15 Best Cars Under $30K That Are Totally Worth Buying

From sleek sedans to rugged SUVs, these affordable rides redefine value for money.

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Updated June 6, 2024
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It might seem challenging to find an affordable car that's also good and safe, but many such options are available on dealer lots.

Good, affordable sedans, SUVs, and trucks are available that will fit your needs and allow you to lower your car insurance costs and overall maintenance.

Check out these options that let you keep more money in the bank and see if a new car under $30,000 might be a good fit.

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Toyota Camry Hybrid

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A hybrid can be a good option if you’re looking for something that is friendly to the planet and that will cost you less in gas money.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid is more expensive than the non-hybrid vehicle version. The hybrid’s manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $28,855, compared to $26,420 for the all-gas version.

But you could save money on gas with the hybrid. The hybrid Camry LE gets 53 miles per gallon on the highway, while the non-hybrid version gets 39 miles.

Hyundai Elantra

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The Hyundai Elantra is a great option if you’re looking for something both affordable and compact.

The Elantra gets up to 32 miles per gallon in the city. You can pick one up with a starting MSRP of $21,625, making it one of the more affordable car options.

Ford Maverick

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You might be surprised to see a truck under $30,000, but Ford delivers with the compact Ford Maverick pickup.

The Ford Maverick has an electric outlet in its truck bed to help when you’re far from electricity, as well as space for your outdoor gear or room for a tailgate party. You can get one with an MSRP starting at $23,815.

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Ford Mustang

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The Ford Mustang is a legendary car, and you can pick one up for less than $30,000.

The sporty Mustang comes in a wide variety of options, with the top-line Mustang Mach 1 Premium starting at $58,665. But on the lower end, a Mustang Ecoboost Fastback will only set you back $27,770.

Unfortunately, you'll have to stick with the 2023 model as the newer 2024 version starts at $30,920.

Volkswagen Taos

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The Volkswagen Taos is a compact SUV that is perfect for city driving. Its compact design makes it easy to get around and gives you plenty of space for grocery shopping, other errands, and pleasure trips.

You can pick up a Taos with a starting MSRP of $23,995. Additional features cost extra depending on your choices.

Mazda CX-50

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Another SUV you might want to consider is the Mazda CX-50, which was named a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

You can pick up a CX-50 with a base price of $30,300, just a touch above the $30,000 budget mark.

Honda Accord

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The popular Honda Accord features a large touchscreen and stylish features, making it perfect for those who want a great-looking car.

Check out Accord options at your local dealer. It starts with an MSRP of $27,895. You can also choose a hybrid version, but the base price for the Accord Sport Hybrid starts at $32,895.

Chevrolet Bolt

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You don’t have to pay a high price to get an electric vehicle. The Chevy Bolt is an all-electric option that you can plug in to charge up instead of paying for gas.

The Bolt has a starting MSRP of $26,500. Check with your dealer about tax incentives that could get you up to $7,500 in tax credits for buying an electric car.

Kia K5

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The Kia K5 is a great sedan option. Its warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles should you have issues with the powertrain.

You can pick up a Kia K5 sedan for a starting price of $25,590 in one of five different exterior colors.

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Buick Encore

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The Buick Encore gives you options you might not expect from an affordable SUV, such as a wide infotainment display screen and cutting-edge safety features.

Check out the small SUV (which seats up to five) at a local dealer for an MSRP of $25,600.

Chevrolet Colorado

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The Chevrolet Colorado is another compact pickup truck option you may want to check out. It has a starting price of $29,500.

The Colorado has extra tie-downs for your truck bed and cameras to keep you safe whether you’re on the road or off the beaten path.

Subaru Outback

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The midsize SUV Subaru Outback allows you to take the vehicle off paved roads and into nature.

Back on asphalt, you can expect the Outback to get 26 miles per gallon in the city or 32 miles per gallon on the highway. And you get it all for a starting retail price of $28,895.

Honda Civic

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If you’re looking for a sedan that fits your $30,000 budget, the Honda Civic should be on your list.

The Civic’s high-tech, stylish interior and cool exterior come in three different model options — the LX, Sport, and EX — under $30,000. If you want to upgrade to the Honda Civic Touring, you can expect to pay $30,550.

Chevrolet Equinox

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Check out the Chevy Equinox if you’re looking for an affordable crossover SUV. It starts at $26,600 and includes additional features that you can add on, such as a hands-free power liftgate.

Check with your local dealer to see which options are available and what you can add while staying under your $30,000 limit.

Toyota RAV4

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The Toyota RAV4 is a crossover SUV that gets 35 miles per gallon on the highway and 27 city miles per gallon in the city. The MSRP is $28,675.

The RAV4 also comes in a hybrid version that checks in above the $30,000 cutoff with an MSRP of $31,725. However, it might be worth paying the extra money when you consider the gas you can save with this hybrid.

Bottom line

prostooleh/Adobe african american woman excited after buying new car

While these vehicles offer attractive price tags, remember that true car ownership goes beyond the initial purchase. 

Factor in gas and potential repairs to ensure your chosen ride stays budget-friendly in the long run. You can also save money on car insurance by shopping around and comparing the best rates and coverage. 

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.