Used Cars – High Performance Models Under $20K

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Used Cars - High Performance Models Under $20KHere is the criteria for vehicles making this list of the 8-best used high performance sports cars available for under $20K:

  • They must be readily available in the continental U.S.
  • They must be a 2000 model or later.
  • They must be able to achieve 0 to 60 mph in 6.5-seconds or less.
  • Of course, they must be available for $20k OR LESS.

1997 – 2004 Chevrolet Corvette C5

2004 Chevrolet CorvetteThe Chevrolet Corvette is the stuff of little car enthusiast’s dreams. The truth is that this dream can become a reality for $20K or less. It comes in coupe and convertible variations and has a big old honking V8 engine with your choice of an automatic or manual transmission.

0 to 60 times:

  • 1998 Corvette: 4.8 seconds.
  • 2004 Corvette Z06: 4.2 seconds

2003-2011 Ford Mustang GT

2011 Ford Mustang GTThe Ford Mustang is often credited with being the first muscle car. Whatever your opinion, you can’t argue that this particular batch of Mustang GTs has a ton of curb appeal and they are more fun to drive than a barrel of monkeys. The last stock Mustang GT that I tested was a 2003 and it bolted from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.6-seconds.

2009 Dodge Challenger R/T

2009 Dodge Challenger RTAnother retro-muscle car, the Challenger is loaded with aesthetic appeal and plenty of muscle. A giant 57-liter HEMI provides the muscle and the car is available with either a manual or automatic transmission. This car looks low, mean, and muscular and looks ain’t deceiving. It can rocket from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2-seconds.

2004 – 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STi

2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STiThis imported sports car was available as a coupe in earlier model (1995 – 2000) versions but later models were offered only as a sedan . At any rate, it is equipped with a turbocharged 4-cylinder that really makes the hay. The 2008 Impreza WRX STi can achieve 0 to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds.

2000 – 2008 Honda S2000

2008 Honda S2000As the first roadster on the list, the Honda S2000 is more than capable of hanging in there on the curviest of roads. With a long front end and an athletic stance, the S2000 provides smooth and ample performance for less than $20K. The S2000 can blast from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

2002 – 2008 Nissan 350Z

2008 Nissan 350ZLike the flagship model GT-R, the Nissan 350z uses the legendary 3.5-liter VQ engine. This is also a retro-car of sorts as it pays homage to the iconic 240, 280, and 300 Z-Cars of old. The cabin is a little cramped and there is not a lot of room for cargo but this thing will corner like it is on rails and accelerate like a demon (when equipped with the manual transmission). The 350Z is capable of reaching 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.

2010 – 2012 Chevrolet Camaro

2012 Chevrolet CamaroThe Camaro has been called “the poor man’s Corvette” but it has recently become a performer in its own right. With a 300+ horsepower base package V6 engine and a low center of gravity, the Camaro is as much of a road car as it is a muscle car.  The 0 to 60 time, with a V6 engine and manual transmission is 4.9 seconds.

2006 – 2011 Dodge Charger R/T

2011 Dodge Charger RTThis is the sedan-sister of the Challenger R/T. If you like your high performance with four-doors, this is the hot rod for you. It also comes with the 370hp 5.7-liter HEMI engine and this is a family car that really “pick ‘em up and put ‘em down.” 0 to 60 is accomplished in 5.2-seconds.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.