There are a couple of ways to make a car go fast. Either you can put a massive engine under the hood, like a Dodge Charger Hellcat, or you can put the car on a diet, reducing the amount of weight that the engine needs to propel.
Some of the best sports cars in the market follow the latter option, trading extra ounces for quicker acceleration and lithe handling. In fact, if you make a car light enough, even a small engine can provide an excellent driving experience.
On the following slides, we explore some of the best lightweight sports cars you can buy today. The average new car weighed 4,035 pounds in the model of the year, according to the EPA; all of the cars on this list weigh less. We’ve left the exotics out, focusing on mainstream models that range from super-affordable to just slightly outrageous. You can compare them head to head in our new car rankings, and find great deals on some of them on our car deals page.
2,332 lbs | $24,915 (Details Below)
When you see that the Mazda Miata’s engine only produces 155 horsepower, you might think that there’s no fun to be had. Of course, you would be horribly mistaken. The Miata’s light weight, exceptional balance, and excellent suspension tuning make it hard to beat at any price.
You can get into a 2,332-pound 2018 Mazda Miata soft top with a manual transmission for $24,915. That’s a great price for a sports car, and the Miata’s weight is well below the average weight of a new car, which is around 4,000 pounds.
An automatic transmission is available, but if you want to wring the best performance out of the roadster, you’ll want to stick with the manual. Mazda recently introduced a retractable fastback (RF) version of the Miata with a retractable hardtop roof, giving drivers an all-season alternative to the soft top.
The Miata holds a spot atop both our rankings of sports cars and our rankings of convertibles.