5 cheap cars you should be afraid to race against
First cheap sleeper car is the 2006 Chevy Impala SS. This is a car that kept the old school 1960s tradition of inserting a powerful motor in a car that really didn’t seem like a it had any business carrying one. Between the regular Impala and the SS there isn’t much of a styling difference outside. The SS has bigger wheels, diamond pattern grille inserts, bright exhaust tips and a small wing and that’s about it. You can easily make it more of a sleeper by removing the SS badges and you’re secret will be safe until you decide to floor it at the next traffic light. But in order to floor it without getting embarrassed you need a car that can perform and that’s exactly what the Impala SS does thanks to it’s 5.3L V8 engine that produces 303 HP and 323 lb-ft of torque. The Impala SS is able to complete 0-60 run in around 5.5 seconds, and can sprint a quarter mile in the high 13 seconds and low 14 seconds. Plenty to like about those numbers but there are things that might turn off some car enthusiast. A manual transmission isn’t available, and instead you’re left with a an 4 speed automatic along with FWD. But what about torque steering? You see normally when you have a front wheel drive car with a powerful engine you might experience the front wheels turn either left or right upon takeoff. But thankfully Chevy had programmed the traction control to counter the loss of grip making torque steering on the Impala SS practically non-existent. You can buy one these for a low at 5,000$.
The next cheap sleeper is the 2006 Mazdaspeed 6. Definitely a car that carries stealthy performance but sadly was heavily underrated and unappreciated during it’s 2 year cycle. Maybe because Mazda choose not to run many campaign ads. The marketing for tht Speed 6 just sucked. It’s a well put together car if you ask me. It’s quick but also its civilized side and posses plenty of room for the family inside. The Speed 6 comes equipped with a 2.3L Direct Injection turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that produces 274 HP and 280 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to it’s power and all wheel drive system the Speed 6 can achieve a 0-60mph run in around 5.5 seconds. And can run the ¼ Mile in around 14 seconds. Best of all that it comes equipped with manual gearbox, in fact no automatic version was offered at the time. Of course thanks to it’s AWD the Speed 6 specializes in traction but it also features a multimode active torque system that places the car in one of three drive modes automatically based on how your car is performing in it’s given environment. Best part is you can find them for around 6,000$ with decent amount of miles on them.
3rd car on the list is the 2003 Jaguar XJR. Some people might not agree with me that the XJR is a sleeper car. Sure it doesn’t look slow by any means but is also doesn’t look like it can tear up most cars on the street with ease. This car here packs a punch and reveals it’s true identity when you floor all while keeping you very comfortable inside thanks to its air suspension that was fitted all around providing adaptive damping as well as rear self leveling. You also get some killer standard features like heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a power rear sunblind, an Alpine audio system and radar based adaptive cruise control.
And best of all is the engine that it carries. It’s a 4.2L supercharged engine that produces 400HP and 399lb-ft of torque. It can do a 0-60mph in as low 4.7 seconds and the ¼ in the mid 13 seconds. One of the reason the XJR can move so quickly is thanks to it’s all aluminum structure which at the time made it much lighter than its competitors. Not only is the XJR very quick off the line but it can easily morph from double to triple digits at unbelievable speed. Just know that if you’re looking to buy a XJR reliability and maintenance can be a concern as most used Jaguars can be. I mean there is a reason this car retailed for around 80,000$ when it came out and now you can find them for as low 8,000$ with around 100,000 miles on it.
4th cheap sleeper car is the 2007 Lexus IS350. That is pretty much Japan’s version of the BMW’s 3 series without being noticeably. It perfectly camouflages in the body of the more commonly seen IS250. While sadly only the smaller IS250 offers a manual transmission the IS350 does offer wheel mounted paddle shifts to give those looking for more of an engaging driving experience. When it comes to performance the IS350 comes equipped with a 3.5L V6 that produces 306 HP and 277lb-ft of torque, can perform a 0-60mph in just under 5 seconds. According to Road and Track they were able to achieve 4.9 while other less reputable sources were able to achieve 4.7 seconds. You get speed without having to sacrifice comfortability. And of course reliability. I mean it is Lexus after all. It does come in a RWD and thanks to it’s rack and pinion steering gears helps provide linear steering response., precise control and better straight line stability. And because the exhaust nose practically absent the IS350 provides quite acceleration which makes it that much more of a sleeper. Most of them sell for a little over 10,000$ with around 120,000 miles on it.
5th cheap sleeper car is the 2006 Honda Accord V6 EX Sedan. While this car looks a bit bland in the looks the department it’s a very fun car to drive. I mean that’s kind of what a sleeper is isn’t it. With so many accords out on the road this car can easily become forgettable and unnoticeable. But what really turns this car into a sleeper is the option of 6 speed manual transmission. Moving on to performance, the Accord comes equipped with 3L V6 VTech engine that produces 244HP and 221lb-ft of torque. It can sprint from 0-60mph in around 5.9 seconds. While the numbers don’t really sound that impressice back in 2006 this was considered pretty fast. I mean even today that Accord would against many ricers on the road. If you can find yourself a manual V6 EX Sedan just know you’re in for a good time. The Accord has many years of it refinement, you get 5 star overall crash safety scores and it’s no secret that the Accord consistently holds top honors in the long term reliability studies. You can easily find them for just under 6,000$ and if you want 6 speed manual version you pay a few thousand more. This is perfect for a family car that offers all the practicality features you need while still having the fun to keep things interesting.