We at carwow wanted to settle an argument: with a £15,000 budget, what is the best sporty car on sale in the UK today?
That price point doesn’t offer the wealth of choice it once did, but we’ve found a few gems hiding amongst the sensible machinery. There are always deals to be had on new cars, and using carwow’s configurator, we’ve found discounts on cars which would have otherwise fallen beyond our budget.
5. Mazda 2 115hp Sport Nav
Interestingly, unlike any of the other cars on this list, the Mazda 2 doesn’t have any outwardly sporting pretensions. However, thanks to Mazda’s focus on lightweight construction (it weighs approximately 960kg) and an efficient 1.5-litre engine, the 0-62mph time is a highly respectable 8.7 seconds. If anything, it’s even more fun around the bends than it is along the straight bits, and it possesses one of the most stylish interiors in the class. We can’t help but think what a fantastic hot hatch the 2 would make if it had a little more power…
Using the carwow configurator, we were able to source a top-of-the-range Sport Nav model for £14,619 on finance – a £1,376 discount. Every model comes fully loaded with equipment, so essentially the price you see is the price you’ll get.
4. Abarth 500
Perhaps the most stylish car in our top five, the Abarth 500 holds its own pretty well in the performance stakes too. The 135hp 1.4-litre turbocharged unit helps it sprint from 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds, while a claimed 43.5mpg means trips to the fuel pumps shouldn’t be too frequent for a car of this type.
The cabin is lovely, with just enough retro cool to make it feel really special. Our best deal returned a price of £13,969 for a model with optional 17-inch alloy wheels and finished in white. A £1,211 discount certainly isn’t to be sniffed at – that price remains the same whether you choose to take Fiat’s finance deal or source the payment from elsewhere.
3. Seat Ibiza SC 1.4TSI FR
The SEAT Ibiza FR just edges the Abarth in the 0-62mph by a single tenth of a second, and, like the 500 extracts its performance from a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine. It isn’t exactly the most thrilling car to drive in the world – the steering is numb and the ride is too jittery – but on the plus side, it’s sharply styled and is available in a range of bright youthful colours.
We found a fantastic deal too. Retail prices start at £15,495, but we were offered a brand new Ibiza FR from Solihull SEAT for £12,132 – that’s a £3,363 discount, and more than enough to use the change to load it up with some fancy options!
2. Suzuki Swift Sport
While the SEAT at number 3 majors on style and speed, the Suzuki Swift Sport focuses mainly on driver enjoyment. As a result, it is one of the most underrated performance cars on the market. It’s fun, nippy and most of all, it’s incredibly cheap. There are other cars in the top five which are faster – an 8.7-second 0-62mph time isn’t stunning in this company – but find a twisty British B-road and few can match its thrill-factor.
Using carwow’s configurator we were offered a £799 discount, taking the best price down to £13,700 – only the SEAT is cheaper in our list.
1. Ford Fiesta ST
We’re sure you can forgive us for stretching the budget by a whopping £72 for this one, but 2015’s undisputed performance bargain at the £15,000 mark has to be the Ford Fiesta ST. Testers rate few cars more highly at the moment – body control is fantastic, the steering and brakes are full of feel, and the harder you push, the better it gets. A 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 137mph are by far the strongest of our top five too.
By taking the Fiesta on finance, you’ll receive a £500 deposit contribution from Ford and the overall discount from the retail price for this Race Red model stands at £2,323. With such amazing deals available, the big question is: what are you waiting for?
Making your money perform
Take a look at our car deals page to see other great discounts from carwow, then head over to our car configurator to see how much you could save on your next car.