2020 Hyundai Veloster N ・ Photo by Hyundai
On the spectrum of vehicles that runs from “mundane transportation” on one end to “pure frivolous fun” on the other, sports cars occupy spots near the endpoint of “frivolous fun.” But nothing is more of a buzzkill to the joy of driving a sports car than insurance cost. To counter that, we have developed a list of the 10 most affordable sports cars to insure. As you well know, insuring a performance model is much more expensive than insuring a “mommymobile” or even a “dadvan." High horsepower crossed with drivers who like to push the envelope make that inevitable. Happily, some fun-to-drive high-performance sports cars are much less expensive to drive than others. And that is something you should consider when you contemplate buying a sports or performance car.
When you analyze the cost you pay for the benefits of personal transportation, the tally goes beyond the price of the car, the cost of its fuel, and the expense involved in its maintenance. The cost of car insurance is a key factor that might not be the brightest image on your radar screen... But it should be. Insurance experts and car reviewers agree heartily on that. So it made sense to enlist the advice of a noted insurance company.
“Sports car enthusiasts spend ample amounts of time looking for the perfect vehicle,” said Chong Gao, director of product management R&D for Mercury Insurance. “Insurance costs are a vital part of that research, so we scanned the industry to put together a list of the most affordable sports cars to insure.” Courtesy of that research done by Mercury Insurance, here are the 10 most affordable sports cars to insure. They are presented in descending order of cost to insure.
With its exquisite balance, mid-engine placement, and powerful engines, the Porsche 718 Boxster is one of the sweetest, most satisfying rides on the planet. No, it isn’t cheap with its base model at well over $60,000, but the Boxster will continue to put a smile on your face year after year after year. To score the lowest insurance costs, it is sensible to opt for the base model, but in this case, “base” is an entirely relative term. The lowest-level 718 Boxster is brimming with good stuff like a 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine. An old-school 6-speed manual transmission is standard, but a 7-speed automatic is a reasonable choice as well. Interior space is restricted to two passengers because this is a sports car after all — and a mid-engine sports car at that. Higher horsepower engines and more expensive go-fast tech are available to those who are comfortable writing bigger checks.
Photo by Porsche
The C-Class is one of the most affordable lines in the broad Mercedes-Benz portfolio, but that doesn’t prevent the automaker from asking more than $60,000 for the sleek AMG C 43. The good news is, the coupe both looks and acts like it’s worth the elevated cost. It is fitted with a 385-horsepower twin turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine hitched to a 9-speed automatic. And it has all-wheel drive to get that power to the pavement efficiently. It will vault from zero to 60 miles per hour in about four seconds, which begs the question: Did you say its insurance is affordable? Although the C 43’s platform is due for a change (the new C Class sedan has already arrived in the U.S.), it still has a luscious interior that helps justify the cost.
Photo by Mercedes-AMG
BMW has recently pruned the convertible version of the 2 Series from its North American offerings, but that leaves the very capable 230i coupe to carry the tradition forward. A 4-seater, the 230i has a 10-inch longer wheelbase than the Z4 roadster and is about 8 inches longer overall, which enables a bit more interior room while also delivering a highly maneuverable chassis. The 230i is powered by the self-same 2.0-liter 255-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that is fitted in the aforementioned BMW Z4. (The higher-priced M240i has the 382-horsepower 6-cylinder.) In proper sports coupe fashion, it is a rear-drive car, although the M240i drives all four wheels. One of the 230i’s bows to boulevard driving is its 8-speed automatic transmission. But the 230i also gives customers the opportunity to order Dynamic Handling and M Sport option packages that up the performance potential of the sweet-looking coupe.
Photo by BMW
The sinuous BMW Z4 is a reminder in this SUV-clogged world that the sports car still drives among us. And it is good. This convertible 2-seater starts by checking the “good-looking” box and goes on from there to fulfill just about everything a sports car lover could want… including reasonably low insurance costs. In this instance, the modest insurance premiums are simply the whipped cream on top of the delicious hot fudge sundae. The rich, flavorful ice cream is the Z4’s 2.0-liter 255-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission. While 255-horsepower doesn’t sound like a shipload of go-juice, in the nimble Z4 it is a pleasurable amount. Should you desire more power and be willing to up your insurance costs in the bargain, the Z4 M40i has a 382-horsepower 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder.
Photo by BMW
One might have to stretch a bit to call the Mercedes-Benz E 450 sedan a performance car, but the slippery E 450 Coupe can easily wear that moniker. The sleek and stylish 4-passenger 2-door certainly has the power to call itself a sports car. Behind the three-pointed star in the grille is a 362-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder engine. It sends power to all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission. Further, the performance is praiseworthy. For example, the car can sprint for zero to 60 miles per hour in less than five seconds. The interior reeks of pure luxury, which is very pleasant when you’re going very fast. For those inevitable road trips, the swoopy coupe has 10 cubic feet of trunk space in addition to its performance credentials.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz
Still a hoot to drive in its fourth generation, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is powered by a 181-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. A 6-speed manual is the standard transmission, and it is utterly in keeping with the Miata’s throwback nature. For those who want the car to choose the cogs itself, a 6-speed automatic transmission is a reasonable option. While some sports cars lean heavily on high horsepower, the Miata melds medium go-power with a finely tuned chassis. The Miata’s responsive handling demonstrates clearly the reason enthusiast drivers favor rear-drive cars that deliver visceral feel. And if you want to feel the elements, the Miata has a fabric-covered top that folds out of the way so you can feel the wind flow around your ears. It modest initial cost and equally modest horsepower help keep insurance on this two-seater very affordable.
Photo by Mazda
The VW GTI was the seminal hot hatchback, and now known as the Golf GTI, it continues to be regarded as an all-around performance icon. It offers great handling, impressive acceleration, and very good fuel economy. The engine in the current Golf GTI S is a 241-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder backed by either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic that you can shift manually if you feel like it. The current 4-door hatchback configuration gives the car the convenience of a small crossover in addition to laudable performance. Unlike many of the sports models on this list, the Golf GTI is a front-drive vehicle, but its overall handling abilities are stellar despite that. If you want to haul stuff in addition to hauling, well, booty, the Golf GTI is a good choice that doesn’t cost and arm-and-a-leg to insure.
Photo by Volkswagen
The Ford Mustang, like its arch rival the Chevy Camaro, offers a number of different powertrains. For those looking for low insurance costs, the less expensive end of the Mustang continuum is where they should concentrate their efforts. Happily, even Mustangs with lesser engine/transmission combinations are still very well-balanced, fun-to-drive automobiles. In recent years, Ford has made great efforts to add powerful yet economical direct-injected, turbocharged engines to the Mustang lineup while maintaining some traditional V-8s as well. In its least expensive form, the Mustang is powered by a 310-horsepower 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Another version of that engine delivers 330 horsepower. Both 6-speed manual and 10-speed automatic transmissions are offered. With a light engine, the Mustang’s weight is more evenly distributed over its wheels resulting in predictable handling and excellent roadholding. The Mustang’s chassis has transitioned from old-fashioned to sophisticated, so the EcoBoost versions are a blast to drive.
Photo by Ford
Though cars like the Chevrolet Camaro sports coupe have seen sales eroded by the crossover craze, the Camaro is still offered in a dazzling number of variations. You can drive a Camaro that is mild to one that is totally wild. For those seeking the absolutely lowest insurance costs, the mild side of the ledger should get the most attention. And because of their relatively low cost versus cars with similar performance potential, even the wilder Camaros can be relative insurance bargains. The base Chevy Camaro is a very cost-effective way to drive a good-looking sports car. It offers a 275-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine backed with 6-speed manual transmission or 8-speed automatic, plus traction control, and electronic stability control. One rung up the performance ladder is a Camaro equipped with a 335-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. The Camaro’s rear drive and well-tuned suspension make it fun to drive when curvy roads beckon.
Photo by General Motors