This, fortunately, is an easy one, and the answer would be the same if you were shopping for a new sports car. When it comes to combining affordability with outrageous fun, it really is hard to go past the legendary Mazda MX-5 - the best-selling roadster of all time. Worldwide.
Yes, it’s very small and if you take a passenger with you, it’s only mildly uncomfortable to sit that close to them (unless you’re already intimate), but having them in the car will genuinely blunt its performance.
The MX-5 has never been outrageously powerful, it’s more about lightweight fun and simplicity. The rear-wheel-drive layout and tiny proportions make it a purist’s delight, and, quite simply, the more money you can spend on one, and thus the more recent a model you can find at your price, the better the car will be. It’s a vintage Mazda that has only improved with each reimagining.
Read More: Checkout Mazda MX-5s for sale here
The NB MX-5, built from 1998 to 2005, is going to be your best shopping for under $10,000, and right now on Autotrader.com.au you can find excellent examples from 2002 at $8,950. Remarkably there’s even a 2007 version for $9,990 drive-away (it’s an automatic, though, with high mileage).
Our one piece of advice, if you really enjoy your driving, is to go for a manual gearbox version, if at all possible.