Cheapest Japanese sports cars

Japanese sports cars are known for being exciting yet affordable - here we list some of the cheapest and best-value options on BuyaCar

Sam Naylor
Sep 30, 2021

Japanese sports cars are hugely popular, as they tend to be affordable to buy and cheap to run, yet also really fun to drive and own. Here we’ve rounded up some of the cheapest and most appealing Japanese sports cars available on BuyaCar.

Consider a Japanese sports car if you want to get good value for money. Many western sports cars come with a price premium because they have nicer interiors or bigger engines than less sporty models, but Japanese sports cars tend to put that to one side in favour of being as good to drive as possible, but without breaking the bank. They're also typically more reliable.

Compact coupes and roadsters from Japan tend to have small engines and low weight instead of the western method of being heavy but with a larger engine. This means Japanese sports cars tend to be more fun to drive on the UK’s twisty, tight roads.

It’s not always the case, though. There are also examples of Japanese sports cars that have a big engine with lots of power, and they tend to be good value next to options from Germany or the UK.

Japanese sports cars are also usually reliable and good to own. In this list, we’re not just looking at the cheapest Japanese sports cars, but also models that are a bit more costly but are really good value for money compared with alternatives.

All the cars below are available to buy now on BuyaCar.co.uk. There are, of course, other older and cheaper options in the wider used car market, but they won’t come with our 14-day money-back guarantee, online ordering and delivery to your door.

Cheap Japanese sports cars

1. Mazda MX-5

Cheapest Japanese sports car

Used deals from £12,500
Monthly finance from £232*

The Mazda MX-5 is pretty much the perfect sports car if you want something lightweight, agile and involving to drive - and it’s the best-selling roadster in the world as a result. This means there are loads for sale and prices are low, so the MX-5 is a brilliant choice and would be our number one pick for anyone interested in buying a sports car.

The roof-down driving experience is great fun but it’s not just the convertible aspect that makes the Mazda great. It’s the whole driving experience, from the peppy and lively engines to the sublime gear shift and perfect driving position that lets you sit low in the car and have a really good feel for the road.

It’s a joy to drive on any road, let alone a twisty one, and can be enjoyed by everyone - whether you’re planning on heading to a track day or just want to drive to the shops. It’s comfortable, well equipped, cheap to run, reliable and best of all, incredibly affordable. We’ll go ahead and say it - there is no better option if you want a cheap Japanese sports car.

MAZDA MX-5 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Toyota GT86

Cheapest Japanese small coupe

Used deals from £19,291
Monthly finance from £353*

The Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ - they’re the same car with different names - are another option if the Mazda MX-5’s two-seater layout doesn’t work for you. The GT86 is a small coupe with a set of small rear seats for kids (there’s even Isofix in the back for securely attaching car seats) and a decent boot for a car of this type.

It’s also brilliant to drive, just like the MX-5. It features a lively 2.0-litre engine and a superb manual gearbox. It’s lightweight and a lot of fun to drive, yet also smooth on bumpy roads and you could definitely drive one every day without having to worry about being uncomfortable.

The GT86 isn’t incredibly cheap but it does hold its value remarkably well, so if you buy one now you won’t lose much money when you want to sell it in the future. Alternatively, if you opt for PCP finance, this should result in lower monthly payments. Despite its practicality advantage over the MX-5, the GT86 is actually more of a driver’s car and enthusiasts will love the way it drives on a track or twisty road.

TOYOTA GT86 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Nissan 370Z

Cheapest Japanese muscle car

Used deals from £23,795
Monthly finance from £388*

If you prefer your sports car to have a big engine, the Nissan 370Z is a decent option. It features a brawny 3.7-litre V6 engine that brings very strong performance for the money, and means it’s a very involving car to drive, like an old-school muscle car.

The engine is the heart of the experience here, as it is a delight to use and makes a wonderful noise as you work it harder. Yet the 370Z is also fun to drive around bends and is a popular car with track day fans and driving enthusiasts.

It’s not the most practical option as it’s only a two-seater, but there’s a decent amount of boot space and it’s good on the motorway, so it could easily work as an everyday car if you don’t have a big family. It’s not the cheapest to run, but the big engine will put a smile on your face every time you drive it.

NISSAN 370Z BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Suzuki Swift Sport

Cheapest Japanese hot hatch

Used deals from £7,780
Monthly finance from £181*

Sports cars aren’t always two-door, two-seat convertibles and coupes. The Suzuki Swift Sport is a great example of a normal, practical hatchback that’s just as fun to drive as a proper sports car, and it also happens to be really cheap and affordable to run.

The Swift Sport is an example of a hot hatch, as it’s more powerful than other versions of the Swift thanks to a bigger engine - but it’s also been tuned to be more fun to drive as well. This Suzuki is brilliant fun, with an engine that thrives on being worked hard, a great gearbox and lively handling around corners.

It’s light and agile so it works really well on country roads. It’s just as practical as a normal Swift hatchback, though, so there’s a decent boot and space in the rear seats. It’s comfortable enough to use as an everyday car too, and should be cheap to run and reliable as well.

2010-2017 SUZUKI SWIFT BUYERS' GUIDE

2017-PRESENT SUZUKI SWIFT BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Honda Civic Type R

Cheapest Japanese super hatch

Used deals from £21,950
Monthly finance from £426*

If the Swift Sport is a hot hatch, the Honda Civic Type R is a super hatch, offering a serious amount of power. It doesn't just have sportier setup than the normal Civic, it has a tuned-up turbocharged motor with around 300hp and special suspension that makes it into a sports car-beating performance car with the practicality of a hatchback.

The Civic Type R is a brilliant choice if you need good practicality, a big boot, lots of legroom and headroom for passengers, plenty of standard equipment and enough modern tech in the cabin. It manages all of these while also being one of the most viscerally exciting and quickest cars on this list.

Its engine is an absolute monster, tearing up to its maximum speed at full throttle, but even this is outdone by the handling. The Type R is incredibly grippy around corners and will match proper sports cars on racetracks. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s such a brilliant all-rounder that it’s amazing value for money and has to secure a place on this list.

2012-2017 HONDA CIVIC BUYERS' GUIDE

2017-PRESENT HONDA CIVIC BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Toyota GR Yaris

Cheapest Japanese four-wheel-drive sports car

Used deals from £36,495
Monthly finance from £525*

Many modern sports cars use four-wheel-drive because it adds lots of grip when accelerating and helps make the performance of a car easier to access for more drivers and on all kinds of road. The Toyota GR Yaris is a brilliant example of a sports car with four-wheel-drive, as it was developed with rallying in mind.

Its four-wheel-drive system can be adjusted to make the car feel more agile depending on where you are - there’s a sport mode for more fun on the road, and a track mode for track days. The GR Yaris is powered by a very punchy engine which may be small but is one of the most powerful engines of its type ever made, so performance is stunning.

The GR Yaris has only just come out and the waiting list for a new model is very long, but you can find nearly new models for sale now. Like the Civic Type R, the GR Yaris is not particularly cheap, but it is brilliant value for money for what it offers - the driving experience in this Toyota is more like a car costing twice the price.

MORE ABOUT THE TOYOTA GR YARIS

7. Lexus RC

Cheapest Japanese luxury coupe

Used deals from £23,499
Monthly finance from £412*

If you want a sports car for the looks and quality rather than for track days or country roads, then consider the Lexus RC. It’s a stylish Japanese coupe that looks like very good value for money considering how high quality it is, especially the superb interior.

Its media system is a bit too fiddly to use but you can forgive that when you sit in the brilliantly comfortable seats and enjoy the smooth, quiet running from the hybrid system. In traffic and at low speed, an electric motor drives the wheels, so it’s nearly silent around town.

The RC isn’t as good to drive as some of the other options here but it’s so comfortable and smooth as an everyday car that it’s still a great choice for drivers who prioritise sporty styling over a sporty drive. There is also a high-performance RC F model with a big V8 engine, but it’s much more expensive, despite being a lot of fun to drive.

LEXUS RC BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Toyota GR Supra

Cheapest Japanese super coupe

Used deals from £41,500
Monthly finance from £550*

The Toyota GR Supra is a two-seater coupe that presents buyers of high-end sports cars and supercars with a problem. After all, the GR Supra looks as dramatic and stylish as the most flamboyant Italian supercars, and is nearly as fast, but costs a fraction of those models.

Okay, it’s still not really a cheap car, but it looks like a great-value sports car next to the most expensive supercars because of its stunning looks and performance for the money. Its six-cylinder BMW engine is a delight to use - the GR Supra shares many of its mechanical parts with the new Z4 - and the Supra is very sharp to drive as well.

It’s packed with high-tech features and the cabin is very smart, partly because of all the BMW parts used inside. It’s also comfortable for long trips, if a little noisy inside because of tyre noise on motorways, plus there’s a decent boot and the seats are very supportive.

TOYOTA GR SUPRA BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best cars with high torque

  2. Best cars with adaptive cruise control

  3. Best cars with reclining back seats