Once upon a time, sports cars were the smallest vehicles on the road. Economy cars weren’t yet a necessity, and the massive muscle car craze hadn’t hit the country. Instead of opting for massive engines, the best way to build a sports car, it seemed, was to lower the weight as much as possible. The popularity of such a car has definitely had its ebb and flow over the years, but something alluring about the small sports car keeps drivers coming back. Navigate with ease, accelerate quickly, and blaze up the road in these small sports cars.
When the Miata first rolled off assembly lines in 1989, it was a throwback to a bygone era of two-seater sports cars, and one of the only such vehicles left on the market. Over the next 25 years, Mazda has since perfected the Miata, seemingly shrinking it down more and more each year. The 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata measures in at just 154 inches in length with a width of just 68 inches, making it one of the smallest vehicles available today.
Though small in stature and weighing in at just 2,429 pounds, the Miata still has a surprising amount of giddy-up. Behind a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, this beauty can bolt from zero to 60 in just 6.1 seconds, top out at 133 mph, and give its larger rivals a sure run for their money.
Ford Focus RS
Since 1998, the Ford Focus has been the Detroit automaker’s flagship compact sedan, offering a small car with excellent features that appeals to commuters and youngsters. However, it’s the Ford Focus RS that’s grabbed the attention of driving purists. Since 2009, this rally car-inspired variant of the Focus has been tearing up American roadways, offering superb handling and acceleration. The 2016 edition also launched a “drift” button, allowing drivers to test their drifting prowess.
The Focus RS has nearly 1,000 pounds on the Miata, and with a length of 172 inches and a width of 72 inches, it’s definitely a bit bigger. However, it still accommodate five passengers if necessary without sacrificing performance. With a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the Focus RS pumps out a whopping 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque for a scintillating 4.6 zero to 60 and a top speed of 165 mph.
The BMW Z Series has always been a head-turner, blending European styling with just two doors. An elongated front-end belies the hearty engine underneath, and both the hardtop and convertible versions are more than enough to please. Though the Z is in a brief hiatus while it undergoes a total overhaul, you can still get your hands on the Z4, made from 2009 to 2016. This beauty measures in at just 166 inches long and 70 inches wide, and with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, it gets up to 155 mph and zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds without any problems.
While the demand for brawny, hefty sports vehicles with obscenely large engines isn’t likely to die down soon, these vehicles prove that there’s still some room left for the little guy.