2017 Subaru BRZ: $25,495

The Subaru BRZ will look familiar. It’s the sibling to the 2017 Toyota 86. From the exterior shape to the interior dash design and colors, the Subaru BRZ is almost the same car. However, it maintains bragging rights as the OG in the design – the Scion/Toyota came after.


Its powertrain is the same 6-speed manual transmission and 2.0-liter Boxer horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. It’s rear-wheel drive, and feels just the same as the Toyota 86 in virtually every aspect. But, if you’re a Subaru fan, this one is badged for you, and it’s about $700 less.

2018 Chevrolet Camaro 1LS: $25,905

The entry-level 2018 Chevrolet Camaro takes on a different attitude than in the past. What used to be a displacement-first model has been changed to a tuner-like powertrain, and that might not be a bad thing. It is a little at odds with the muscular design though.

While its curvy exterior screams about burning rubber, the interior says much less about performance and more about economy. The dash, console and door panels feel like chunky plastic. The 7-inch MyLink system is pretty good, but the buttons feel cheap. You’ll need to look at the LT trim and up for a better feel.

Performance is surprising for its tiny 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It makes 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and it’s 6-speed rower is pretty good considering the price point. Again, it’s a situation where you don’t want to try the higher trim levels first, or you’ll be disappointed in the 2018 Camaro LS.

2017 Nissan 370Z: $29,990

The design is getting long in the tooth and it’s due for a redesign. However, the 2017 Nissan 370Z coupe is still a pretty good value for the car. And it’s looking sharp with HID headlights and 18-inch black alloy wheels.

The orange glow inside the 370Z from its instruments and buttons look archaic to some, attractive to others. The dash-top pod gauges could be done away with, but otherwise the interior is still great. Comfortable seating, push-button start, auto climate control and a solid sound system are part of the value in the 370Z.

Laying into the pedal is where the Z really shows its colors. It feels like a European car in the way it handles. The 3.7-liter V6 makes 332 horsepower and the close-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox feels crisp – much better than most others among these affordable sports cars. Toeing the $30k mark, the 370Z is a good choice, but would be even better with a revamp.

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