NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A good summer sports car will blow other cars off the line. A great one will do it without blowing away your bottom line.That summer sun gives drivers an urge to cruise and a need for speed. Unless you're planning on driving the Grand Prix circuit at Monaco with the rest of the world's high-priced playthings, though, there's no need to drop six figures on a Maserati GranTurismo or the price of a three-bedroom house in the 'burbs on a Ferrari. The folks at auto pricing site TrueCar see a whole lot of value in low-priced sports cars and came up with a list of the 10 least costly speedsters on the market. They may not be quite as powerful as their high-priced supercar contemporaries, but they won't burn up your savings or your gas budget quite as quickly:
Average paid: $31,959 This Nissan ( NSANY) is the most costly car on the list, but it's also one of the brawniest. The 3.7-liter V6 puts out 332 horsepower and can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds. The folks at TrueCar think it looks like a Porsche from the outside, but add-ons such as aluminum pedals and a Bose audio system make it feel like a luxury vehicle on the inside as well.
Average paid: $24,310 This is the first of the trio of American road-friendly sports cars that are driving Detroit's muscle car renaissance. The Challenger was rereleased in 2008 after a 25-year hiatus, but already keeps up with rivals such as the Ford ( F) Mustang and Chevy ( GM) Camaro. Its base V6 engine produces an impressive 305 horsepower, but its beastly 6.4-liter hemi V8 cranks out 470 horsepower. Even with all that power, it still has enough room to fit a family of four comfortably with a load of groceries in the trunk. Think about that the next time you snicker at a stick-figure family sticker in a Challenger's rear window.
Average paid: $25,232 It looks fast and furious, but don't let those lean lines and tints fool you. If a base-model Eclipse pulls up next to you at a streetlight, its 2.4-liter, 162-horsepower engine isn't going to do much besides wait politely for the light to change and ease through the intersection at a reasonable rate of speed. The 265-horsepower six-cylinder is much more suited to a car this sleek and provides plenty of kick for such a lightweight cruiser.
Average paid: $24,024 There are more powerful hatchbacks out there than the GTI, but its 2.0-liter engine still puts up 200 horsepower and gets a decent zero-to-60 time at 5.5 seconds. Its perks, including a tilt-and-slide sunroof, leather-trimmed steering wheel and touchscreen stereo system with in-dash CD changer, really set the GTI apart. They kind of have to, considering this small car's paltry 31 miles per gallon highway mileage. That's roughly the same fuel efficiency as a Challenger, Camaro or Mustang.
Average paid: $23,079 It has all of the performance of a Porsche Boxster, but about half the price. For two decades, the Miata has served as the roadster of choice for recreational drivers and retirees across the country by offering big fun and performance from a small engine. The little two-seater has only about 167 horses under the hood, but just enough zip for buyers more interested in the wind and sun than in smoking the Porsche a lane over.
Average paid: $24,156 Since its reintroduction in 2010, the Camaro's makers at Chevy have staked its reputation to two things: An intimidating retro look and a whole lot of power. The Camaro's base V6 alone produces 323 horsepower, while the tricked-out ZL 1's 6.2-liter V8 engine fits an insane 580 horsepower under the hood. That's the same amount of power as a $63,000 Cadillac CTS-V and makes the 2012 ZL 1 the fastest Camaro Chevy has ever produced.
Average paid: $22,687 It looks like the car someone's middle-management dad took to work this morning. If that's the case, it's just dusting other commuters twice a day, five days a week. Hidden behind that unassuming Hyundai nameplate is a 3.8-liter V6 engine with 333 horsepower. That's Camaro speed, even if the gearheads would never put it on the same wish list as a Camaro. There's also a V8 model that gets 429 horsepower and is easily the most powerful car Hyundai produces. The Genesis doesn't get the same looks in traffic or the candy paint of the American sports cars, but maybe it should.
Average paid: $23,105 The Mustang completes the Detroit muscle car trilogy by shaving off a bit of the price without giving up too much in performance. The V6 already kicks out 305 horsepower -- which, if you haven't noticed, seems to be the standard -- while getting roughly 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The high-performance Boss 302 engine from the original Mustang is back at a whopping 444 horsepower, but even that seems underpowered when compared with the Shelby GT500 model's 5.8-liter supercharged V8 and its obnoxious 662 horsepower.
Average paid: $22,024 This is how you make Americans love a compact car: Give them some room to breathe, some power under the hood and some space to drive it. The Mini's 1.6-liter, 121-horsepower engine sounds a bit wimpy, but that's a lot of power pushing a car that's almost half the weight of a base-model Mustang. It's also one of the most efficient cars on the list, at a combined 33 miles per gallon.
Average paid: $18,183 Much like the Mini, the Veloster's a light little speedster whose 1.6-liter engine and 138 horsepower are more than adequate for its needs. Unlike the Mini, however, the Veloster's sleek little body is more sexy than cute and signals more sports car than subcompact. Hyundai's had a bit of trouble keeping them in stock recently, as evidenced by customers shelling out beyond the MSRP. Given the state of gas prices, the Veloster popularity is likely based more on its combined 34 miles per gallon than its looks. -- Written by Jason Notte in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.