Need to keep close watch over your budget but want an attractive car that's exciting to drive? There are many good choices, but be sure to consider the whole picture over several years of ownership. Just insurance, fuel costs, routine maintenance, and a few repairs over five years can exceed the car’s initial sticker price. And at trade-in, your vehicle will only be worth a fraction of its original price.
The rest of the ownership costs typically rise with the sticker price. The Porsche 911 Turbo, for example, costs nearly $130k new but is expected to lose close to $80k of that value after just five years. The $21,750 Mazda MX-5 Miata SV -- one of our Cheapest Sports Cars to Own -- will lose about $11,400. All ownership costs considered, the 911 Turbo costs more than $192k while the Miata costs less than $36k.
We relied on Vincentric LLC cost-of-ownership data, as offered at AOL Autos to produce this list of frugal and fast choices. Vincentric researches and predicts these associated costs to produce an estimate over several years of ownership. Looking for Vincentric’s lowest five-year costs of ownership, here are 15 sports cars and performance models that add some driving excitement without financial ruin.
Scion tC

Scion tC

Base Coupe
MSRP: $17,000
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 20/27 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $35,670

The Scion tC isn’t especially frisky, but its aggressive styling and coupe-only body style qualify it as a sports car. A full line of TRD performance accessories, available through Toyota and Scion dealerships, can spice up the tC’s look, sound, and performance tuner-crowd expectations.
Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5

SV Roadster
MSRP: $21,750
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 22/28 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $35,795

As most other open-air roadsters have moved upmarket, the Miata keeps it basic. Those who plan to enjoy the wind in their hair and have a blast without breaking speed limits will likely love this choice. Sheer simplicity is part of the MX-5 Miata's allure, and the numbers here show it.
MINI Cooper S

MINI Cooper S

2-Door Hatchback
MSRP: $21,950
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 26/34 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $36,710

The base Cooper is a responsive, fuel-efficient commuter, but the Cooper S has a more raucous, performance-focused character. Its affordable sticker price and impressive fuel economy help keep long-term costs low. So do low repair costs and insurance premiums, according to Vincentric.
Mitsubishi Eclipse

Mitsubishi Eclipse

GS Coupe
MSRP: $20,249
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 20/28 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $38,411

The Eclipse has a daring appearance that looks anything but practical. Yet the four-cylinder model is very cheap to own; compared to other sporty coupes, the Eclipse costs relatively little to repair, maintain, and insure over five years. Just don't expect much of an adrenaline rush.
Pontiac Solstice

Pontiac Solstice

Base Roadster
MSRP: $24,275
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 19/25 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $39,666

The Solstice has never been sensible -- it has virtually no stowage space -- but it's good looking and reasonably fun to drive. This model will be gone next year with the rest of Pontiac; and to those looking for a long-term collectible, look no further than the limited-edition Solstice Coupe.
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang

Base Coupe
MSRP: $20,995
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 18/26 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $40,098

Ford has given its pony car a slightly more svelte look for 2010, along with a host of improvements that improve the driving experience. It would probably take a Mustang enthusiast to tell the base V-6 model from the pricier V-8 GT models, yet the base models cost thousands less.
Hyundai Genesis

Hyundai Genesis

Base Coupe 2.0T
MSRP: $22,000
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 21/30 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $40,404

The rear-wheel-drive Genesis Coupe is an all-new affordable performance car. The turbo four makes 210 hp yet is good on gas. V-6 versions are also offered, as are Track versions for weekend racers. Resale value is projected to be quite good, and running costs should be low.
Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen GTI

Base Two-Door Hatchback
MSRP: $23,230
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 21/31 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $40,598

Over several decades, the GTI's formula hasn't changed: VW installs upgraded components in its conservative Rabbit (Golf) hatchback, and the result is a more exciting yet still affordable car. The GTI looks the part, too, with flashy wheels and dressed-up bodywork.
Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet Camaro

LS Coupe
MSRP: $22,245
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 17/29 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $41,495

The new Camaro has been overwhelmingly popular this year, but experts don't trust its staying power; the new Camaro is expected to be worth just 27 percent of its value after five years. Other costs with the Camaro's excellent 304-hp V-6 remain low, and there's really no need for a V-8.
Saturn Sky

Saturn Sky

Base Roadster
MSRP: $27,595
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 19/25 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $45,357

The Sky has more features and an upgraded interior compared to the nearly identical Pontiac Solstice, and sacrifices a lot of practicality for head-turning sports-car looks. Thanks to decent fuel economy and a relatively low insurance cost, it won't derail your budget.
Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

Four-Door Sedan
MSRP: $26,690
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 17/25 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $45,854

From just a few paces back, the Ralliart looks a lot like the economical Lancer GTS sedan that it's based on. But its 237-hp turbocharged engine, excellent six-speed Twin Clutch automated manual transmission, all-wheel drive and host of upgrades deliver satisfying performance.
Dodge Challenger

Dodge Challenger

SE Coupe
MSRP: $22,200
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 17/25 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $46,203

In its base SE trim, the Dodge Challenger has the same retro style and design cues as the powerful V-8 SRT8 models, but it costs half as much and you won't take as big of a blow from depreciation. Lower overall ownership costs make the V-6 the frugal pick that still looks exciting.
Mazda RX-8

Mazda RX-8

Base Four-Door Coupe
MSRP: $26,435
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 16/23 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $47,017

With an exotic rotary engine and a unique “four-door coupe” body style, the RX8 is an unlikely candidate for this list; but it's surprisingly affordable. Consider your fuel budget if you’re going to cover a lot of miles and beware the rotary engine has a heavy thirst for premium.
Subaru Impreza WRX

Subaru Impreza WRX

Four-Door Sedan
MSRP: $24,995
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 18/25 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $48,156

Subaru’s rally-inspired WRX, offered as a sedan or four-door hatchback, isn’t a sports car in the traditional sense, but to some enthusiasts it's the performance car of the decade. For 2009, the WRX got an upgraded 265-hp turbocharged engine and improved overall drivability.
Nissan 370Z

Nissan 370Z

Base Coupe
MSRP: $29,930
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Hwy): 18/26 mpg

Five-Year Cost Of Ownership: $52,112

Nissan completely redesigned its Z sports car for 2009, giving revamped styling plus a more powerful engine and improved handling. Although the 370Z is more expensive to insure than other cars on this list, low maintenance and repair costs make it an affordable true sports car.


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