Irrespective of the car type, the first thing a buyer should consider when getting a new or used car is reliability. Over the last 20 years, Japanese manufacturers have gained a reputation for building reliable cars. Today, some of the most reliable cars globally are Toyota, Lexus, Honda, and Isuzu. We can point to the Kaizen principle, which most Japanese carmakers follow. Kaizen originated after World War II and directly translated into “good change” or “improvement.” The Kaizen principle is an approach that encourages manufacturers to pay attention to detail and make continuous improvements.
The biggest selling point of most Japanese carmakers is their reliability, which transcends the car category. Whether it is an SUV, sports car, or Kei car, you are sure to find reliable JDM cars wherever you look. And this is not just limited to new cars, even their classic cars possess rugged capabilities. So here, we look at the most reliable classic JDM sports cars you can buy for $10,000.
10 1998 Acura Integra ($8,800)
Acura introduced the Integra in 1986 as an upscale alternative to the Honda Civic, and the model was a success. While the GS, GS-R, and Type R models have more performance, the base model is still fun to drive. The 1998 Acura Integra had a simple exterior design with quad headlights.
For the interior, Acura upholstered the 1998 Integra with leather. The sports car is FWD and uses a 1.8-liter engine with 140 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. With the all-new Integra set to debut in June of 2022, it will compete with luxury cars like the Audi A3 and the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. With the model now making a comeback, classic Acura Integra models make good collectibles because of their reliability, and you can get one for just $8,800.
9 1999 Mazda Miata MX-5 ($9,542)
The Mazda Miata MX-5 has been around since 1990, and it’s still one of the best cheap roadsters to buy used. Classic MX-5 Roadsters are popular and quite common on the tracks. The Miata was redesigned for 1999 and had new styling, more power, a stiffer chassis and wider tracks to improve cornering stability.
The 1999 Miata’s powertrain produces 140 horsepower and an acceleration rate of 0-60mph in 8 seconds, but the car can easily be modified. One reason why the MX-5 has remained relevant over the years is its reliability. You can buy a 1999 Mazda MX-5 for $9,542
8 1987 Toyota Corolla GT-S ($9,300)
Toyota makes different variations of the Corolla all the time, but the sportiest and most exciting variant is probably the GT-S. In Europe, this model is known as the Levin, and in Asia, it’s known as the Sprinter Trueno. However, in the US, the model is badged as the Corolla GT-S.
While regular Corolla sedans are FWD, the GT-S is RWD. Additionally, the Corolla GT-S is lightweight, and its driving dynamics make it a delight for drifters. You can cop this sporty Corolla for $9,300.
7 2005 Nissan 350Z ($8,495)
Nissan’s 350Z is a two-seater sports car with impressive performance. Similar to the MX-5, the Nissan 350Z is popular on racing tracks. The 2005 model is equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 287 horsepower and 274 lb-ft of torque.
Also, the Nissan 350Z can be easily modified, and the aftermarket parts are accessible. With proper maintenance, a Nissan 350Z can last between 190,000 miles and 220,000 miles. While the 2005 Nissan 350Z originally started at around $27,000, you can get a used model for $8,495.
6 1999 Toyota MR2 Turbo ($9,500)
The Toyota MR2 Turbo is characterized by its timeless style. Toyota offered the coupe in Rev 1, Rev 2, and Rev 3 trims. In the early 90s, the MR2 Turbo got recognition for participating in the IMSA Firestone Firehawk Series.
At the IMSA Firestone Firehawk Series, Toyota drivers and the engineering team noticed that the MR2 tended to oversteer. Fortunately, the oversteering issue was remedied before the 1999 model year. Toyota’s 1999 MR2 Turbo is practical, spacious, and produces about 260 horsepower. The roadster is available for $9,500.
5 1990 Nissan Silvia ($8,915)
With over 30 years in service, it’s no surprise that most used Nissan Silvia models are not in perfect condition. Most of these cars need many components like the engines changed. The 1990 Nissan Silvia has above-average reliability and great reviews from owners, but it’s an old car.
However, this makes the 1990 Nissan Silvia a great project car. Though the original engine has 140 horsepower and 152 lb-ft of torque, it can be tuned to increase its performance. The 1990 Nissan Silvia is also rare in the US, so you might want to get this available model for $8,915.
4 2001 Nissan Skyline GT ($7,200)
The Nissan Skyline GT-R is a more popular and sporty Skyline model, but it’s not exactly affordable. In contrast, the Nissan Skyline GT is affordable. While the Nissan Skyline GT-R is a two-door coupe, the Skyline GT is a four-door car.
The 2001 Nissan Skyline GT has an economic engine that produces about 215 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. Being a five-seater, the 2001 Skyline GT is perfect for families and travels. If you’re interested, this vehicle is selling for $7,200.
3 1979 Mazda RX-7 ($7,900)
Classic Mazda RX-7 models have transitioned from used cars to collector cars. According to Hagerty, Mazda RX-7 models from 1993-to 1995, the very fast third-generation cars, can cost you $26,600-$44,000. However, the first-generation RX-7 models from 1979-1985 are quite cheap. The 1979 RX-7 has a steel unibody and a strut-type front suspension system with a rear live axle setup.
The vehicle has a reliable engine with 100 horsepower. Today, the 1979 RX-7 costs $7,900.
2 1993 Mitsubishi GTO Coupe ($7,104)
Many JDM cars offer good quality for affordable prices, and the Mitsubishi GTO Coupe is one of those. For a car built in 1993, the GTO Coupe is impressively fast. The Coupe is powered by a Mitsubishi Cyclone Series 3.0-liter V6 engine. Mitsubishi mated the engine with a German Getrag transmission gearbox.
The result is 276 horsepower, 315 lb-ft of torque, and an acceleration rate of 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds. To add to its torquey performance, the GTO Coupe is a four-wheel-drive configured vehicle with lots of grip. Of course, the 1993 Mitsubishi GTO Coupe is reliable. You can buy this JDM for $7,104.
1 1998 Nissan 240SX ($10,000)
Though Nissan never marketed the 240SX as a drift car, it immediately became popular in drifting communities after its release. Some drifters refer to the 240SX as a beginner’s drift car. The 240SX is built on the Nissan S platform, so it has similarities with other models like the Nissan Silvia and the Nissan 200SX.
Under the hood, the 1998 240SX is fitted with a 2.4-liter engine with 155 horsepower at 5,600rpm and 160 lb-ft of torque at 4,400rpm. From brand and model history, we can say that the 240SX is reliable and easy to fix. The 1998 Nissan 240SX is available for $10,000.
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