Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A black 2020 Dodge Charger is doing a burn out on a racetrack.

Fun to Drive Used Cars

Just because you’re on a budget does not mean you can’t have a vehicle that is practical and fun to drive. There are plenty of used cars available that are under twenty-five thousand dollars that can help put a smile on your face every time you are on the open road. We have found that there are plenty of used cars for sale that can take on a twisty backroad with poise, throw you back in your seat at a stoplight, dance through tight quarters, cruise in utmost comfort and style, or even venture off-road. The options are as varied and deep as what one can do with a car or truck, and in every case, those options lead to plenty of enjoyment for years to come.

Dodge Charger/Challenger

American muscle has had the market for cheap horsepower cornered for decades, and the Charger and its two-door cousin, the Challenger, are prime examples of this. Putting out over four hundred horsepower in some of their more powerful yet still readily available forms, these cars are extremely popular and extremely well known for the brute force they can bring to bear.

Agility is admittedly an afterthought at best for these machines, but their interiors are large, and their aggressive nature is obvious. The Charger is the most muscular-looking four-door sedan on the market, while the Challenger adds just a tad more sleekness with the removal of those two doors. While the Charger’s body is a modern take on the muscle car, the Challenger is essentially a scaled-up version of the 1970 model from which it takes its name. And it has scaled up torque and power to boot.

Chrysler 300C

The 300C is built on the same platform as the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger, but with a more luxurious focus. While the interiors of the Dodge siblings are spacious and comfortable, the 300C is downright plush inside. This is one of the last remaining full-size sedans easily found on the market, with the old-school paradigm of American luxury: a couch on wheels.

While most of these couches on wheels are powered by Pentastar V6s and other engines that do the job well, there are V8-powered 300Cs that are just as rowdy as their more overtly muscley cousins at Dodge. In any case, the primary selling points of the 300C are its stoically cool styling and plush interior space, making it the ideal cruising machine regardless of what’s under the hood.

Chrysler 200 AWD

The final generation of the Chrysler 200 was a dramatic upgrade from the car it replaced, sporting an improved interior and vastly improved powertrain and drivetrain. Those two attributes are what set the 200 apart if you can find one that was properly optioned. The all-wheel drive variants are powered by a Pentastar V6, a punchy and lightweight engine that is actually rather oversized for a car the size of the 200. Simply put, the all-wheel drive 200s are sleepers from the factory, appearing as normal vehicles but with far more grip and acceleration than anyone would expect they could have at a glance.

They look like quite a respectable sedan, with sleek lines and a rather premium finish. Yet few things on the street give the kick of acceleration like an all-wheel drive 200.

A red 2018 Ford Fiesta is driving through a city after looking at used cars for sale.

Chevy Bolt EV

It would still be a surprise to many that the Bolt EV is not just faster off the line than a lot of sports cars from the past two decades, but that it can be just as much fun around town. While not as light as its small-seeming exterior would lead you to believe, the instant blast of electric torque available perpetually at the command of your right foot is intoxicatingly engaging. And this is in a vehicle that has plenty of space for friends, family, and cargo at the same time and will never need to visit a filling station. Charging overnight at home, it has far lower running costs than normal vehicles, yet is more convenient for running around town on the daily.

Dodge Ram 2WD

Four-wheel drive pickup trucks certainly have their uses, but the cheaper variants without that ability are generally more fun to drive. With less understeer and more possible adventures when the gas pedal is pressed, the lighter and more basic two-wheel drive trucks definitely have their place. In addition, all the standard pickup truck utilities are still available and present. If one stays on the pavement, four-wheel drive isn’t actually that necessary. But two-wheel drive can more easily put a smile on your face without the extra cost a four-wheel drive capable truck requires.

Jeep Wrangler

The Wrangler, especially the JK variant, has become an incredible dual-role or even triple-role vehicle. First of all, it is an incredibly competent off-road vehicle, mountain goating up and down terrain as if it was flat and clear of obstacles. Second, it is a great summertime cruiser, as almost every cabin body panel is removable, including the doors. Finally, it is still a comfortable and amenity-filled daily driver, with reliability and dependability to spare. No other vehicle can do all those things from the factory for the prices JK Wranglers are now at. They are a great idea for those who love the great outdoors.

BMW 3 Series

The 3 series, specifically the E90 generation, is many things to many people. It is a luxury car, a driver’s car, a status symbol, and a performance machine. The inline sixes that are available to power this car are silky smooth and demonstrably powerful, moving the medium-weight machines effortlessly. BMW took great care as always to promote weight balance, and as such, there are few cars that are as intuitive and easy to drive fast as an E90 3 Series. There are some caveats, as the standard issues with BMW maintenance and that obsession with balance leading to certain parts being placed in locations they wouldn’t normally be, but the E90 remains a good family of vehicles to look into if a driver’s car or performance machine interests you.

A grey 2020 Jeep Wrangler is parked in the forest next to two hikers.

Ford Fiesta

The Fiesta’s lightweight and compact design makes it something of a riotous party to drive, its character nimble and quick. This kind of eye-popping and grin-inducing maneuverability makes it capable of outrunning some sports cars in competitions of agility such as Autocross, all while being able to get a full week’s worth of groceries for the household on the way back from the race.

Find Your Used Car

You don’t need to break the bank to break out a smile. Modern cars can be fun, agile, and even fast while still making perfect daily drivers. Most of us can only have one car, but with easy-to-find and highly capable gems like these, one is all you’ll ever actually need.

That said, fast and agile isn’t the only kind of fun out there. Cruising with friends or heading out into the wilderness are also things some of these vehicles excel at. No matter what vehicular fun is for you, these cars promise a good time for everyone.