For many drivers, the car is just a means to an end. Something that gets you from A to B. Nothing more. If it has some comfort features, then that makes thing nicer. And if its economical, that’s good too. But as long as it doesn’t break down and cost us too much, then they’re happy.
But for some, driving is more than just a routine. It’s a hobby, a way to relieve stress or get some thrills. Something to get your pulse-racing, heart pumping, to feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. A way to really feel alive. But you can’t always get that on a budget. We may dream of supercars, driving a Lamborghini Huracan or a Ferrari La Ferrari, and then we wake up to a boring old hatchback.
The good news is that you don’t need an incredible budget to get performance. You can find a decent performance car, one that’s fun and thrilling to drive, for less than £15,000. You can even find them in Creditplus’s used car search, ready and waiting for you and the right finance package. Here is our pick for the top 10 fast and fun cars under £15k.
The sporty cousin to Fiat, Abarth make funkier versions of their big-name brother’s models. The Abarth 595 is one of their latest and greatest. The biggest difference you’ll notice is in the power you feel driving. Despite being the same size as a Fiat 500, the 595 has a real oomph to it. This is summed up in the engine noise, that sounds like a tiger stuck in the body of a much smaller cat.
Many of the best affordable performance cars are juiced-up versions of popular models. The Ford Fiesta ST is the best example of that. It takes everything that works about the regular Fiesta, and puts an engine inside that will get your pulse-racing almost as fast as the car’s acceleration. The subtle styling changes also make it stand out from the crowd. A winner, and not just when you drive off from the traffic lights.
The original Mini Cooper S is one of the most beloved classics on the market. Combining the iconic image of the Mini with a fast engine that made it a stalwart of motor-racing, the new Cooper S continues in that spirit. It’s a lot bigger than the original model, less of a squeeze to get in. But you still have that power, so you’ll surprise more than a few people.
A slightly more serious looking vehicle, the Peugeot 308 GTi feels like its all business – the power and performance are there to help you get where you want to go. Despite that, you can still have fun with its responsive handling and speedy engine. A performance car hiding in plain sight?
The Audi TT turned more than a few heads when it first arrived on the scene. Its distinctive sleek shape combined with its relative affordability made it the car of choice for the modern professional looking to impress in the car park. Now in its third generation, the TT is still one of the most fun to drive, even if the sleek curves have become a little more angular.
The relaunch of the Mazda MX-5 was greeted with joy by many petrolheads and car lovers across the country. The original MX-5 was everything you could want in an affordable sportscar. Thankfully, the relaunch is just as good as the original, just with more efficient engines. It won’t break the bank, but you’ll break a smile every time you drive it.
Not as aggressively sporty as the TT, the Audi A5 Cabriolet is more casual about its brilliance. The best part of this car is the convertible roof. So when you put the foot down to feel the roar of the engines, you can really feel the wind rushing through your hair. Efficient engines, intelligent in-car technology, the A5 is the fast and fun car for the serious driver.
A rival to the Audi A5, the BMW 4 Series Cabriolet is a more exciting alternative in many ways. The 4 Series is regularly rewarded as the best statement car on the market. Combining sleek professionalism with a performance car edge, this is the car of choice for those who know their cars. Plus, the convertible roof means you can really experience the rush as you drive.
A Skoda that’s fast and fun to drive? Don’t be too shocked. Skoda know what they are doing these days and the Skoda Octavia VRS has everything you need for a thrilling drive. It looks like an angular estate car that has, reluctantly, decided to look after its family. But the engine is no slouch, and despite its bigger size, the car has excellent handling.
Finally, we go British with the Vauxhall Insignia VXR. Quietly, the Insignia has been improving over the last few years, becoming more of a competitor to its German rivals. The VXR brand is a relatively new entry into the market, and the Insignia VXR is one of its best versions. Its turbocharged V6 engine really gives it some grunt. It's possibly the most sophisticated model on the list, thanks to the time and effort Vauxhall have put in before entering the performance market.
Images used for illustration purposes only. Prices are correct at date of publication. Offers subject to availability.
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