Top 10 Affordable Rear-Wheel-Drive Cars

Top 10 Affordable Rear-Wheel-Drive Cars

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and California are armed with a legislative battleaxe and they’re bringing it to bear against the automotive industry. Fuel economy regulations are hitting like a war hammer, disrupting the market and crushing carmakers. In a mad dash to meet upcoming CAFE standards, manufacturers are dramatically shifting their product offerings. Downsized vehicles, hybrid drivetrains and diesel engines are some of the tools in their defensive arsenals.

SEE ALSO: Why Front-Wheel-Drive Cars Are More Efficient

One unfortunate victim of this efficiency stampede is rear-wheel drive. Slowly but surely, over the past 30 years, automakers have made the switch to front-drive, a layout that’s more economical in a number of ways. But not everyone is content driving a Nissan Sentra, or getting by in a minivan. For enthusiasts who care about performance, rear-wheel drive is king, but it’s a monarch that’s under siege. Keeping the dream alive, here’s a list of the Top 10 (reasonably) affordable RWD cars on the market today. Act fast before they’re gone in a puff of tire smoke.

2017 Chevrolet SS

GM has been back in the rear-wheel-drive, large sedan segment for a few years now. Their lust-worthy Pontiac G8 may be a distant memory, but The General is not deterred by its market failure. The curiously named SS (Is it a ship? Is it the Nazi Schutzstaffel? We kid, we kid!) packs a fire-breathing 6.2-liter V8 engine that delivers 415 horsepower with an equal measure of torque. Throw a six-speed automatic transmission into the mix and this car should be able to scamper from a standstill to 60 miles an hour in about five seconds; a manual with the same number of ratios is also offered. Unfortunately, all of this creamy goodness does not come cheap. Base price including shipping and handling as well as the gas-guzzler tax is nearly $49,000! Also, you’d better act fast as this car is going to be discontinued by the end of 2017, which makes us sadder than a clown with no face paint, but what can you do?

2017 Nissan 370Z

2016 Nissan 370Z

Now, let’s depart Detroit and head across the Pacific toward Japan, an island nation teetering on the Eastern fringe of Asia. It’s home to origami, sushi and, oddly enough, rear-wheel drive. One true-blue performance machine to come from this country is Nissan’s Z car, a well-respected thoroughbred that’s nearly as old as the Ford Mustang. Today’s iteration is the 370Z. As its name implies, it’s powered by a 3.7-liter V6 engine. It belts out 332 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The fancy NISMO model is even more potent, delivering 350 ponies! Either way you slice it, this car can be had with either a quick-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission or a tried-and-true six-gear manual. For all you bargain hunters out there, base price is around $30,000, which isn’t too bad.

2017 Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger

Dodge Charger Chrysler 300

Next up, a duet of large sedans, and a vehicular class that used to be a staple of the American roadscape. Unfortunately, the traditional rear-wheel-drive, full-size car is an endangered species today. But continuing the tradition and proudly waving the banner for both Mopar fans and auto enthusiasts alike are the popular LX cars. The Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger are exciting offerings from Auburn Hills. They’re available with a wide variety of engines ranging from a smooth-running Pentastar V6 to a 707-horsepower supercharged Hemi V8 in the Charger Hellcat. Who says you can’t have fun and be (reasonably) responsible?

2017 Dodge Challenger

2016 Dodge Challenger

Getting some mileage out of its rear-wheel-drive architecture, Chrysler also builds the Dodge Challenger on a modified version of its LX platform. This Pentastar pony car is perfect for doing smokey burnouts and getting sideways. Like the Charger and 300, it’s offered with a variety of different engines ranging from a base V6 to a hopped-up Hemi. As you’d expect – and as there should be – a manual transmission is available. The Challenger starts at about $28,000, which gets you a 305-horse stable and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

2017 Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ


When it comes to affordable fun it’s hard to beat the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins. These sporty rear-wheel-drive coupes are a modern take on a classic formula. With these cars, engineers made driving dynamics a top priority, and it shows. They’re both about as much fun as you can have for around 27 grand. Any more would probably be illegal in the lower 48 states. Both of them are powered by a 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine that delivers 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque when paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission; automatic-equipped models are slightly less muscular.

2017 BMW 2 Series


Next up, the BMW 2 Series. This little coupe is responsive, refined and most importantly, rear-drive. In base 230i form, it’s motivated by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s good for 248 horses and 258 lb-ft of torque. You can also nab a ridiculously smooth force-fed inline six with 335 ponies and 369 lb-ft on tap. All-wheel drive is also on the menu. Upping the fun factor, a six-speed manual transmission is offered, as is an eight-speed automatic. Base price is around 34 large, including delivery fees. #Bargain? #HellYeah!

2017 Mazda MX-5

2016 Mazda MX-5

Mazda’s MX-5 Miata is probably the most iconic roadster ever built. It combines fun, efficiency and, more importantly, reliability in a compact, lightweight package. Of course, it’s also rear-wheel drive and is available with a manual transmission. In the hands of a skilled driver, this affordable droptop can slice through corners with the speed and elegance of a samurai katana. This car was all new for 2016 and sports a significant weight loss that makes its modest 155 horses extremely effective. The Miata starts at around $25,000.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

Chevy sells a pretty popular model in the pony-car segment; perhaps you’ve heard of it. The Camaro is the bow tie’s affordable hooligan, and it’s happy to smoke its tires clear across any unsuspecting parking lot. Buyers can opt for an efficient turbo-four, a screaming V6, a naturally aspirated Small Block or even a supercharged V8 in the Camaro ZL1. Making dreams come true, a full complement of transmissions is also available: read automatic and manual, plus the car is even offered as a convertible. What’s not to love? Even the price is most agreeable, kicking off in the 27-grand range.

2017 Ford Mustang

2016 Ford Mustang

Credit goes to Ford for inventing the pony car segment when it introduced the Mustang in 1964. This long and low two-door struck a chord with young people growing up in the flower-power period, and America’s youth has snapped ‘em up by the truckload ever since. The car has provided five decades of delinquent rear-wheel-drive behavior and it shows no sign of stopping. The company nailed it when they introduced Mustang all those years ago, and fortunately the car has stayed true to those roots. A decent V6 serves as the entry-level engine, while a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder is optional. Capping off the “normal” Mustang range is a silky smooth 5.0-liter V8, which delivers up to 435 horsepower. Naturally, special-editions of this car are even more muscular; the Shelby GT350 pushes out 526 ponies!

2017 smart fortwo

2016 smart fortwo

Bet you didn’t expect to see a smart car on this list, but believe it or not, Daimler’s little runabout is actually rear-wheel drive. It also features an aft-mounted engine, just like the Porsche 911. But that’s where the similarities between these two vehicles end. Zuffenhausen’s legendary sports car is just that, an automotive icon, but the smart is anything but. The previous version was abominable, with a driving experience that bordered on infuriating. Fortunately, the car is all new for 2016. It’s grown in width and sophistication, and most importantly its repugnant automated manual transmission has been exorcised. In its place is either a dual-clutch self-shifter or a five-speed manual, either of which are worlds better. A new sub-1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine puts out 89 horses and 100 lb-ft of torque, which give this little runabout surprising squirt. If nothing else, the 2017 smart fortwo is worth a test drive.

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  • smartacus

    Thank You for completing your irrelevance to automotive journalism, Cole.  

    -Every last automotive ignoramus knows it’s an automated manual and not an automatic with a torque converter (if you don’t believe me, i defy you to ask ANY high-school cheerleader and undocumented worker)

    -Its “substandard fuel economy” is only the best non-hybrid non-diesel fuel economy for the last 5 years strong.

  • Hubert

    That’s a bit harsh and you’re a douche. Great article, but I don’t get it, why don’t the pictures in the tiles don’t line up with the cars. doesnt makesense.

  • smartacus

    Don’t misunderstand; I’m second to none in being happy for your considering me a “douche” 🙂
    But the author indeed lost his journalistic objectivity, thereby reflecting negatively on AUTOGUIDE. 

    Single unfortunate sentences or paragraphs have always been the proverbial “kiss of death” to many young aspiring people before and he won’t be the last to be let go for a hotheaded mistake.

    It’s part of the game.

  • Andy Milonakis

    Which sentence are you referring to?

  • Traditionally, “SS” at Chevrolet tends to stand for “Super Sport.” In this case, it might be understood to mean either that, “Sport Sedan,” or even both.

    Or was Mr. Cole making a funny? 🙂

  • smartacus

    Hi Andy Milonakis,
       on page 11; he calls it an automatic transmission when he knows full well it is not.  It is clearly a manual transmission in a vehicle without enough room for clutch pedal linkage. 
    He also tells us it has “substandard fuel economy”  when he is in complete knowledge that what he just wrote is exactly opposite of any reality or hallucination.  It has only the best non-hybrid and non-diesel economy in the USA for the last 5 years.

          Because his other articles are conveniently available for everyone to see,  it unfortunately becomes an inescapable and irrefutable fact that indeed he did not make an honest mistake.  He did know better, yet chose to MISINFORM. 

  •  I think AutoGuide must have edited the slideshow since you posted. They’re lining up for me.

  •  Okay, I’ll spot you the “worst car on the road today” opinion, as that’s certainly debatable.

    However, on fuel economy, I think a great deal depends on whose figures one accepts. The EU rates the smart fortwo at a combined city/highway fuel economy of 50 miles per (US) gallon, but the US EPA only rates it at a combined 36 miles per (US) gallon.

    The Chevy Spark gets 34 and spots you two extra seats and less NVH in the bargain. Sure, it’s front-wheel drive, but other than that, is one MPG per extra seat too much of a sacrifice?

  • smartacus

    Yep.  By your own reply; you are absolutely correct P.F.: It was categorically wrong for him to write “substandard fuel economy”  even when compared to a FWD Chevy Spark which has two extra seats.

     Imagine if he wrote an article describing the Spark as having “substandard fuel economy” because the Mazda5 has an extra row of seats, holds a ton more cargo, and tows a larger trailer.

    *He can write about worst car on the road today or  horrifying driving experience all he wants.  That’s still OK, that’s just personal opinion.  But once he crosses the line and starts writing non-truths about it- and then another non-truth; he loses that all important journalistic credibility that takes years to build up and minutes to lose, and razes the entire AUTOGUIDE down to nothing more than a blog that any valley girl can write.

  • Beauregard Jackson

    Can you people lay off? This whole line of discussion is absurd. While AutoGuide clearly would have escorted any other writer to the curb after such an egregious assault against the noble smart fortwo, Mr. Cole is a high-functioning mentally disabled person.

    I for one (by the way “forone” would be a fantastic name for a smart brand motorcycle) think the fine folks at AG should be offered a hearty handclasp for taking one of society’s whimpering castoffs into their employ. Before Cole rose up the ranks here at everyone’s favorite automotive informational website log, you would not have been surprised to find him swabbing the terracotta tiles or accidentally knocking over your Mr. Pibb at the local Long John Silvers.

    Making offputting Nazi references and calling an automated manual an “automatic”? These are not mere missteps or deliberate slights. This is the stuff of a disease-ravaged mind.

    So folks, I implore you to stop all your hand wringing and instead tip your hats to AutoGuide for taking one for the team. Be happy that this fellow is in his basement playing at being a journalist instead of outside of his van offering passersby bites of his fish sticks.

    P.S. – For all the hatred spewed haplessly by Cole and others about the smart transmission, I cannot bring myself to understand it. Having driven this four-wheeled wonder on multiple occasions, I find I quite like the sensation of a good sphincter clench, which is what happens each time you try to make a left turn through an intersection as the transmission pauses for a moment to shift into the next gear. Plus, my doctor tells me it’s good exercise for my heart. He’s a Ph. D. but still.

  •  That’s a pretty specious analogy. The smart fortwo and the Chevy Spark are both still in the “city car” class, regardless of number of seats, while the Mazda5 is a people carrier, for heaven’s sake. Now, if you are looking for a car you could almost fit INTO a Mazda5, it
    might be relevant to bring such an MPV up, but here it’s just one thing
    that’s not like the others.

    So now I’m going to pile on.

    The Scion iQ also is in the “city car” class, also has two extra seats (with the exception of the Japan-only 2-seat style), weighs 296 lb (134.55 kg) more, and gets 37 combined mpg as of 2012, according to

    The Spark, for reference, weighs 750-800 lb (340.91-363.64 kg) more, and gets, again, 34 mpg.

    Three cars. One class. The fortwo comes up short–and not just literally.

    But since you brought number of seats into it…

    The Chevrolet Spark, the Scion iQ, and the smart fortwo are all intended as zippy little city cars–but the Spark and the iQ have twice the capacity at nearly the same overall mileage, they have nearly twice the passenger miles per gallon when filled with people. And since city cars are designed for commuting, that is not at all unreasonable. Uncomfortable, maybe, but not unreasonable.

    Having looked at actual facts, I’m actually a lot MORE confident in Mr. Cole’s writing–and even his opinion of the quality of the smart fortwo–than I am in yours.

  • LOL!!! the smart  in first place!!! 370Z should be at least top three !!

  • This would make sense if the Mazda5 were in the same class of car, as the Chevy Spark and the smart fortwo are.

    Both the Spark and the smart fortwo are classified as city cars. The Mazda5 is an MPV.

  • smartacus

    I believe you meant to say ” This would make sense if the Spark were RWD”

      *feel free to re-read the title of the article where it mentions something about um… what’s it called again- 
    Oh yeah, Rear-Wheel-Drive Cars

  •  You don’t get to tell me what I meant to say. I said what I meant. I was comparing cars in the same class, regardless of drivetrain, and you weren’t. That the Spark is front-drive is immaterial for my comparison; it just means that the Spark didn’t qualify to be included in this article.

    FYI, neither would the front-drive Mazda5 (also available in four-wheel drive, but not rear-drive).

    So, snarkatus, please feel free to keep moving the goal posts, but you’re still going to fall short of the mark.

    You remain wrong.

  • smartacus

     Okaaaay so you meant what you said.

    Not only is Spark being front-drive NOT immaterial for your consumption comparison; in fact, it’s the most important aspect.

     At this time; I should introduce you to a brilliant discovery they call “physics”.
    Say it with me: fizix.  Very good!!  

    In this wonderful discipline “physics”  we find the axiom:

    Tomorrow, we learn about ” the birds and the bees”
                                                                           -snarkatus 😉

  • JT

    Scion IQ. 36 in town 37 on the highway. smart is 34/38. The IQ has 36.5 combined to smarts 36. Before you point out the smart has better highway MPG, lost of cars are rated at 38-40 on the highway. so no its not the best.

  • smartacus

    What do you mean lots of cars? 
    As in lots of cars that just came out in the last 16 months maybe?

    -And most of those wouldn’t even be around if it weren’t for three things:
    gas prices lifting off into orbit
    CAFE increases signed into law scheduled to start kicking in for 2016
    and seeing smart doing it.

    *For a Rear Wheel Drive car that was introduced way back in 2007 and is still the thriftiest non-hybrid non-diesel non-Geo… Not only is it incorrect to  say “it’s not the best”; but it’s incorrect to say “it’s one of the best”

  • John

    the  2013 Hyundai Elantra should be included with the most popular compact cars,much more reliable than the Caolla.

  • Alfred Bundy

    How can you not just LAUGH at anyone who drives a smart golf cart!  What a joke that is.  And I have a bridge to sell you if you believe the safety data on it!

  • Daz

    What a joke list. Waste of time reading it.

  • Well even though it only gets 16 MPG , I won’t give up my 2011 Wrangler Unlimited,I don’t care what the Government says!!! The U.S. Government can kiss my Red White & Blue , Jeep Driving American Ass..

  • Honda S2000 oh yea u forgot about this powerhouse!

  • Daniel Hannestad

    The cars are rated after price. 🙂

  • Sky

    “Curiously named”? Instant loss of credibilty as a car person. Chevy has been badging their cars with the Super Sport logo, since they first sold the package on the 1961 Impala. The package was for ever linked with classic high performance Chevy V8 muscle cars like the Camaro, Chevelle, El Camino, Monte Carlo, and Nova and of course the Impala. Nazis? Ships? Are you serious? You might as well suggest that Ford’s Famous GT (Grand Turismo) badging might mean, Guatemalan Terrorist. That’s how stupid you sound. If you said that around a group car buffs, they shrug you off and ignore all your comments for the rest of the conversation. You sound like some chick, watching a football game and asking why the guys are all wearing helmets. “Where are they going? Space?” She’s the only one laughing, because she sounds dumb.

  • Sky

    Excuse my several typos. I meant, *forever*, *Gran Turismo* and *they would shrug you off*. Ford boldly borrowed GT from the Italians who badged cars like Ferrari with the grand touring designation. I’m sorry, but anyone who cracks dumb Nazi jokes, like they’ve never heard of GM’s long standing Super Sport line, does not sound very car savvy to me. I mean come on! The SS badging has been on GM products for well over 50 years now. It’s only “curiously named” if you know absolutely nothing about GM cars.

  • DoomsdayJesus

    The only reason it’s curiously named is because SS has always been an appendage to a name, not a standalone model. But yeah, they should have known it stood for super sport.

  • madman

    S2000 ended production a few years ago

  • Shawn Merrill

    Hows that Italian jeep?

  • 68Cougar

    You are absolutely right. Anybody who doesn’t know what SS stands for should not be writing about cars. I don’t even like Chevy but I know what they make.

  • Emperor_of_Night

    Too bad the Tata Nano is not sold outside of India. It would squarely beat the Smart on this list in price, passenger capability and looks.

  • Emperor_of_Night

    Having said that, I’ve never considered before the Smart Fortwo to be a “car”, more like a golf cart.

    However, last night I watched on Youtube one of those “Car walk around, engine sound, drive around” videos about the Smart, and I changed my mind, if I lived in the USA I would probably buy one for the following reasons:
    1) I’m a single man, and love big cities.
    2) Gasoline is freaking expensive over there.
    3) I like rear-engined cars and cheap cars.
    4) The engine exhaust sounds better than I thought.
    5) I’ve driven cars with sequential transmission before and they’re fun.
    6) Bad Petrolheads just HATE this car. (Just read the stupid Smart “review” on this same article for an example) I consider myself a “good” petrolhead, one who choose cars on what he really likes, instead of what would people think about him. And at least they won’t say I’m compensating for something haha 🙂

  • Chris

    You and everybody else complaining about the SS thing are pretty fucking
    dense or don’t know anything about history. That joke not only went
    over your head it skimmed the Moon and colonized Mars. The SS
    (Schutzstaffel) were Nazi special forces more or less. The joke being on the SS of Chevy. But since you seem more dense than a lead brick I doubt you’ll understand.

  • Tony

    The Chevrolet SS should no longer be on this list now as the official MSRP of it is around $44k. The Hyundai Genesis should replace the SS on the list as the MSRP of the Genesis is around $35k.

  • Raygun

    I own an older wrangler,love it except the 210 miles I get to a tank on 18 gallons.
    I bought a smart fortwo to supplement the Jeep 6 months ago. The Jeep has been started 3 times, 2 to move it and once to take it on the road just for the sake of charging the battery.

    People that complain about the transmission don’t understand it or don’t know how to drive it. I feel safer in this car than I do on any motorcycle every produced in the history of mankind. People that scoff at the mileage are morons, I get from 37 to 45 depending on how I drive and what that means is going from mad man to not so mad man. I constantly run the car at 85 and it feels fine.

    People that don’t like smart cars are people who like their cars to drive them.

  • Ed

    Hey GM!!! Four doors, Four cylinder turbo, RWD w/300+ hp , under 3k lbs, 6+ speed, 30+mpg, equipped
    under 30k… Got it???

  • liberal_forward

    The Honda S2000 smokes all these cars–the best RWD affordable sports car ever made. The 240 hp naturally aspirated engine combined with unbelievable handling has yet to be matched in the marketplace.

  • liberal_forward

    S2000 still the best RWD affordable car in the history of automobiles. Ten plus years after its introduction and still no worthy challnegers (the Toyobaru BRZ/FR-S comes close but falls short). Buy a used S2000–it’s a no brainer.

  • liberal_forward

    S2000 still the best RWD affordable sports car in the history of automobiles. Ten plus years after its introduction and still no worthy challengers (the Toyobaru BRZ/FR-S comes close but falls short). Buy a used S2000–it’s a no brainer.

  • Marvin

    I am fortunate enough to own a 2014 Shelby convertible that gets 18 mpg combined driving. This mileage has been attainable due to the fact that I don’t lift the front end every time I drive it or shift gears. Every now and then I put the pedal to the metal to make sure all the horses are still there but most of the time I just cruise. My wife’s 2011 V6 with 305 hp averages 26 mpg only because she has a lead foot but we both enjoy our Mustangs on short or long trips. It’s hard to beat performance, handling and comfort in these cars. BTW I also own a 1967 Shelby GT350 that gets 8-10 MPG as long as I don’t nail it in every gear.

  • pwnall1337

    Do you only drive on the high way or something? I had a 2012 v6 auto and I averaged 21 at best. I had a 2013 shelby gt500, I was lucky to get 13-14 averaged. explain this shit

  • pwnall1337

    2 doors and ford. it’s called 2015 ecoboost mustang.

  • Ed

    Sure, I like it, nevertheless it is slated over twice as heavy as my 93 operable fastback 2.3 while missing 2 doors for families and has been missing for over twenty years. I think I’ll opt for a ecoboost transplant into my 93 when the turnkey package comes back to earth and I think wait till GM or Chrysler or Ford offers what I and many others are waiting for, an inline, lightweight, ecoboost, rear wheel burning sedan. Peace

  • Jonathan

    Yes, how are these cars considered AFFORDABLE?!

  • Cypeq

    First of all this is not at all affordable cars… all of them are entry level performance cars.
    so… number one is considered absolutely terrible car but it’s number one on the list so it’s the best but also the worst how so? Did the author had a little bit of bipolar event ?

  • Arlan Moreno

    I know this car is not RWD, but what about the Subaru Impreza? AWD and below 20 grand. This is the base version not the WRX or STI.

  • Arias J. Aune

    The Chevy SS stands for Super Sport… The SS trim level as been around for (I wanna say over 50 years I think) I really wish their writers would do a little bit of research before making a dumbass comment like compairing the car to a Nazi war machine.

  • Guest

    I’ll never buy another Ford. I have a 2014 GT with track pack and have had nothing but trouble with eh driveshaft, tranny input bearing, and rear diff. These were all repalced at 5K and now they are up for replacement again at 15K. This car is a turd. All the power in the world means nothing, when the car is junk. #lemon.

  • Frank Joseph De Salvo

    I’ll never buy another Ford. I have a 2014 GT with track pack and have had nothing but trouble with the driveshaft, tranny input bearing, and rear diff. These were all replaced at 5K and now they are up for replacement again at 15K. This car is a turd. All the power in the world means nothing, when the car is junk. #lemon.

  • Ed

    With no boosted 4 cyl, RWD offered even still for 2015, WHY would GM offer this Gas Hog,
    W gas soon heading N. of $5.00 a gallon, considering Chinas recent title of greatest auto consumer? What a waste of money$$$$$$$$ and still NOTHING on 4 cylinder, RWD, Sedan?????????

  • Andrew

    Don’t you look dumb now with gas prices on average under $2 a gallon now lol

  • Ed

    We’ll see who laughs last when as always those w big cars and big expensive homes lose their big paying jobs after the next Bubble, Exploitation cycle of Conservatism and leave y’all standing there wondering how we came to doomsday w/out even seeing it coming? Keep being v-8 Andy and show everyone how smart you are along w the other less than what, may 100 people who want the new gas hog boat SS? LMAO

  • David Lister

    The modern trend of manufacturers switching to front-drive has bugger all to do with efficiency!
    It is to do with leaving more room inside as there is no tunnel for the propshaft and gearbox.

  • David Lister

    “Mazda’s MX-5 Miata is probably the most iconic roadster ever built. ”
    Oh right. So you’ve obviously never heard of the Lotus Elan, which, by the way, Mazda took apart and modelled their car on!

  • Di

    Thats ok guys, my 93 mr2 still gets me 30 mpg steady, as it always has. And its still a blast to drive. 4 banger, rear wheel drive and all. How more steady can you get?

  • smartacus

    That’s cool, just don’t tell that to this Perry F. Bruns guy.
    He just goes on and on about how the front-wheel-drive Chevy Spark gets better gas mileage with 2 extra seats than other small cars.

  • Eddy B

    How did you guys miss Lexus IS300? It’s tune and customize friendly also is a heavy drifter because of its RWD. 5-Speed Manual with 219 horse and 225 torque.

  • Guma Gutierrez

    I guess you didn’t notice all the cars on the list are current production models. They stopped making the IS 300 in 2005 and it’s current replacement the IS 250 starts at over $36k for a base model. Not exactly an affordable RWD car. You can buy a BMW 3 series for less than that.

  • Guma Gutierrez

    The Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice come to mind. You know, the two boosted 4 Cylinder RWD models GM killed off during the last recession. What’s your point?

  • Guma Gutierrez

    Pretty much answered your own question there.

  • Ed

    Guma, you’re comparing apples to oranges, 2 dr. vs. 4 dr. hint sedan. Still looking for a 4 door mid size 4 cylinder, boosted would be a nice option w 30+ MPG. Very possible as even the small Rogue SUV from nissan at 3500lbs achieves 30.5 all around average from experience. Point is why not a 3000 lb sedan, “4 dr”?

  • self loving pigs u are

    Not a single BMW.. Are you stupid ???

  • scaz

    I don’t think anything over 25k is afforable. I never see the SS on the road to work.

  • Super Jeepin

    There are a few reasons. It’s cheaper and weighs less. Because of the reduced parasitic loss, it offers better performance in low power applications and better fuel economy as well. It also frees up some space for the passengers like you said. Some reasons are more important than others, but all are valid reasons nonetheless.

  • Cody Beisel

    I doubt the average enthusiast or for that matter larger mass public heard of the Elan. The Mazda has curb appeal because of its accessibility to the public. I love lotus but have seen 2 in my city….

  • Cody Beisel

    Rumour has it Ford is doing a fusion St, and Mazda is doing a 6 speed. All turbo 4 and all awd. Dodge also committed to leaving behind their hemi in favour of turbo 4 and turbo 6 as their performance models. Maybe a new rwd avenger will come with a turbo 4 and in a srt model… But that’s pure speculation coming from a guy with some dodge dealer inside….

  • smartacus

    Hi Craig and Autoguide. Speaking of smart; you sponsor the Smartcarofamerica website which has lost so much traffic since the beginning of the year that it’s all but dead.

    The blame falls SQUARELY on the individual moderators.
    Not only are they bad for business, but they close ranks and defend each other’s bad decisions!! The best example is how one moderator shut down the single most popular thread on SCOA.

    The Elio thread generated 75,000 views in 2 years which is massive for a such a little site.
    Everyone acknowledged it was the only thing keeping SCOA alive
    One moderator (i will not name him, but he also moderates on other smart car websites) dislike the thread originator so he found a way to shut down the thread for nefarious reasons.

    Very unprofessional. Longtime viewers have left the website never to return.
    i know Autoguide is not interested in sponsoring a losing website. And i support any strong decision you guys make because Autoguide is the single most informative automotive website on the internet, Thank You.

  • Nonya Bidness

    Gas hog boat??? The SS is hardly even a full size car. I bought a Charger because it’s bigger and doesn’t feel like being crammed into a beer can. Oh and I’m very happy with the 5.7 giving me 25mpg. Maybe you should realize that not everyone shares your opinion about cars???

  • Nonya Bidness

    Exactly, “SS” has always been a trim level, not a model. Hence the sarcasm.

  • Nonya Bidness

    It’s also out of production, dummy.

  • Nonya Bidness

    It’s “curious” because “SS” has always been a trim level or performance option package. Not a model name. It’s curious and it’s dumb.

  • Shiratori1

    The key word is AFFORDABLE. Not many people have the means to drop 60K on a car.

  • Guest

    Sorry , not true. The reason for front wheel drive is because they are cheaper to build on the assembly line

  • Terry Parker

    You’re a “No Brainer”. Name should be Liberal Dumbass!

  • Ed

    Nonya, The point I’m trying to make is, I was once a gear head vortech fan myself but w age and reason realized a 4 cylinder now as in several sedans now offer boost. Unfortunately so far, none of them are American or come w rear wheel drive? Did you and Guma go to the same school? BTW saying your 5.7 gets 25mpg’s w/o mentioning during easy Hiway driving Only, is like saying I care about gas milage but would rather not think about the part about getting 16 to 17mpg’s in city driving where most drivers live? Your average then is what 21? 21 MPG’s in the year 2015 when a full sized dodge truck w 400 lbs of torque returns 30 mpgs hwy, or a full sized Ford w ecoboost 2.7 may even pass that for 2016? As mentioned I just purchased a nissan SV rouge that is 3500 lbs, 5 passenger, mid sized SUV w all bells and whistles, and in averaged hyway and city driving 50/50 our computer shows our average since new after 10,000 miles and the second oil change of 30.3 mpg average mainly because of the CVT I believe of which I’m now a huge fan and am hoping for a full sized 2500 pickup w CVT soon? We would have rather of bought American but had a bad experience w Ford and none of the other Mid sized SUV’s achieved those avg MPG’s. Not hating the Boats so much as wondering why auto officionales can’t see the future rather than trying to recreate the past? 🙂 Peace

  • Nonya Bidness

    No, your point is to obviously insult those who buy such cars and conservatives in general, as if the two were related. But then, reading through your posts, that seems to be your modus operandi. You take every post as an opportunity to make political comments. Your rhetoric and ignorant comments are typical of the breed.

    Automakers build what sells. That’s how capitalism works, you know, this system that you hate so much. The folks who buy 4cyl 4dr sedans don’t want rear drive. They’re completely content with front wheel drive. Other folks aren’t. They want more. Their priorities are different. They want more performance, more power or a certain style. Automakers wouldn’t be building so many wonderful V8 cars these days if people weren’t buying them.

    Yes, I get 25mpg on the highway but that is not easy cruising, it’s running 80mph on the interstate. My average, after one year, is 22mpg. That’s not babying it, there are several smoky burnouts included in that average. I did not buy a V8 car for gas mileage. The MPG it does get is simply a side benefit. If I wanted mileage, I would’ve bought the V6 version or something else. Had it a forced induction 4cyl or V6 making the same power, I would not have bought it. Why? Like most the folks who buy rear drive, V8 cars, I bought it because I wanted a rear drive, V8 car. If you’re happy with a small car, with a small engine that gets good mileage, go forth and be happy. You’ll find no shortage of suitable vehicles. I choose differently. I’m not comfortable in a small car and yes, even so-called mid-size cars these days are small. Maybe you’re not as “mature” as you claim, if you don’t remember what constituted a real full sized car 20yrs ago. I wanted a V8 and I’m happy with my choice. Please try not to be like every other dumb liberal who vilifies any choice not congruent with their own. If you have a problem with people choosing differently, then that is an indication of your own shortcomings and insecurities.

  • Nonya Bidness

    Yes, I’m sure that a $20,000 engine swap for the sake of gas mileage is a wise move.

  • Ed

    Yawn,,, Ok Nonya, you wanted a v-8 and you got one, and you want everyone to know, I struggling w shortcomings and insecurities? Someone said once, big truck, little ,,,,? I don’t have time or interest in doing your research, and for the time w gas below $3 a gallon, thanks Obama. You’re feeling as if you’ve made the intelligent choice racing around at I’m sure below 22 mpg’s? Wait till next summer when gas goes back up and you have to dust of your old bmx or cruser. The facts prove Nonya if you care to see, America is finally catching up w the rest of the free world. As you say, 4 and 6 cyl’s now perform equally to v8’s as well and have now become the engines of choice for the masses outselling the gas hogs. You’re a dying breed, and fading and distant memory, the country has matured and finally caught on to what the EU has known for decades. Speed and handling at a fraction of the cost reigns supreme and will never be questioned again. Enjoy it while it lasts, because your resale is in freefall, Good Conservative.

  • Nonya Bidness

    Oh yeah, that’s why I’m posting here, to brag about a car. Are you really that stupid? And what is it about people like you who LOVE to bring up the whole “big truck, little….” argument??? It’s almost universal. Really? You can’t do any better than that? Anybody who loves V8’s and big trucks does so because their penis is small? I can hardly even imagine what an intellectual titan it took to come up with that nonsense. Again, it is the liberal need to ridicule any choice that differs from their own.

    And I did make an intelligent choice, I bought what I wanted and what fit my needs. And once again, a liberal can’t fathom someone having wants, needs and preferences that differ from theirs. I really don’t care what gas prices do. I reckon you assume everyone is as destitute or as obsessed with fuel economy as you are.

    I already posted that my average after 14 months is 22mpg.

    I’m a dying breed? Is that why we have so many wonderful new V8’s these days? No dummy, we’re seeing a resurgence of the muscle car. Technology has advanced to where we can produce more horsepower than ever before with unprecedented fuel economy. My lowly Charger R/T is quicker than 99% of the muscle cars produced in the 1960’s, yet it gets 25mpg on the interstate. Not to even mention what the Vettes, Camaros, Mustangs and the Dodge SRT’s are doing. Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, most of the big performance cars from European manufacturers also have big V8’s in them as well.

    “The country has matured”??? Did you type that with a straight face???

  • Corbin Miller

    uh… not sure where you live but over 25k is pretty standard for all but the cheapest of cars. The median car price for cars you see around here is well double that. And a Tesla, which is fairly common, four times that.

  • Corbin Miller

    Doubtful an Indian car is high on anyone’s list

  • scaz

    I live in Pheonix and I have see Tesla and just about every sports car you can speak of, but during my morning daily commute I don’t see any of those cars in with the thousands of cars. I just bought a 14k brand new sonic with most of the upgrades. The average car I see on the road is something like a 5 year old accord, civic, or corolla. Sure, I see a few trucks. Tesla is not common at all.

  • Graph

    Good thing the title says “affordable” /s

  • Dan S

    Considering they also borrowed the sound of the MGB, you could argue it was several cars of the prior era that made it into the development of the original Miata/MX5 (NA). This most recent iteration (ND) is a throwback to that original version. Elan is a classic car though all the same, and well known in the segment due to its lineage with the Elise. Someone looking into a Miata as a driver’s car would hopefully have run into it along the way.

  • jerryhammons

    I recently bought a near new condition 2006 Mercury Grand Marquis with 47,000 miles for $6500. Large, V8 engine, RWD, and it can get almost 30 mpg on the highway. I wanted a Lincoln Town Car of the same basic year and condition, but for some reason the mpg was a lot less on those. I drove a V6/FWD Chevy Malibu for almost 5 years and it was horrible. I will never again own a FWD car. Aside from all the complication in the front end, the handling was atrocious. To me, FWD is simply un American.

  • Jack Daniels

    I feel your pain. 09 Malibu.. Understeer city. Awful nose heavy handling.

  • Jack Daniels

    Good thing the Tesla Model 3 will change all of that. RWD with more room than ANY gas car of equal size.

  • Jack Daniels

    Electric is the future.

  • Jack Daniels

    Personal Trucks are penis extending devices. You’re on the losing side of this battle. They are a nuisance and every DB that drives one can go to hell with their view blocking box.

  • Jack Daniels

    Gas is only cheaper because it’s an election year, fool.

  • Jack Daniels

    A clean energy Model S will blow the doors off of your dinosaur technology gas engine.

  • Nonya Bidness

    Hey, another eco-fascist who likes to insult anyone who disagrees or has a different choice in vehicles! Are you really that insecure? If I’m on the losing side of this battle, I’d love for you to explain to me how I might pull a 10,000lb trailer with something other than a truck.

    Explain to me how I might deal with an unimproved road without a 4wd truck. Explain to me how I might haul a load of hay. Please explain to myself and the rest of the truck-driving world how we would better get along without our trucks. Since you are so intelligent and we are so dumb, surely you have an answer. Or are you just an ignorant, arrogant, short-sighted, dim-witted moron too stupid to understand that some folks might have different needs and preferences???

  • Nonya Bidness

    Ok genius, let’s look at it analytically. A base model S is $77,000 out the door. I paid the princely sum of $28,000 for my gently used but fully equipped Charger R/T. A difference of $49,000. Well within my means but let’s forget for a moment that most people can’t afford to spend that much on a car. By Tesla’s own calculator and current gas prices, they are going to save me $6 per 100 miles driven. Which means I would have to drive their car 817,000 miles just to break even. At a rate of 20,000 miles per year, that would take nearly 41yrs. Somehow, I don’t think that’s a very intelligent comparison. If you want to drive an electric car, be my guest. I don’t care for them or their limitations and you’re not going to advance your agenda by insulting people you disagree with.

  • Jack Daniels

    How about you rent a truck for the one time every 5 years you actually need one? How do they do it in Europe? No one there has a pickup truck. Talk a little narrow minded and short sighted.. ever even been out of the country let alone your podunk ? 99% of truck owners just want to be bigger than everyone else. They have no use for it.

  • Jack Daniels

    You’re the one insulting people and you’re the one trying to advance your agenda by insulting people who disagree with you! It’s almost hilarious how ironic your responses are. Btw I still love muscle cars and vettes.. it’s the stupid view blocking parking spot hogging trucks I can’t stand.

  • Nonya Bidness

    I’m so happy we have people like you who know what everyone else needs and can tell us all exactly how to live our lives! Such a blessing to NOT have to make those decisions for myself. So wonderful that someone like yourself knows exactly what I need and how often, shockingly, without even asking! Great to have folks so insightful and so willing to share their wisdom so we truck-driving douchebags can learn the err of our ways. You should work for the government. People don’t need to be so pesky in making their own choices, you can obviously do all that for us.

  • Nonya Bidness

    Really? Like calling all those who drive trucks douchebags??? Do you even know what a “neo-con” is, or are you like every other liberal moron who uses it as a pejorative without knowing what it means or caring whether or not it’s accurate? Last I checked, ever truck I ever owned fit into a standard sized parking spot. Even though both trucks and parking spaces have shrunk over the last 20yrs. Do you whine and complain about delivery trucks and tractor-trailers that block your view too, or just pickup drivers?

    I see that you completely ignored everything I said about the cost of a Tesla.

    You may not consider yourself a liberal but you think like one.

  • Steve

    You responded to a conversation from two years ago, when it wasn’t an election year. Fool.

  • Pratik Kadam

    So how exactly a 48k Chevy affordable?

  • Timp21117

    The Panther chassis cars are great. I have a 2008 Grand Marquis with 252,000 miles on it. I got it free from a friend… dumped about $1000 in suspension and brakes, and it rides like new. My son was learning to drive, and I was able to take him out on a wet parking lot and teach him about driving dynamics. Also, the drive train has a lot in common with the Mustang GT (4.6) so it can be hot rodded as well. That being said, it still weighs over 2 tons, so being a ‘hot rod’ is a relative term.

  • Timp21117

    I read in Car & Driver that the average family sedan in the US is just over $30K now. I had a hard time wrapping my head around that too! But then again, 31 years ago, I bought my first new car, a 1985 Monte Carlo SS, for about $15K. So doubling that cost in 30 years isn’t really all that bad. Plus my $31K Mazda 6 is safer and has every electronic gizmo known to man, so in hindsight it is a bargain.

  • Shan Longue

    The SS is out of production. The cost and the time waiting to get one lead to its demise.

  • Stephen Hickson

    FWD cars cause very high driver someone who has never driven RWD cars will never understand this..but someone who was a long time RWD driver and then made a switch to FWD immediately feels it..if you drive a lot want to remain comfortable..RWD is the way to go..there is a reason why all performance and luxury vehicles are made RWD..

  • Stephen Hickson

    RWD car is bigger and turns there is already plenty of driver comfort in RWD which cannot be achieved in FWD..also the nose heavy handling of FWD causes serious driver fatigue..

  • James Jackson

    A sad truth. I also thought the Sunbeam Tiger would have a few savior’s willing to keep them on the road. Another icon that you just don’t find any longer.

  • Pizzapipe

    Um…right on the list is a 2017 BMW 2 Series

  • PT

    Chrysler K car that came out in around 1980 was FWD. UnAmerican?