14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000

Want a brilliant Japanese car for under $9000? Here are our picks

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14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

Whether you want a fast daily driver or a good project car, you can’t go wrong with a Japanese motor. There are a huge number of affordable Japanese cars available for under $9000 in the US to suit all sorts of tastes. Although some are more difficult to find at a good price than others, a smart shopper will be able to take their time and find a great deal.

1. Honda Civic 1988-2000

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

Sound the alarm! We mentioned a Civic! But you shouldn’t panic, as there’s a good reason why this car is here: if there’s one model on this list that you can find abundant in every state of the US, it’s the Civic. Plus, not all Civics are ‘riced out’ already. The car was popular for such a long era that finding a used one that hasn’t been modified is easy.

This is the ultimate starter car on a bare-bones budget. Find a used Civic with less than 100K miles on it for around $3000, and you’ve got a solid ride that is easily upgraded.

Price: $2000+

2. Acura Integra 1994-2001

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

Shopping in the US, you can easily find a used Integra (sold as an Acura in the US, as a Honda elsewhere) under $9000. Look for a low mileage car that hasn’t been modified, unless you want to spend your time undoing any potential damage from the last owner. The older you go, the cheaper they get, but the model years mentioned above are usually in better shape with less miles. My ongoing personal project is a ‘91 Integra, with 115k miles on the clock. Though it only cost $300 up front, it quickly demanded more money from me, so make sure you keep in mind the future costs when looking at the cheaper Integras!

Price: $3000

3. Acura Integra Type R 1995-2001

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

The DC2 Type R is widely praised as one of the greatest front-wheel drive cars of all time. Though the Type R will cost more than other Integras, it has the speed and agility to make it worth your money.

Price: $8000

4. Acura RSX Type S 2002-2006

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

The fourth-generation Integra was dubbed the RSX in the United States, but it is an Integra, nonetheless. These model years are new enough to provide the riding comfort of today’s cars, but old enough to find at a fair price. The Type S isn’t a huge jump above the standard model, but it does come with 200bhp, leather seats and a six-speed manual gearbox.

Price: $6,000

5. Mazda Speed3

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

The 2.3-litre turbo engine in the Speed3 pushes out a healthy 256bhp through a six-speed manual gearbox. The interior and extra room afforded by the hatchback body style, meanwhile, makes it a good choice for a daily driver without sacrificing the power you crave. I used one of these cars for two years as a company vehicle for in town and long distance travelling, and I would love to have one in my garage permanently. It handles great, is comfortable on the highway and gets up and goes when you want it to.

Price: $8500

6. Mazda 6 2003-present

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

A brand new Mazda 6 will set you back about $20,000, but anything more than a few years old will cost significantly less. The Mazda 6 is a midsize family car that makes for a comfy long-distance cruiser. Despite its sporty design, however, it won’t impress in terms power. Not unless you spend extra on the Mazdaspeed6, that is.

Price: $5,000

7. Mazda RX-8 2004-2008

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

You’ve got to have some rotary love somewhere when talking Jap cars. The Dorito-powered 1.3-litre engine makes 227hp, and is slotted into a great rear-wheel drive chassis. They’re more practical than other coupes too, with an extra set of ‘suicide’ doors making entry to the rear seats a lot easier. However, finding a used RX-8 with low mileage and an owner who’s cared for it properly isn’t the easiest task.

Price: $7000

8. Mitsubishi Eclipse 2006-2012

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

This might be an unpopular opinion, but driving an Eclipse does not make you less of a petrolhead. The 259bhp GT model is a pretty sweet ride for a low price. The stylish design of these model years will bring the curb appeal, while the V6 versions provide the power.

Price: $6,000

9. Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1992-2001

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

Pretty much any Evo from the nineties will still cost a decent amount, but there will still be a little room for upgrading. Even though the Evo wasn’t always available in the US, there are always a number of used early models for sale. These all-wheel drive, turbocharged brutes make the perfect combo for drivers who want a powerful daily with excellent handling.

Price: $6,000

10. Nissan 300ZX 1990-1996

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

When the 300ZX (Z32) hit the US market, it was instantly appreciated. The twin-turbo models push over 300bhp, and they can be found relatively cheaply with moderate wear.

Price: $5,000

11. Nissan 240SX 1989-1994/1995-1999

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

Yes, finding a stock 240 is nearly impossible; it’s one of the Holy Grails of used car buying. If you’re lucky enough to spot a virgin 240, just buy it and don’t think twice. Even a lightly-modified 240 is worthy of a look. Stay away from heavily modified machines and track cars, unless you really know what you’re getting into. The dream is to find a relatively untouched 240 and build it to perfection.

Price: $3,000/$6,000

12. Toyota Supra 1987-1991

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

I wish the fourth-gen Supra could make this list, but few examples are in acceptable shape under $9k in the US. However, you can still find these older models for a decent price, with a nice 1JZ inline-six engine up front pushing over 200bhp. Virtually all used Supras are going to be high mileage, so the cost will vary according to condition.

Price: $6,500

13. Toyota MR2 1991-1995

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

If you’re looking for a second-gen MR2, you’ve got to find an MR2 Turbo. The 200bhp turbo model is a whole lot more tempting than the 130bhp standard version. The turbos were only available in the US and Japan when they were first built, but have made their way to other places since. This rare breed is coming closer to extinction each day. So, if you have the chance, save an MR2.

Price: $3,000

14. Toyota Celica 1989-1999

14 Brilliant Used Japanese Cars Under $9000 - Japanese

The Celica has such a long history, taking on many forms over 36 years of production. The 1990s models are low priced and make excellent project cars, since so many interchangeable parts are available. These four-bangers are easy to maintain and great in terms of fuel consumption.

Price: $3,500

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