Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, and more have solid options available
March 11, 2023 at 15:35
by Stephen Rivers
Japanese sports cars had an incredible decade from 1990 through 1999. That entire decade left us with almost instant classics that hold their value incredibly well. With that in mind, we wonder which is best for those on a budget. Show us the best 1990s affordable Japanese sports cars for $20,000 or less.
This list might have a much bigger pool to choose from if it was mid-2019. Back then, prices were considerably lower across the used market. Today, many of the cars that we might have considered underappreciated back then are selling for as much if not more than when they were new. Nevertheless, we think there are some worthy candidates for this QOTD.
First off is the Nissan 300ZX. Not only does it house a robust powertrain but it’s got a classic style that other automotive enthusiasts immediately recognize. In fact, it’s such a classic that the new Z has some design elements that directly call back to it.
More: This 1992 Mazda Miata Wants To Be A Japanese Mini Ferrari 250 GTO
Another good option is the Toyota MR2. Sure, it’ll be harder to find under budget but it’s a proper mid-engine sports car with cool styling. It also might end up being the best of its kind unless Toyota surprises us with another one in the near future.
A rarer JDM import could end up being the dark horse here though. For example, the Honda Beat is a cool-looking little mid-engine kei car with gobs of personality, a low price tag, and likely long-term value.
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Really though, to us at least, it’s incredibly hard to find a car that’s objectively better for this challenge than a Mazda Miata. Somewhat shockingly, low-mileage examples of the classic Japanese roadster will run you right up to and over our budget. Thankfully, less-pristine examples can still be had well below $10,000.
Those are what we think the best picks for a 1990s Japanese sports car under $20,000 are. Did we miss one that should be here? Let us know what you think is best in the comment section below and be sure to vote for your favorites too!