First Cheap Sleeper is The 2006 Chevrolet Impala SS
This is a car that kept the old school 1960s tradition of inserting a powerful motor in a car that really didn't seem like a it had any business carrying one. Between the regular Impala and the SS there isn't much of a styling difference on the outside. The SS has bigger wheels, diamond pattern grille inserts, bright exhaust tips and a small wing and that's about it. You can easily make it more of a sleeper by removing the SS badges and you're secret will be safe until you decideto floor it at the next traffic light.
But in order to floor it without getting embarrassed you need a car that can perform and thats exactly what the Impala SS does thanks toit's 5. 3L V8 engine that produces 303 HP and 323 lb-ft of torque. The Impala SS is ableto complete a 0-60 run in around 5. 5 seconds, and can sprint a quarter mile in the high13 seconds and low 14 seconds.
Plenty to like about those numbers but there are things thatmight turn off some car enthusiast. A manual transmission isn't available, and instead you’re left with a an 4 speed automatic along with FWD. In Fact it uses GM’s front drive W body platform that is the basis for the Buck Lacrosse. The Pontiac Grand Prix and Monte Carlo.
But what about torque steering? You see normally when you have a front wheel drive car with a powerful engine you might experience the front wheels turn either left or right upon take off. But thank fully Chevrolet had programmed the traction control to counterthe loss of grip making torque steering on the Impala SS practically non-existent. You can buy one these for as low at 5K.
The next cheap sleeper is The 2006 Mazdaspeed 6
The Speed 6 comes equipped with a 2. 3L Direct injection turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that produces 274 HP and 280lb-ft of torque. Thanks to it'spower and all wheel drive system the Speed 6 can achieve a 0-60mph run in around 5. 5 seconds and can run the ¼ Mile in around 14 seconds.
Best of all is that it comes equipped with manual gearbox, in fact no automatic version was offered at the time. Kind of shows you what type of demographic Mazda was going for. Of course thanks to it's AWD the Speed 6 specializes in traction but it also features a multi mode active torque system that places the car in one of three drive modes automatically based on how your car is performing in it's given environment.
Top it off with a limited slip differential and you got a very capable car. And did you know that this car and the 4 cylinder ECOboost ford mustang might have somethingin common? You know that engine Ford claimed to have been working on for years? Hmmmmmm.
Other than a few tweaks and relocation of some parts to the ECOboost engine, they mightactually be the same. Other than the big 18 inch wheels and the cute little spoiler, itlooks nearly identical to the regular Mazda 6 making this a perfect sleeper car. Best part is you can find them for around 6K with decent amount of miles on them.
3rd car on the list is The 2003 Jaguar XJR
I know I know. Some people might not agree with me that the XJR is a sleeper car. Sure it doesn't look slow by any means but it also doesn't look like it can tear up most cars on the street with ease. What do you think, can the Jaguar XJR pass off as a sleeper?
This car here packs a punch and reveals it's true identity when you floor all while keeping you very comfortable inside thanks to its air suspension that was fitted all around providing adaptive damping as well as rearself leveling.
You also get some killer standard features like heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a power rear sunblind, an Alpine audio system and radar based adaptive cruise control. And best of all is the engine that it carries. It's a 4. 2L supercharged engine that produces 400HP and 399lb-ft of torque. It can do a 0-60mph in as low as 4. 7seconds and the ¼ in the mid 13 seconds. That's pretty fast now can you imagine how fast that was back in 2003?
One of the reason the XJR can move so quickly is thanks to it's all aluminum structure which at the time made it much lighter than its competitors. Not only is the XJR very quick off the line but it can easily morph from double to triple digits at unbelievable speed.
Just know that if you're looking to buy a XJR reliability and maintenance can be a concern as most used Jaguars can be. I mean there is a reason thiscar retailed for around 80K when it came out and now you can find them for as low as 8Kwith around 100K miles on it.
4th cheap sleeper car is the 2007 Lexus IS350
This is pretty much Japan’s version of theBMW’s 3 series without being noticeably. It perfectly camouflages in the body of themore commonly seen IS250. While sadly only the smaller IS250 offers a manual transmissionthe IS350 does offer wheel mounted paddle shifts to give those looking for more of anengaging driving experience.
When it comes to performance the IS350 comes equipped witha 3. 5L V6 that produces 306HP and 277lb-ft of torque, can perform a 0-60mph in just under5 seconds. According to Road and Track they were able to achieve 4. 9 while other lessreputable sources were able to achieve 4. 7 seconds.
You get speed without having to sacrificecomfortability. And of course Reliability. I mean it is Lexus after all. It does comein a RWD and thanks to it's rack and pinion steering gears helps provide linear steeringresponse, precise control and better straight line stability. And because the exhaust note practically absent the IS350 provides quite acceleration which makes it that much moreof a sleeper. I mean what is there not to like?
You get a fast car, with a sleeper bodyof an IS250, comfortable seats that are perfectly adjustable, the reliability of Toyota, andhigh safety scores. As an article on Jalopnik put it. A Sleeper that won't kill you. Mostof them sell for a little over 10K but I was able to find many for just under 9K with around120K miles on it.
5th and final cheap sleeper car is the..
2006 Honda Accord V6 EX sedan
While this car looks a bit bland in the looks the department it's a very fun car to drive. I mean that's kind of what a sleeper is isn't it. With so many many accords out on the road this car can easily become forgettable and unnoticeable. But what really turns this car into a sleeperis the option of 6 speed manual transmission.
I personally drove one of these before and was able to chirp tires shifting into 3rd gear. Sadly I believe there were only 2 years where there offered the manual transmission for the V6 Accord sedan making them a little more challenging to find. Moving on to performance, the Accord comes equipped with a 3L V6 VTechengine that produces 244HP and 211lb-ft of torque. It can sprint from 0-60mph in around5. 9 seconds while the numbers don't really sound that impressive back in 2006 this wasconsidered pretty fast.
I mean even today that Accord would win against many ricerson the road. If you can find yourself a manual V6 EX Sedan just know you're in for a goodtime. The Accord has many years of if refinement, you get 5 star overall crash safety scoresand it's no secret that the Accord consistently holds top honors in the long term reliability studies. You can easily find them for just under 6K and if you want 6speed manual version you pay a few thousand dollars more.
This is perfect for a family car that offers allthe practicality features you need while still having the fun to keep things interesting. Comment below and let me know which one was your favoritefrom this list. Or maybe there is another car you think I missed. I realy want to knowwhat you guys think.