling cues. This model has a strong following among enthusiasts who appreciate its robust turbocharged engine and responsive driving dynamics. 

4. 2007 Ford Mustang

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.2 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $5,000–$88,888
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $6,775–$7,919
2007_Ford_Mustang_V8_Auto Calreyne88 via Wikimedia.

The 2007 Ford Mustang is an iconic American muscle car known for its powerful performance and classic design. For the 2007 model year, Mustang customers had three engine choices split between V6 and V8 options, ranging from a 4.0-liter V6 producing 210 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque to a 4.6-liter V8 producing 300 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque to a 500-hp 5.4-liter V8 producing 480 lb-ft of torque. 

The 4.6-liter V8 could power the GT model from rest to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, finishing the quarter-mile run 13 while traveling at 113 mph. Mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, the V6 achieved the same feat during an independent speed test in 5.2 seconds, which isn’t bad at all in the world of regular fast cars. 

The 2007 Mustang is an affordable sports car loved for its heritage and appeal to enthusiasts who appreciate the combination of performance, style, and a sense of nostalgia. 

3. 2008 Audi S6

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.1 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $9,499–$18,888
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $8,167
2008 Audi S6.

The 2008 Audi S6 is a high-performance sports sedan that combines luxury and high horsepower. It is equipped with a 5.2-liter V10 engine borrowed from the Lamborghini Gallardo. Although this robust Lambo power mill made slightly reduced power in the Audi S6, it nonetheless helped the car deliver impressive acceleration and a captivating exhaust note. 

The ‘08 S6’s naturally aspirated V10 powerplant could make a massive 435 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, with a 6-speed automatic transmission routing that power to the AWD system via a Torsen limited-slip differential. 

The slightly reduced horsepower is thanks to Lambo’s lighter weight and the S6’s need for increased torque in the mid-range. The transmission featured Tiptronic automanual shift paddles behind the steering wheel. Inside the 2008 S6’s upscale cabin, you have Audi’s MMI infotainment system included. 

2. 2012 Audi S5

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 4.9 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $8,988–$21,993
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $15,316–$16,291
2012 Audi S5.

The 2012 Audi S5 is a high-performance luxury coupe (also available as a convertible) that seamlessly blends power, style, and sophistication. Its V8 engine assured potent acceleration and a sonorous exhaust note. Yes, Audi ditched the Gallardo’s V10 in favor of a 4.2-liter V8 good for 354 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. 

It was enough to send the coupe hurtling from static to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, while the convertible model made the distance in 5.3 thanks to a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 mill. A 6-speed manual transmission was standard, and a 6-speed automatic with manual control was optional. 

Audi lavished the S5's interior with premium materials such as leather upholstery and advanced technology, including Audi's MMI infotainment system. The 2012 S5 also benefitted from Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. This model has become an icon in the Audi lineup for its blend of dynamic driving and high-end features. 

1. 2003 Audi RS6

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 4.6 Seconds
  • Used Pricing: $6,356–$9579
  • KBB Fair Purchase Price: $14,531
2003 Audi RS6.

The Audi RS6 high-performance sports sedan represents the pinnacle of Audi's performance-oriented models. The 2003 RS6’s motivation came from a 4.2-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that made a remarkable 450 horsepower at 5,700 rpm. Enthusiasts celebrate this car for its tremendous power and all-wheel-drive system. 

The V8 propelled it to 60 mph in a breezy 4.6 seconds, the quarter-mile in 12.63 at 108.64 mph. While the 2023 Audi RS6 Avant Performance achieves same feat in just 3.2 seconds, a clean '03 RS6 can be yours for just $8,912 versus the Avant Performance’s manufacturer-suggested retail price (MSRP) of $121,900. 

Sources: KBB, TrueCar, JD Power, Edmunds

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