10 Best Japanese Sports Cars With The Lowest Maintenance Costs


Many of the most reliable sports cars you can buy new or used are Japanese sports cars, such as the MX-5 Miata with perfect reliability ratings racked up over the years. In fact, Consumer Reports ranked the Japanese-made Miata as much more reliable than any other car.

A 2019 survey of Miata owners revealed that a high percentage of the popular coupe met or surpassed the magic 200,000 miles mark. Yes, Japanese cars are typically prime examples of low-maintenance sports cars because they use simpler mechanics compared to their European and American counterparts.

According to CarsbyNumbers, Japanese cars are “43% less likely to need repairs after 12 years and 55% cheaper if repairs are needed… there’s already a $324 difference in year 1 of a brand-new vehicle between a Japanese car and British car, with the gap between the two extending significantly past year 6.” Below, we list the best Japanese sports cars least likely to bankrupt you with repairs and maintenance costs.

Related: 9 Premium Sports Cars That’ll Bankrupt You Through Maintenance And Repairs

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10 Mazda Miata NB/ND Generations – Maintenance Cost – $296

Red 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Mazda

The Miata is an obvious choice. It’s a Lightweight front mid-engined 2-passenger sports car using an RWD drivetrain configuration. Mazda says the MX-5 Miata convertible got inspired by classic roadsters of the 1960s. But that inspiration gets expressed in a way that’s pure Mazda.

According to YourMechanic, the annual cost estimate to maintain a Mazda Miata is approximately $582, with an average of $296 spent on repairs and maintenance. Ultimately, the actual cost depends on your location and service provider. CarEdge reckons you can expect to spend around $5,761 for maintenance and repairs during your Miata’s first ten years of service.

9 Subaru BRZ/ Toyota 86 – Maintenance Cost – $315

subaru-brz
Subaru

The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 are 2-door, 2-passenger sports coupes jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru at Subaru’s Gunma assembly plant. Like the Miata, the BRZ is lightweight and uses an RWD configuration to make the driving experience very engaging. According to YourMechanic, the estimated cost to maintain and repair a Subaru BRZ ranges from $95 to $6,604, with an average of $315.

8 Nissan 350Z – Maintenance Cost – $309

nissan_350z
Via: Nissan

That’s the ‘Fairlady’ Z for you in Japan. The Nissan 350Z is a Japanese 2-seater, 2-door sports car that Nissan produced from 2002 until 2009. Only available as a coupe model in its first year, Nissan spiced things up with trim levels including Base, Enthusiast, Performance, Touring, and Track versions, while the latter Roadster variant only had the Enthusiast and Touring trim levels.

YourMechanic data shows the 350Z requires an annual maintenance cost of approximately $479, while the estimated maintenance and repair costs range from $95 to $1,976, with an average of $309.

7 Nissan GT-R – Maintenance Cost – $920

feature Nissan-GT-R_Nismo-2015-1280-06
Nissan

Gearheads already know, without a doubt, that the Nissan GT-R (GrandTurismo-Racing) is a true-blood JDM sold in North America and elsewhere in American-spec form. Introduced in 2007, the GT-R is a high-performance successor of the Skyline GT-R, itself the high-performance variant of the famous Nissan Skyline.

The GT-R is a sports car and grand tourer and now lives as a standalone model built on the exclusive PM platform. So, the GT-R is no longer part of the Skyline family. According to RepairPal, the annual maintenance cost of a Nissan GT-R is $920, depending on age, mileage, location, and service provider.

6 Acura NSX – Maintenance Cost – $354

1990 Honda Acura NSX Being Driven
Honda

Marketed as the Honda NSX in Japan and Acura NSX in North America, the NSX sports car traces its roots to the 1984 HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental) concept introduced with a mid-ship 3.0-liter V6 engine mated to an RWD drivetrain.

The vision behind the HP-X’s development was to outperform Ferrari’s V8 engines, with Japan’s reputed reliability and affordability thrown in. The same vision evolved the HP-X into the NSX – New Sportscar eXperimental. RepairPal shows that NSX’s annual repairs and maintenance cost is $354.

Related: 10 JDM Sports Cars That Will Last You A Lifetime

5 Toyota Supra – Maintenance Cost – $561

2021 Toyota Supra Front Quarter View
via Toyota

Technically, it’s not a true JDM but the Supra has long found its way into many lists of the best JDM cars. Do JDM cars last long? The Supra has a $561 answer for that. According to RepairPal, the annual maintenance cost of a Toyota Supra is $561. The 4th-gen Supra shot the nameplate into greater limelight when it got featured in the Fast and the Furious movies.

4 Honda S2000 – Maintenance Cost – $310

2004 Honda S2000
Via Honda

The S2000 sports car is similar to the Miata, starting from the open-top body type. Why should you consider importing a Honda S2000? $106,000, that’s why. There are over 80 Honda S2000s for sale on TrueCar right now, with prices ranging from $18,900.00 to a teeth-grinding $105,977.00.

You’re right; the prices typically depend on the quality. If you decide to import your Honda S2000 or any Japanese car, for that matter, it’s always better to involve an expert like the Import Guys. That said, YourMechanic estimates a Honda S2000 will set you back approximately $628 annually, with $310 spent on repairs and maintenance.

3 Lexus SC300 – Maintenance Cost – $356

Lexus SC 300 in silver front third quarter view
Via: Lexus

Despite coming from a Japanese brand, the Lexus SC300 was American in more ways than one. For starters, Toyota contracted the design to the Calty Design Research center in California in 1987. The Lexus coupe would become Toyota’s first truly luxury coupe to compete with other luxury GTs like the Mercedes-Benz CL, Acura Legend coupe, and later the Acura CL, Mazda Eunos Cosmo, and others.

The next-gen Supra rode on the SC platform, with both models rolling out of the same production plant. It costs an estimated $95 to $2,363 annually to maintain and repair the Lexus SC300, with an average of $356.

2 Nissan 370Z – Maintenance Cost – $504

RepairPal data shows the annual maintenance cost of a Nissan 370Z is $504, while CarEdge estimates a Nissan 370Z will cost about $6,157 for maintenance and repairs during its first ten years of service.

$6,000 sounds like a lot until you remember the figure is for ten years of repairs and maintenance costs. This figure actually beats the industry average for popular coupe models by an impressive $1,266 and is also 4.14% better than similar vehicles in this segment. In Japan, the 370Z is the Fairlady Z Z34.

1 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX – Maintenance Cost – $289

1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
Via: Bring a Trailer

The Eclipse GSX is an AWD (all-wheel-drive) version of the Mitsubishi Eclipse. Mitsubishi offered the Eclipse sport compact car through four generations starting from 1989 to 2011. The first two Eclipse generations borrowed the underpinning of the rebadged Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser captive imports.

The GSX model got motivation from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing up to 195 horsepower. A turbocharged version made 210 horses. YourMechanic estimates the cost to maintain a Mitsubishi Eclipse is approximately $657, with an average of $289 of that money paying for repairs and maintenance.

Sources: YourMechanic, CarEdge, RepairPal