If you can stretch your budget up to $30k, then you can sample any one of the best new cars under $30,000 that we've rounded up for this article. While far from exhaustive, the list we've put together represents 10 excellent options in a number of different niches - all new cars under $30k, and all currently available in the United States. It's a great time to be in the market for a brand new automobile, and with so many choices out there that at times it can feel overwhelming, especially if you have $30,000 to invest in a vehicle. Let's take a closer look at 10 of the best new cars under $30,000.
1) 2015 Ford Mustang
The eight-cylinder Mustang GT might have priced itself out of our list but the other variations of the 2015 Ford Mustang are far from a consolation prize. Both the tried-and-true V-6 and the new EcoBoost are available well within our price cap; savvy Mustang shoppers may even be abe to score a drop-top version of this timeless muscle car. The 2015 Mustang V-6 delivers 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque from its 3.7-liter engine; the EcoBoost is a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder with 310 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Both offer a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
2) 2015 Subaru WRX
The 2015 Subaru WRX makes the most of its rally-bred heritage in order to offer performance-seeking compact shoppers considerable thrills for the money. The Subaru WRX is built around a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder motor that makes use of a turbocharger to generate 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This output is sent to all four wheels via a standard all-wheel drive system, and a a six-speed manual or a new CVT option are the available gearboxes. The 2015 Subaru WRX provides excellent grip and handling in a practical package.
3) 2015 Toyota Prius V
The 2015 Toyta Prius V is a wagon variant of the very popular Toyota Prius hybrid lineup that features the same eco-friendly personality with a bit more practicality. It comes with the same powertrain as the standard trim, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired to an electric motor that generates 134 horsepower. With that setup, the Prius V yields 44 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. With the back seats up, the Prius wagon features 34.3 cubic feet for cargo; with the seats down, 67.3 cubic feet are available.
4) 2015 Honda CR-V
The 2015 Honda CR-V is a long-time favorite when it comes to providing families with reliable and well-rounded transportation for up to five passengers. The Honda CR-V also boasts a roomy interior as well as space to haul as much as 70.9 cubic feet of gear with the rear seats folded forward. Under the hood, the CR-V's 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine might not be the most robust amongst small SUVs, but it stands as a leader when it comes to fuel efficiency: the Honda turns in 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. All editions of the SUV are matched with a new continuously variable transmission, and all-wheel drive can be added as an option, even within our price target.
5) 2015 Ram 1500
The 2015 RAM 1500 is available in a myriad of different body styles, trim levels, and engine configurations, just like any full-size pickup truck. There's a lot of value to be had with the Ram 1500 for anyone shopping for a sub-$30k truck, as it's possible to pick up the Tradesman edition of the pickup within our list's price parameters. The Tradesman can be had with a towing package, four-wheel drive, and the Ram 1500's 3.6-liter V-6 engine, which puts down 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission helps the Ram 1500 make short work of almost any task thrown its way.
6) 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is one of the most fuel efficient small cars on sale in the United States. The secret is a newly updated version of VW's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine which develops 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can choose between either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, with either allowing the sedan to post fuel mileage ratings of 31 mpg in stop and go driving and 46 mpg on the highway. Throw in the fact that the Jetta features some new equipment and upgraded styling compared to years past, and it's clear that there are few fuel misers out there that can match the features it has to offer at its price point.
7) 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan
The 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan seats seven with plenty of space to stretch out and plenty of flexibility for packing in people and cargo. The Grand Caravan, for all its available options, offers only one drivetrain: a front-wheel drive 3.6-liter V-6 that puts 283 horsepower through a six-speed automatic. It’s easy to spec out a Grand Caravan to suit your budget. Keep it simple and you’ve got a reliable and comfortable family hauler. Spend a little more and get the Stow ’N Go seating feature, which makes the interior easy to configure for people or cargo, or plenty of other equipment for a fun family road trip.
8) 2015 Nissan Rogue
The 2015 Nissan Rogue is a compact crossover that features aggressive styling and the coveted third row of seating inside its deceptively roomy cabin. The Rogue is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. This might not make the Rogue the most powerful crossover on the market, but an efficient continuously variable transmission means the Rogue gets higher-than-average fuel economy of 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway. Combined with that extra row of passenger space, the 2015 Rogue is a compelling option for less than $30k.
9) 2015 Volkswagen Golf
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf is priced to appeal to entry-level buyers, but the compact hatchback has gained a reputation as a vehicle that caters to those who are also seeking a refined interior and the availability of high end features. A loaded Volkswagen Golf can feature two or four doors, heated seats, a sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a touchscreen audio system for well under $30k. Tight handling is par for the course, and the Golf also comes with a turbocharged 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 170 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automated manual, and fuel economy for the hatch (which offers 52.7 cubic feet of total cargo space) tops out at 37 mpg on the highway.
10) 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is perhaps one of the purest sports car experiences available at an American dealership, as well as one of the most affordable, and it celebrates its 25th anniversary for the 2015 model year. Eschewing the Mazda MX-5 Miata's available retractable hard top helps to keep the vehicle's weight down and the chassis well-balanced, enhancing its legendary cornering capability and feeling of connectedness with the road. 167 horsepower from a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine might not sound like a lot, but combined with the Miata's low-mass design it's certainly enough to plaster a smile on the face of a capable driver. A five-speed manual transmission is almost mandatory with the compact Mazda roadster, but a six-speed automatic is also available, and fuel mileage is listed at 22 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway.