If you’re looking for an everyday driver that isn’t completely boring and gives you a bit of a thrill when driving to your soul sucking job, you’ve probably looked into sport sedans. They’re the best of both worlds. Performance generally associated with low-slung coupes and hot hatches, but the space of your standard grocery getter sedan. Whether it’s the Chevy SS, Kia’s Stinger GT, or vape nation’s choice, the Subaru WRX, everyone has a favorite. You’re probably forgetting about quite a few that fit your sport driving needs though.
This list is going to consist of cars you can find on the used market. While you can obviously pick some of these up new, the prices are going to be significantly higher. Plus, we’re the Average Car Enthusiast. Buying used/pre-owned instead of new is pretty much the average.
1 – Volkswagen Jetta GLI (MK 5 & Early MK 6, 2006-2011)
This first one is a prime example of why we’re aiming at used instead of new. While Volkswagen still produces the GLI, there is no longer an option for a manual transmission. Yes, VW’s dual-clutch transmission is no slouch, but it doesn’t provide the same smiles per gallon as rowing through the gears yourself. Plus, the new ones cost well over $10K, so that would immediately disqualify them.
The GLI is definitely one of the more underrated sport sedans on the market. It’s not as popular as it’s hot hatch brother, but it actually has very similar performance to Volkswagen’s GTI. The MK 5 will get you from 0-60 in about the mid-six to low seven second range, while the early MK models push you there in about six seconds flat. Along with the GTIish speed specs, the GLI came with firm sport suspension (similar to the GTI), allowing it to pick up speed relatively easily while also shredding through corners on back country roads. It matches the same formula as the GTI, but in the more “mature” family sedan platform.
2 – Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V (2nd Gen, 2007-2012)
The Spec V is no stranger to our lists. The first generation of the Spec V found itself on our list of Four Fun & Affordable Four-Bangers that Newer Enthusiasts Often Overlook, and now the final generation finds ends up here. There’s a reason that its on here too, and it isn’t only because they are cheap…
The second and final generation of the Spec V was the epitome of what a performance Sentra should be (until the 2017 release of the Sentra NISMO anyway…). It came standard with a 2.5L four cylinder engine (mated to a six-speed manual transmission) putting out at 200hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. It wasn’t a powerhouse like the 350Z or 370Z, but what it lacked in power, it made up for with precise handling. The Spec V came standard with improved independent suspension and larger brakes, allowing for a better handling Sentra than any other available trim.
Along with the performance, you also get a damn good looking interior, with that sexy red on black look. It didn’t just perform better than every other Sentra, but it also looked the part. Yea, that part isn’t more important than performance, but it sure looks f@#king cool!
3 – Chevrolet Caprice PPV (6th Gen, 2009-2013)
Do you want a V8 sedan that may or may not have been used in a high speed police chase? If so, then do I have good news for you! With police forces across the United States upgrading their fleets, their older Caprice police interceptors are going to dealer auctions and ending up on used car lots.
These Chevy Caprices are based on the Holden Caprice and comes outfitted with either Holden’s 6.0L V8 engine (362hp and 391 lb-ft of torque) or the 3.6L V6 (281hp and 258 lb-ft of torque). Either engine is gonna be great in a rwd sedan, but obviously hunt around for the V8. There’s no manual transmission, as it was a police car first and foremost, but the six speed automatic transmission in the later models gets the job done well enough.
The 6.0 liter propels this car from 0-60 in around 5.6 seconds, putting it around the same speed times as the Dodge Charger during the same time frame. I don’t know the numbers for the V6, and I don’t really think anyone would really care about that anyway. No replacement for displacement and all that.
4 – Saab 9-2x Aero (Only Generation, 2005-2006)
This is a pretty good example of a sport sedan that tends to fly under the radar. Well, it’s technically a wagon, but f@#k it, I’m gonna count it. This also just happens to be the only way to drive a Subaru WRX without looking like, what some would call, a “vape sucking douchebag.” Don’t take that too personal, Subaru guys. I’m also a vape sucking, Subaru driving douchebag.
That’s right, the 9-2x Aero is really nothing more than a WRX with a Swedish makeover. You get all of the performance of the WRX, but a redesigned body that made it look just a smidgen closer to the rest of Saab’s lineup. And while the body might have just enough slight modifications to make it less like a Subaru, you’ll know exactly what it is if you’ve ever seen a WRX wagon before, as it wasn’t a complete change.
It performs exactly the way you’d expect it to; exactly the same as the WRX. It gets from 0-60 in around 6.1 seconds and has incredibly sharp handling, allowing it to tear up the street the same as it’s inevitably riced out sister car. And that’s before all the aftermarket parts you could improve your lap times with. Since it shares mostly the same mechanical parts as the WRX from the corresponding year (with a few exceptions) you’ll be able to modify your car into being the best performing Saab on the road.
There are obviously more sport sedans out there than just these four, but these are my personal picks for the price point. If you have other ones in mind for under $10K, let us know down in the Facebook comments.
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