Finding a fast car on a tight budget can be challenging. In the $10,000 to $15,000 range, used hot hatches and small sport coupes are often good options.
In the video, Brendan of the YouTube channel TFLclassics compares the features of two budget-friendly cars with a high fun factor: the Honda Civic Si and the Ford Focus ST. Check it out to learn more about the advantages of each ride.
The 2008 Honda Civic Si: An Uncomplicated Bargain That's Pure Fun
In 2008, the body styles available for the Honda Civic Si were the sedan and the 2-door coupe, the latter of which Brendan test-drives. The eighth-generation Civic Si, which Honda produced from 2006 to 2011, was no longer available in a hatchback, as in previous generations.
Regarding performance, this Civic Si punches above its weight. That is thanks to its 2.0-liter VTEC 4-cylinder motor which makes 197 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque. This K20 engine variant comes with a standard 6-speed manual transmission.
Limited slip differential is also a big plus for the Honda's dynamics. Inside, the driver-focused features include bolstered seats and a 2-tier dash that places a digital speed readout on top and a tach on the lower level.
The eighth-gen Civic Si is, as Brendan says, isn't fancy but is extremely fun. What's more, it would work well as a great daily driver. Buyers looking for one of these cars should expect to pay around $10,000 or less if it's in rougher shape.
The 2013 Ford Focus ST: A Hot Hatch With European Vibes
The third-generation Ford Focus ST that Brendan checks out is a true 5-door hatch with ample cargo space. What makes it hot, though, is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine that produces 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, coupled with a 6-speed manual.
The forced induction engine kicks up at 3,000 rpm. Although it has over 50 hp more than the Civic Si, it lacks the Honda's visceral driving experience.
The interior, too, is a bit more sedate. Brendan's Focus ST has standard seats and not the optional bolstered Recaros. The dashboard is a conventional 2-pod setup. However, the car comes with Bluetooth technology and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Expect to pay around $15,000 for a Focus ST like this one on the used car market.
Now for the moment of truth. Some buyers focus (pun intended) on a turbo hot hatch with more horsepower, while others want a basic but quick and super-fun coupe. Ultimately, it's your personal preference but you can't go wrong with either cheap and fun option in the video.