26 Midlife Crisis Cars That Won’t Break The Bank

A midlife crisis can present itself in several different ways. When someone reaches a certain age, they start to question the career they have, what they believe in, and wonder where all the time has gone. To counteract their lowly state, a person may do something rash, like buying one or two sports cars. A midlife crisis, if it happens, is unavoidable. In many cases, so is the subsequent car purchase. That doesn’t mean car owners have to beg, borrow and steal every month just to make car payments on a luxury sports car they needed to feel better in life.

Updated April 2022: Used car prices have been all over the place in the last few years. And while lots of cars have skyrocketed in price, plenty of exciting ones are now also cheap. We’ve updated this list with even more midlife crisis-worthy cars enthusiasts can buy and enjoy for cheap.

The truth is, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives capable of lifting one up from a midlife slump. While it’d be nice to roll down the street in a Lamborghini Huracan, those cost a fortune. In the end, a Huracan can cost up to $240,000. So unless owners absolutely need to go 0 to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds, the market is full of used automobiles that’ll satisfy. Really, it boils down to feeling young again. Cruising in a different ride — preferably with the top down — makes drivers feel like a kid again. While the following isn’t exactly the first type of cars people think of getting during a midlife crisis, these run for $15,000 or less on the used market in 2022.

26 1990 Chevrolet Corvette C4

1984 Chevrolet C4 Corvette Sports Car
Via: Mecum

Everybody loves a clean, classic Corvette, especially those who are a tad older than the rest of us, but they seem to be unobtainable for anyone with a salary of fewer than six figures, but we have some news for you. The C4 Corvette from the ’90s has dropped significantly in price in the last few years, thus you can pick up a ’90 topless Corvette with less than 90,000 miles for just $8,500. You can finally indulge yourself by driving a classic V8-powered American sports car without financially crippling yourself.

25 1988 Alfa Romeo Spider

Alfa Romeo Spider Series II
Via classicmotorsports.com

Let’s say you’d rather get behind the wheel of a foreign sports car, instead of an American one, but refuse to pay more than 15 grand, then the Alfa Romeo Spider is the answer to your prayers. The Spider was a fantastic little Italian sports car with a retractable top, and it came equipped with a preppy little four-cylinder motor. Sure, it might not have been blisteringly fast in a straight line, but for just $12,000, you’ll be receiving one hell of a fun car you can absolutely thrash down the tight twisty roads.

Related: Alfa Romeo Needs To Bring Back The Spider Quadrifoglio

24 1998 Jaguar XJ8

1999 Jaguar XJ8
via Honest John Classics

Not everyone has the same taste, and for that exact reason, you might want to trade in your run-of-the-mill Camry for a luxurious 4-door sedan, or mini-limousine if you will. The Jaguar XJ8 had a production run for 5 years between 1998 and 2003, and out of all the different ones for sale on the used market, we’ve found the perfect one. It’s a 1998 Jaguar XJ8 L, and it only costs $7,000. This one came with a potent 290 hp 4.0-liter V8, but more importantly, it’s the long-wheelbase version. That means extra legroom, extra luxuries, and extra road presence – not to mention our example was finished in white with a complimentary cream interior.

23 2007 Ford Mustang

The Fifth-Gen 2006 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
Via: Mecum

Just because someone is on a budget doesn’t mean they still can’t get an eye-catching car. The Ford Mustang checks off all the boxes as an ideal car option for those going through a midlife crisis.

We’ve had a look through CarGurus, and we’ve found numerous V8 convertible Mustangs selling for well below $15,000, and if you’re not too stressed about having six cylinders under your hood, those are even cheaper!

Though many original owners were initially drawn to the car for its performance, it might not be in the best shape on the used market. Still, for the price and performance of a Mustang, there’s really no better way to treat oneself in the middle ages.

22 2006 Nissan 350Z

2003 Nissan 350Z
Via mecum.com

It’s not uncommon to see a Nissan 350Z on the road. They’ve been in production since 2002, and the fact that it was around for 7 years is a testament to how much drivers love this car. As MSN points out, not much has changed since its debut.

Even the 2006 model comes with a 3.8-liter V6 engine. That means it can do a robust 287 horsepower. For precise handling and a higher boost in performance than others in this price range, the 350Z is an attractive option for those suffering from a bad case of the midlife blues, and only willing to spend $10,000.

Related: Here’s What We Now Know About The New Nissan Z Car

21 2010 Chrysler 300C

Via: Netcarshow.com

One of the more sophisticated cars to make it on the list is the Chrysler 300C. It’s the car Walter White from Breaking Bad drove. Although hopefully, those who get one aren’t in the same line of business as White.

Although the more recent generation is going to run up to $20,000 on the used car market, the previous generation will run about half as much. This is a car that will give owners luxury comfort. With a spacious interior that provides 40 inches of rear-seat legroom for passengers, it’ll be easy to convince the family to get on board.

20 2007 Mazda MX-5

Grey 2009 Mazda MX-5
Via Mecum Auctions

Chances are, one will find mostly older generations of the Mazda MX-5 on the used car market. The good news is that not much has changed between generations. This two-seater convertible comes with an optional six-speed manual for those who’ve been stuck with automatic cars for years and boasts a rewarding rear-wheel-drive layout that makes driving it even more pleasurable.

The third generation has a 2.0-liter that can do 158 hp, which isn’t bad for a little roadster. It also gets 26 MPG in cities and 33 MPG on highways. For those looking for performance and agility in an affordable sports car, look no further.

19 2010 Dodge Challenger

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 quarter front
Via AutoHunter

As far as muscle cars go, the Dodge Challenger RT is easily one of the most recognizable. It’s stylish, fun, and perfect for those looking to lift their spirits as they get older, and right now, the car is still in its third generation.

Prices vary drastically on Challengers, and there are a ton that have been crashed for sale on CarGurus. Throughout the rubble, we’ve found a few excellent examples selling for around $11,000, like this HEMI V8-powered one from 2010.

Though owners will have to accept 100,000 miles already on the vehicle right off the bat. The fuel economy on these isn’t what they get high marks for. Though without a doubt, they’ll turn heads and make car owners feel good about what they’re driving.

18 2007 Jaguar XKR

Jaguar XKR Convertible - Front
Via Mecum Auctions

Every once in a while, a special automobile comes along that’s the perfect blend of performance and beauty. In this case, it also happens to be affordable. The Jaguar XKR offers owners the luxury of leather seats, navigation, Bluetooth, and a high-caliber audio system. The 2007 models come equipped with a 4.2-liter V8 and 420 hp.

That makes it one of the highest-performing cars on the list. Although some sell for as high as $20,000, it’s not uncommon to find ones on the lower spectrum, even as low as $10,000. That makes this a no-brainer for those who want to put a positive spin on aging.

17 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8

White 2012 Hyundai Genesis
Via Cars & Bids

Although a used 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 won’t have a lot of the improvements in comparison to later models, it’s still a fun car to own; and affordable since they sell for around $10,000. Though it’s worth noting some aren’t fans of the manual transmission.

Therefore, The Car Connection recommends the six-speed automatic instead for those in the market for a used one. There’s even a 2.0 -liter version for those who want to save even more while sacrificing a bit of power. Not to mention, this car is pretty. While it may not be the most attractive vehicle on the list, it promises to deliver on all fronts.

16 2005 BMW Z4

Rear 3/4 view of a silver E85 Z4 cornering hard
Via: BMW

Known for luxury cars, BMW might scare away potential car owners going through a midlife crisis. Though the BMW Z4 is cheaper than one might think on the used car market, especially if it’s a first-generation. Those will typically run less than $12,000, depending on how many miles are on it.

Tthey come in two different styles: roadster or coupe. Either way, owners will get a car that handles well no matter which one they find. It’s not a bad-looking car either, which Car Buying Strategies reports, won the Design of the Year Award for the first generation back in 2003.

Related: 10 Reasons Why Every Gearhead Should Own A BMW Z4

15 2015 Scion FR-S (Or Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86)

2013 Scion FR-S

Whether it’s called the Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ, or Scion FR-S, they’re all basically the same car, but with slight differences in value. The Scion FR-S is available for anything between $10,000 and $15,000. Those who like working on cars or making alterations will like the Scion FR-S, which is a good template for future upgrades.

It’s also a speedy rear-wheel drive that comes with a 2.0-liter engine that can do 200 horsepower. Not bad for the price, especially when the 2015 models are still affordable. Plus, the rear seats fold up to give some extra cargo space, making this vehicle more than meets the eyes. For those looking for performance and practicality, the Scion FR-S will satisfy.

14 2012 BMW 3-Series

Red 2011 BMW 3 Series (E92)
Via BMW Blog

In spite of the reputation BMW has garnered for making high-end, expensive luxury cars, some BMWs made the list. The BMW 3-Series is one of those affordable options for those going through a midlife crisis.

Though try to steer clear of a few models from 2007-2011. Depending on the model and year, some of these BMWs had recalls issued over the blower motor system. The good news is, according to ABC News, the dealer is willing to do the repairs at no extra cost, but we’d still recommend going for something out of 2012, whether that’s the sedan, coupe, or hardtop convertible.

13 2001 Porsche Boxster

1996 Porsche Boxster
Via newsroom.porsche.com

A Porsche 911 is perhaps the most quintessential automobile one could buy during a midlife crisis. For those who want to fulfill this stereotype, they’ve lucked out. However, a Porsche Boxster is a way to fulfill those dreams. So long as they’re content with a used first-generation.

Since arriving in the late ’90s, the Boxster has garnered a reputation for being cheaper than its other Porsche siblings. That isn’t the only appeal though. With great handling, this agile car is great for a trip down a windy road. Best of all, it’s not going to hurt any retirement plans down the line as most of them sell for under $10,000.

12 2010 Audi TT

2nd Gen Grey Audi TT Roadster
Via: Autogaleria

A used Audi TT sells for much cheaper than most would expect, but prices are destined to soar as the TT has been discontinued. This sports car is enough to meet the expectations of anyone going through a midlife crisis.

It isn’t hard to find a second-generation TT for less than $14,000 on the used market though at the time of writing this. These come with a 2.0-liter engine that does 200 hp, as Cars.com reports. That makes this one of the more powerful cars to make this list, which isn’t bad considering the price tag.

11 2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT Coupe RWD

Chevrolet Camaro - Front
Via Mecum Auctions

The Chevrolet Camaro 2LT Coupe is going to impress car owners when they get a hold of one. What’s even more impressive though is the used price tag. A 2010 model is available as low as $13,000 with less than 80,000 miles on it, which is a huge bargain.

With a decent fuel economy of 18 MPG in cities and 29 MPG on highways, car owners will want to keep this vehicle around for years to come. Plus, its V6 engine isn’t a total pushover. There’s also some comfort inside with leather seats.

10 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK 350

Mercedes CLK350 - Rear
Via Bring A Trailer

This may be the first and only Mercedes-Benz on this list. Though many will be pleasantly surprised to find a Mercedes-Benz at all. The Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 may not be the best bang for one’s buck available, but it’s going to please nonetheless, especially for those who are more interested in the luxury aspects of their cars.

The 2008 models are generally listed for a paltry 9 grand. Buyers have the option of the convertible or couple styles depending on their preference. With a 3.5-liter V6 engine that can do 268 hp, the incentives are high. There’s always the chance that extra costs will be necessary for maintenance though, so it’s something to keep in mind.

9 2004 BMW M3

BMW M3 E46
Via Quality Cars Today Ltd

A word to the wise when buying used: some could end up costing more in the long run when it comes to maintenance. That’s also the reason why you can pick up E46 M3s for less than that $15,000 mark. These vehicles have a 3.3-liter straight-six that produces 333 hp, and that’ll suffice any gearhead’s performance cravings.

Even if it’s not decked out in luxury features, it’s going to give drivers the same feel and performance they’d find in a new high-end sports car. Only, in this case, they’ll pay about three or four times less than they would be getting the latest and greatest.

Related: 10 Best BMW M3 Models To Buy Used, Ranked

8 2007 Saab 9-3 Convertible

2006 SAAB 9-3 Convertible
Via: Bring A Trailer

When the Saab 9-3 2.0T SE first hit the market, a buyer had to pay at least $40,000 to own one. Now, it’s easy to find a used one that’s priced anywhere from $4,000-$9,000.

Buyers have an option of going with 5 or 6-speed manual transmissions or a 5-speed automatic. Although it doesn’t excel per se on performance (it goes from 0 to 60 mph in about 9 seconds), it’s still a lot of fun. Some of the models available may be older, but they’ll be a lot more affordable than other cars on this list.

7 2009 Mini Cooper S

Mini Cooper S - Front
Via Bring A Trailer

In spite of all the hate Mini Coopers get, these little hatchbacks are fun to drive. They’re some of the best cars on the used market today, plus, they usually run less than $8,000. Since it debuted in 2001, the Mini Hatch has been a popular model (which was simply dubbed, Mini, back then).

The fact that these little cars are still around and selling well says a lot about the car’s longevity and style. Not only are these available in hardtops, but in convertibles too. The Mini Cooper S is sure to satisfy those who feel down and out about getting older.

BMW M2 Competition

10 Extremely Fun Sports Cars With Great Gas Mileage

Read Next

About The Author