There’s no better way to spend five large in the name of coolness than on the last generation Toyota MR2 Spyder. Sold from 1999 through 2007, the third and final iteration of Toyota’s mid-engined sports car returned to its roots with a small and lean design. It looks better than a Mazda Miata because A) you’re not going to see one in every baby boomer’s driveway, and B) it’s mid-engine, which is inherently cooler. Why? Because automakers don’t put engines behind the seats unless they’re serious abound handling.
Plus, the MR2 is out of production, so you’ve got a future classic in the making. Its tiny 1.8-liter four-cylinder may sound anemic, but the 138 horsepower it made was more than enough to keep this featherweight moving. Also, the MR2 is a blank canvas when it comes to customization. In fact, it’s so aftermarket-friendly, the Fast and Furious folks have used the MR2 in their movies more than once. While most will have over 100,000 miles, there are plenty of examples still in good condition available for $5K or less.
— John Neff