Top 11 Cheap JDM Cars – Get the Best Value for Your Money!

Source: Youtube/Ideal Media

Are you looking for a car that packs in all the style and performance of a Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) vehicle but without breaking the bank? If so, then you’re in luck! We’ve gathered together some of the best JDM cars available today that won’t break your budget.

But how do you know which are worth your money? After all, there are many cars on offer – each with its own unique features and benefits. To help make this daunting task easier, we’ve put together a list of the top 11 cheap JDM cars to get you started.  From speed to style, these cars offer all the practicality you need – ensuring that you find exactly what you want!

So if you’re ready to find out what great value these vehicles can provide, read on to discover more about our picks for getting the most bang for your buck!

List of Top 11 Best Budget JDM Cars 

These vehicles have a thriving potential market where you may find a wide range of alternatives, some of which are really inexpensive. Here we go with a list of the top 11 cheap JDM cars.

1. Nissan 300ZX Z32

Source: Ultimatespecs

Recent years have seen a resurgence in interest in the Nissan 300ZX, namely the Z32 version that ran from 1990 to 1996, thanks largely to the impending release of the new Nissan Z and the general revival of all the ’90sthings. 

Company Nissan
Model Nissan 300 ZX Z32 Twin Turbo
Engine Power (hp)279 HP 
Maximum torque375.0 Nm 
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 5-speed Manual
AspirationTurbo
Top Speed 250 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h5.9 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy11.1 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Average Price Around $ 20,000
Overview: Nissan 300 ZX Z32 Twin Turbo

The Nissan 300ZX is a veritable icon among drifters. Part of what contributes to its spaceship-like longevity, power, and the low price tag is its design. It’s no surprise that this high-powered car is now considered to be among the best drifting machines ever made. We recommend this car as a great entry point into drifting for those on a budget.

You can still get non-turbo 300ZXs for a little under $10,000, though their prices will creep up toward $20,000 as mileage increases. In the range of $40,000 to $60,000, you’ll find the greatest Turbos, but you can also get a respectable one for around $20,000.

2. Toyota Crown

Source: favcars

The Crown is unique among modern Toyota vehicles because it has a recognizable brand badge; the present model is easily recognizable thanks to the stylized crown insignia on the grille and steering wheel. Toyopet Crown was the first Toyota vehicle to be shipped to the United States in 1958.

Company Toyota
Model Toyota Crown VIII (S130) 2.5 AT (1987-1991)
Engine Power (hp)180 HP 
Maximum torque235 Nm
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 4-speed Automatic
Top Speed 200 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h11.0 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy10.1 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Average Price Around $ 10,000 
Overview: Toyota Crown VIII (S130) 2.5 AT (1987-1991)

When Americans think of Toyota cars, the reliable Camry is the brand’s flagship model. In Japan, however, the Crown has been around since 1955 and remains the industry standard. The Crown was a Japanese domestic market (JDM) exclusive until the late ’70s when Corona succeeded it.

The Crown isn’t as wacky as the typical Japanese domestic market vehicle, but if you’re looking for a distinctive sedan, the S130, which can be purchased for about $10,000, is the most recent model in the import window.

3. Subaru Impreza WRX

Source: automotrices

Believe it or not, you can still snag a great deal on older cars. In 1992, Subaru made history by introducing its first Impreza model to the world. This remarkable car continues to be an incredible bargain even today!

Company Subaru
Model Impreza (GD) 2.0 WRX AWD (2000-2003)
Engine Power (hp)215 HP 
Maximum torque292 Nm
AspirationTurbo + Intercooler
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 5 speed Manual
Top Speed 230 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h6.2 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy10.2 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Average Price $ 8000 -10,000 
Overview: Impreza (GD) 2.0 WRX AWD (2000-2003)

The Japanese Subaru Impreza has cemented its legendary status through remarkable domination of the international rally circuit in the 90s, winning multiple World Rally Championships between 1995 and 2003. Not only does it have a stellar motorsport history, but its practical applications also make it an attractive investment for anyone looking for their next set of wheels!

Subaru Impreza’s WRX variant gives you an out-of-this-world, adrenaline-pumping ride at an unbeatable price. Rally-inspired engineering makes this Japanese Domestic Market vehicle a cost-effective option – all for under $10,000. That’s not enough? No worries – there are also boosted versions of the STi model if you want something more high-end and luxurious.

4. Honda Beat

Source: japanesenostalgiccar

The Honda Beat, built from 1991 to 1996, is a small mid-engined roadster with seating for two people. Due to its small size and underpowered engine, the Beat falls under the category of “kei cars,” a subset of automobiles that allowed its Japanese owners to pay less in road taxes.

Company Honda 
Model Honda Beat (1991-1996)
Engine Power (hp)180 HP 
Maximum torque60 Nm
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 5-speed Manual
Top Speed 135 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h13.1 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy6.0 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Number of Seats2
Average Price $ 7000 – 10,000 
Overview: Honda Beat

The Beat’s rarity and individuality make it a prime candidate for the title of “great JDM car.” It’s still one of the road’s most unusual designs. Over 30,000 were manufactured in the 1990s, but almost all of them stayed in Japan. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find one on the roads of the United States or anywhere else in the globe.

The 3-cylinder engine shouldn’t dissuade you, especially given its increasing value due to rarity. This little roadster has outstanding handling, so experienced drivers can still have a lot of fun with it.

5. Mazda Miata 

Source: Pinterest/Rob Smith

The Miata and its enduring appeal as a sporty car are well-known to everyone. All of these cars, whether you go with a 30-year-old model or a brand-new MX-5, have proven reliability and provide ideal starting points for customization.

Company Mazda  
Model Mazda MX 5 Miata (NA) 1.6i 
Engine Power (hp)113 HP 
Maximum torque135 Nm
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 5-speed Manual
Top Speed 195 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h8.7 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy7.8 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Number of seats 2
Average Price $ 3000 – 10,000 
Overview: Mazda MX 5 Miata (NA) 1.6i 

Mazda essentially ripped off the greatest features of old British roadsters when designing the first-generation Miata. Still, it was practical enough to use daily and was genuinely trustworthy. Despite not having the most power, these vehicles are a blast to drive on a track or a winding road because they weigh in at a little over 2200 pounds. One of the finest parts is that a superb condition 1990s Miata can be had for about $6000, making it one of the cheapest convertibles you can purchase.

6. Toyota Soarer

Source: favcars

A personal luxury GT, the Toyota Soarer, was manufactured by Toyota from 1981 to 2005 for the Japanese market. The Soarer debuted at the 1980 Osaka International Motor Show under the moniker “EX-8.” From February 1981 through December 1985, the 2.0L, 2.8L, or 3.0L DOHC I-6 models of the Toyota Soarer Z10 series were manufactured.

Company Toyota
Model Toyota Soarer 2.5 GT-T (1998)
Engine Power (hp)276 HP 
Maximum torque378.0 Nm 
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 5-speed Manual
AspirationTurbo
Top Speed 220 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h6.3 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy11.4 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Average Price $ 6000 – 20,000 
Overview: Toyota Soarer 2.5 GT-T (1998)

The Toyota Soarer JDM car temporarily existed on US land, despite being sold under a different name. At a period when JDM automobiles had developed a reputation for cost, the inevitable “cheap” tag wasn’t exactly helping when attempting to join the upmarket vehicle market.

As a result, the major Japanese automakers came up with new names for their more luxurious models: Acura for Honda, Infiniti for Nissan, and Lexus for Toyota. This opulent Toyota Soarer was offered worldwide as the SC430 and was temporarily sold by Lexus under the SC300 name. The early JDM models range in price from $6,000 to $20,000. They came with different customization and engine choices.

7. Mitsubishi Starion

The Mitsubishi Starion is a two-door, four-seat hatchback sports vehicle that was produced and sold by the company from 1982 to 1989. In North America, badge-engineered variations of the Starion were sold under the Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth names as the Conquest.

Source: flickr/Kevin Cederwall
Company Mitsubishi 
Model Mitsubishi Starion 2.0 Turbo (1982-1985)
Engine Power (hp)168 HP 
Maximum torque245 Nm
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 5-speed Manual
Top Speed 220 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h7.6 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy9.6 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Number of Seats2
Average Price under $10,000
Overview: Mitsubishi Starion 2.0 Turbo

The Starion, one of the best Japanese domestic market automobiles under $10,000 in 2022, is well-known for more than simply its collectible value. It’s the only rear-wheel drive car Mitsubishi has ever made, and it packs a serious punch. It’s a huge step up over front-wheel drive but still falls short of the performance of an all-wheel drive (AWD) (FWD).

Cars on the verge of becoming collectible are great investments since they may be fixed up and enjoyed for years to come. So you should watch out for the Starion ESI-R model. Impressive features include retractable headlamps and a five-speed manual transmission.

8. Eunos Cosmo

Source: Pinterest

The name Cosmo is well-known in the rotary engine community. The Cosmo was Mazda’s flagship car and the first vehicle to feature the company’s groundbreaking rotary engine.

Company Mazda 
Model Mazda Eunos Cosmo 20B Type E
Engine Power (hp)280 HP 
Maximum torque402.0 Nm 
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 4-speed Automatic
AspirationTurbocharger, Intercooler
Top Speed 250 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h5.6 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy12.4 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Average Price Around $ 13000
Overview: Mazda Eunos Cosmo 20B Type E

With its strong fourth-place performance at Germany’s Nürburgring’s spectacular Marathon de la Route endurance event, the original Cosmo prepared the way for the first and only car with a rotary engine to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which was also made in Japan.

The latest iteration of this vehicle retailed in the United States for roughly $13,000 and was offered in Japan under Mazda’s premium brand Eunos.

9. Honda/Acura Integra (3rd Gen)

Source: bringatrailer

Japan’s Honda Motor Company built the Integra (Integura) from 1985 until 2006 and again starting in 2021. In North America, it was sold under the brand name Acura Integra. During its entire manufacturing, critics and buyers praised Integra’s performance and handling. 

Company Honda 
Model Acura Integra 1994 Sports Coupe 1.8i
Engine Power (hp)142 HP 
Maximum torque172.0 Nm 
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 4-speed Automatic, 5-speed manual
AspirationTurbocharger, Intercooler
Top Speed 210 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h7.3 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy27 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Average Price Around $ 15000
Overview: Acura Integra 1994 Sports Coupe 1.8i

This Japanese-made front-wheel-drive automobile has a prestigious history and a formidable reputation. It must bear this responsibility with grace. The range-topping Type-R, in particular, is destined to become a legend despite the car’s simple appearance and relatively small engine.

You won’t find a better bargain JDM automobile than this one. This is the best drift vehicle you can buy. Because it’s so expensive to replace if broken or even to fix yourself, it’s a relief to know it’s incredibly durable and unlikely to fail under normal use. If you want to start drifting but don’t have a tonne of cash, this is the automobile for you.

10. Toyota Celica

Source: boldautos

Toyota released the sixth generation Celica in 1993 as a first step toward combining visual aspects with the Toyota Supra. Only the ST and GT versions of the Toyota Celica were sold in the United States. 

Company Toyota
Model Toyota Celica T200 2.0i GT-4 Turbo 4WD
Engine Power (hp)239 HP 
Maximum torque302.0 Nm 
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 5-speed manual
AspirationTurbo
Top Speed 240 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h6.1 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy9.5 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Average Price Around $ 6000
Overview: Toyota Celica T200 2.0i GT-4 Turbo 4WD

Despite having a number of available engines, only the turbocharged version was made available to buyers in the United States. In its place came an inline-four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 2.2 liters, which proved both powerful and very adjustable. 

At about $5,500, the 1996 Toyota Celica is a pretty big deal, with its long and rich history and ease of maintenance. This is a great choice for those who enjoy driving Japanese sports cars like the Celica and wish to modify one for use in competitive racing.

11. Lexus IS I 300

Source: autoevolution

Lexus, the high-end branch of Toyota, has been selling its IS small executive automobile to the public since 1999. From 1998 on, the IS was marketed in Japan under the Toyota Altezza brand name (Altezza is Italian for “height” or “highness”). Following the success of the ES, Lexus released the IS as a lower-priced entry-level sports vehicle.

Company Toyota
Model Lexus IS I 300
Engine Power (hp)214 HP 
Maximum torque288.0 Nm 
Transmission Gearbox – Number of speeds 5-speed Automatic
AspirationN/A
Top Speed 230 Km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h8.2 s
Fuel Consumption – Economy10.8 L/100 Km
Fuel type Petrol
Average Price Around $ 7000 – 10, 000
Overview: Lexus IS I 300

The Lexus IS300 may not be the most aesthetically pleasing sports car, but it is an excellent vehicle that shares its engine with the Toyota Supra MkIV. The 2JZ motor is superb; it has earned a reputation as a tuning legend. Because its standard peak speed is 143 mph, the IS300 may easily pass as an unnoticed vehicle.

Despite its plain appearance, the IS300 is a great contender for a sick JDM project vehicle; the 3.0-liter 2JZ engine under the hood gives it extremely excellent value for its asking price of $7,500. Throw in the famed Lexus reliability, and you’ve got yourself a project sleeper you can use daily.

Final Verdict 

If you want to save money without sacrificing enjoyment, one of the top 11 cheap JDM cars we highlighted above is sure to fit the bill. They’re a great way to dip your toe in the waters of unique automobile designs without breaking the bank. And the most unbelievable thing is… After execution, they will be easy to resell for profit.

2 2 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments