The Under $30,000 Club: What Fun Ride Would You Park in Your Garage?

Now that the Toyobaru twins have arrived on our shores, it's a good time to be an enthusiast. The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ add to the multitude of enthusiast-friendly cars that can be had for under $30,000, including the Ford Mustang V-6, Hyundai Genesis coupe, Mazda MX-5 Miata, and the VW GTI. So just because there isn't enough money in the piggy bank to get a Mercedes AMG or BMW M car, these cheap thrills prove that all hope is not lost for a racy set of wheels. The hard part is deciding which one you would pick.

The 200-hp Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ can be had for $24,930 and $26,245, respectively. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec, which puts out 274 hp, starts at $27,375, while the refreshed Ford Mustang V-6 cranks out 305 horses for $22,995. The decision gets even harder when you consider the Mazda Miata drop-top, the benchmark for cheap sports cars, thrown in the mix. The esteemed roadster starts at $24,245.

Don't forget about front-drive cars like the Honda Civic Si, which can be had in two- and four-door forms for $23,145 -- add $200 for the sedan. Then there's the Volkswagen GTI that's offered as a two- and four-door hatchback for $24,765 and $600 more for the larger variant. Then there's the Mini Cooper S hatch, which costs $23,800.

If you had to buy a fun car under the $30,000 threshold, which of these would you park in your garage?

g376mt
I own a 2012 Si. Really enjoy it, great snarl, better torque than last gen. Weakpoints: tires. Rev overhang isn't a big deal. Joy to drive relaxed but it shines when flogged and still returns 28mpg real-world. Safe. Best gearbox in the biz (or one of the best). I am, however, very intrigued by the new Focus RS. Love the GTI but can't take the leap of faith with it's less than stellar reliability. Ideally would own a Miata but I need 4 doors.
Doug
I'd have to vote for the new Ford Focus RS. We already own a 2012 Focus, had it one year, and love the car. It handles and rides beautifully. It is fun to drive, roomy and gives great gas milage. We're signed up to test drive the RS once it comes to the dealers and can imagine swapping up. With 252HP and a six speed manual, sports suspension, it has to be fantastic. It looks great in the on line pictures and the Europeans are already raving about it. Who needs to be seen in something so common as a BMW when you can have really unique sports sedan.
usnidc
I would get the Mazdaspeed3 that starts at $24,000.
Tim
First! Just left my VW dealership this morning and I was taken aback by a great looking beetle turbo. It was red with black trim, spoiler, 18's, 6 speed. All for $24,500. It was right next to a red GTI two door. It made the GTI look plain. I never thought I'd say a beetle for a fun car, but I'm saying a beetle for a fun car!
marcos
"Then there’s the Volkswagen GTI that’s offered as a two- and four-door hatchback for $24,765 and $600 more for the larger variant".... but....is not larger!!!!!!!!!
Stanger
I don't think it's even close - the Mustang wins in every category. The 2013 Mustang has taken the best of the modern/retro styling of the last few years, and has yet again raised the design bar even higher. Really the most important thing here though is the horsepower - which at 305 makes the answer to the fun question a no-brainer. The Mustang will out handle most, if not all of the cars on this list too. It's even possible to get the 420 HP Mustang GT for under $30,000 - if you get the base model without any options.
DSG Fart
GTI...wait I already have one parked in my garage :)

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