Sports cars are notorious for being expensive to buy and run, but owning one doesn’t have to mean big bills. However, while the best-value sports car costs peanuts to run, the worst model is very close to the bottom of the entire Which? Car Survey for value.
With powerful, highly-strung engines and complicated folding roofs, sports cars and convertibles can come with hefty maintenance bills. Choose your car wisely, though, and you won’t have to pay much more than you would for a normal medium-sized car.
The top-value sports car according to owners in the latest Which? Car Survey is ‘the best-value fun on the road’. Another owner adds ‘you’ll not find such driving pleasure at this price anywhere else.’
The worst value model is plagued by steep running costs and repair bills, which put it fifth from the bottom of the entire Which? Car Survey for value for money. Owners criticised everything from unreliable parking sensors to poor visibility and a firm, bumpy ride.
Highest rated sports car for value for money
With a strong value-for-money score of 86.7%, the Mazda MX-5 (1998-2005) tops the sports car table. Owners raved about how much fun their cars are to drive, the reasonable purchase price and running costs, and the strong reliability.
One MX-5 owner wrote ‘I test-drove a Porsche Boxster and the MX-5 and chose the MX-5 – that says it all! I put the roof down, turn on the ignition and start grinning like an idiot! It is the best fun!’
Another happy Mazda driver said ‘it’s perfect for commutes and pleasure, easy to take roof down, extremely reliable, big boot for sports car, manoevreable and economical.’
Sports cars are all about the fun-factor, and this is what the MX-5 delivers in droves: ‘you will never have a more enjoyable car for the price – or a huge amount more’ claims another MX-5 owner.
The car’s solid reliability is just the icing on the cake: ‘I love my car because it’s fun. It is 13 years old and there’s not a thing wrong with it.’
Find out which cars are the most reliable in our survey results
Lowest rated sports car for value for money
Just as the Mini hatchback was branded the worst-value supermini, the Mini Countryman the worst-value medium car and the Mini Clubman the worst-value estate car, it is a Mini which takes the crown as the worst-value sports car, according to owners.
The Mini Convertible (2004-2008) chalks up an appalling value-for-money score of 62.8% – putting it just five places above the bottom of the entire table for value. Mini Convertible drivers complained about the high prices charged by Mini dealerships, plus steep running costs and repair bills.
Owners slated the car for a poor roof design that soaks passengers when getting out of the car in the rain, ‘rear parking sensors which do not work reliably’, ‘poor visibility’ and a very firm ride ‘ruined by run-flat tyres’. One owner added ‘the car suffered a power steering failure this year and replacement was £630’.
Other Mini Convertible drivers complained about a lack of power and mediocre fuel economy, high noise levels on the motorway, cramped rear seats and a small boot. One owner summed up their Mini as ‘a great fun car, but make sure you can afford the running costs.’
Read which other models make up our five worst value cars