When a car enthusiast thinks of their dream car, it is often one of the luxury car brands that springs to mind. Examples of these are Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. These car brands produce high-end cars that deliver speed, performance, innovative design, technical features, and a comfortable ride. However, all this comes at a price and these cars are well out of the budget of most people. This does not mean that people cannot own a cool car as there are plenty alternatives for a much lower budget. For just a fraction of the cost, a car enthusiast can drive around in a car that will be the envy of his friends because of what the car can offer in terms of performance, speed, and design. In fact, there are plenty of cool cars available for under $30,000 that may surprise you with what they can offer. Here are 20 of the coolest cars for under $30,000.
20. The Dodge Challenger - $27,295
Dodge themselves have described this car as a monster with a fierce design. There are 15 models to choose from with a starting price of $27,295 for the Dodge Challenger SXT. Its 3.6-liter V6 engine produces 305 horsepower, so this is a powerful ride. The sleek design also makes this a noticeable car when you are driving along the highway, so if the aesthetics of a car are an important element of looking cool, then this car fits the bill perfectly. It is the interior of this car that really makes it stand out as it comes with a range of features to keep you comfortable and provide you with an enjoyable ride. These include dual-zone automatic temperature control, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay support, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and integrated voice command.
19. Hyundai Elantra Sport - $21,650
The new Hyundai Elantra Sport is a major improvement on some of the brand’s previous models as they have really thought about the design and the performance this time around. For example, it has a performance suspension, a more powerful turbocharged engine, and a range of interior features that make this car unique. This car comes in either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch transmission. As standard, this car comes with leather steering wheel, leather heated seats, power sunroof, carbon-fiber-look trim, and a sport instrument gauge. The exterior of the Hyundai Elantra Sport features 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport front grille, HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, sport bumper fascia, and chrome twin-tip exhaust outlets.
18. Honda Civic Si - $24,100
The Honda Civic Si is one of the few cars that can combine having a sleek, sporty, and fun design with a high-level of practicality that is ideal for the family owner. For this reason, the Honda Civic Si is a car that will appeal to several demographics. Visually the Si doesn’t look all that different from the standard range, with the exception of the trim level. There are several options available for this model, but one of the best is the 1.8-liter diesel engine as this produces 138 horsepower and has an average fuel consumption of just 40 miles per gallon. The interior has a creative layout for its controls and is reasonably spacious.
17. Ford Focus ST - $25,170
Ford have always produced a wide range of car styles; from sedate family cars to cars that are hot and fast. They are now on their third-generation of Focus ST and this car is an icon for performance hatchbacks. It has a 2-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 247 horsepower but still has very manageable running costs. Despite being a front-wheel drive, the steering on this car is great. There are several upgrades to this car in comparison to the standard Ford Focus, such as anti-roll bars, an electromechanical power steering system, and uprated dampers. The interior of this car is comfortable and gives the impression of solidity and quality. It comes in two trim levels and has leather Recaro adjustable seats.
16. Chevrolet Cruze Diesel - $25,420
Two years ago, Chevrolet decided to redesign the Cruze. This year, they opted to include a diesel hatchback in the range. Two of this car’s best features are its versatility and its good fuel consumption. Chevrolet have managed to combine fuel economy with sportiness really well in the diesel hatchback version of the Cruze and this is something that cannot be said for the less-fuel-efficient gasoline version of the car. The interior of the car is fitted with the features that the modern driver has come to expect from their cars. As standard, these include a touchscreen Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
15. Mazda 6 - $21,945
Most people consider a mid-size sedan one of the most boring categories of car. However, Mazda always likes to inject some excitement into their cars and the Mazda 6 is no different. Despite having a rather lowly 187 horsepower, the Mazda 6 has some features that make up for what it lacks in power. There is a general sense of sportiness about this car and it has fantastic steering. There is the option of a six-speed manual for this model, which is arguably a lot more fun to drive. The manufacturers of this car describe it as providing an exhilarating and dynamic driving experience. The sleek design of the car has been inspired by the fluid movement of animals and gives the car its own personality. Safety was a key concern when designing the Mazda 6 and the manufacturers have included range of advanced safety technology. This includes a lane-keep assist system, traffic sign recognition, adaptive LED headlights, blind spot monitoring, driver attention alert, and rear cross-traffic alert.
14. Dodge Charger V6 - $28,995
Of all the Dodge models, the Charger V6 is probably the most evolved of them all. Drivers of this car will feel like they have a serious presence as this car has a rather distinctive design. It is capable of producing 292 horsepower and can achieve 60 miles an hour in just 6.5 seconds. This is a one second improvement in what the 2005 Dodge Charger R/T was capable of achieving. As standard, this car comes with a range of features to improve the driving experience and maximize safety. These include satellite radio, a rear back up camera, and a rear park assist system. Described by Doge as their muscle car, the Charger features a five-link independent rear suspension and 8-speed automatic transmission. It is also available with full-speed forward collision warning with active braking. In terms of design, the exterior of this car is low and lean. On the interior, space and comfort are key to the design as there is plenty of leg room and adjustable features that allow you to ride in style. For easily under $30,000, you can become the proud owner of this handsome, comfortable, and quick car.
13. Honda Fit - $16,190
If you take a look at the horsepower figures, the Honda Fit doesn’t necessarily look all that impressive as it has a mere 130 horsepower. However, look beyond that particular statistic and this model begins to look a lot more interesting. The one feature of this car that really stands out is its handling. It has a six-speed manual transmission and is a surprisingly nice drive. Like most cars, there are a variety of additional features that you can pay for as extras. Even if you go completely wild adding these to the standard model, you will stay pay under $25,000. Some of the optional features of the Honda Fit are automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. With the exception of the base LX, the Honda Fit comes as standard with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Two other bonuses in this car are the spacious rear seats and the generous cargo hold.
12. Jeep Wrangler - $27,495
One for fans of off-roaders is the Jeep Wrangler. Although there are many new aspects of the design of the latest model, Jeep have retained all the main features that fans of this car love. It still has the prowess of a true off-road vehicle combined with retro styling and a funky foldable windshield. Both the interior and the exterior of this car have a heritage-inspired design and all the materials used in the manufacturing process are high quality. Jeep have included a range of Smart design technologies to maximize the safety of this car. The tweaks made by Jeep to the Wrangler will probably make this car appeal to a whole new market.
11. Chevrolet Camaro V6 - $28,195
Although this doesn’t have the same level of power as the V8, this isn’t something that should concern you if you opt to buy the Chevrolet Camaro V6 as it is certainly not the weaker option of the two cars. It still packs a punch at 335 horsepower while also delivering a smooth drive. The recent redesign means that this model looks great and it sounds just as good. They have concentrated their efforts on making their latest Camaro model look leaner and meaner than its predecessors. However, the tweaks they have made to the exterior design are about more than just aesthetics; the Camaro is also designed in such a way that the performance and driver experience has been improved. One of the benefits of opting for the V6 over the V8 is that you will still have enough money left over to add the performance exhaust and still have change out of $30,000. This car is the perfect example of how having a V8 engine isn’t necessary to own a cool car.
10. Mini Cooper - $21,600
There is just something cool about Mini Coopers and this has always been the case. Perhaps it was the way they featured in ‘The Italian Job’ that promoted their coolness or maybe they were just born to be cool. If you opt for the Mini Cooper S, you will exceed your $30,000 budget. However, opting for the standard model does not mean you are depriving yourself as it actually has more power. The retro style of the Mini Cooper has stayed, but it is a fast and fun version of its predecessors. There are both 2-door and 4-door versions of this car available, both of which are well within budget even if you opt for all the extras. The cars feature a MINI TwinPower Turbo engine and they can achieve 60 miles per hour in 7.7 seconds with a top speed of 129 miles per hour. They have 162 pounds per foot of torque and produce 134 horsepower.
9. Honda Accord - $23,570
The Honda Accord is a good option for someone that wants a spacious family car but also wants the feel of a sports car. This car manages to combine the space needed for a family with the performance of a sports car perfectly. This car is a six-speed manual that has a cavernous interior, and it is the interior where much of the improvements have been made to this model from Honda. In addition to the 8-inch infotainment system, there is now also a 7-inch TFT screen for the driver. Furthermore, they have added a whole range of driver assist features to the car. The updates are predominantly aimed at the American market as this car is only available in the United States. Sadly for UK drivers, production of the Honda Accord for the UK market ceased in 2015 due to changing trends in the automobile market in Europe.
8. Ford Fiesta ST - $21,285
The Ford Fiesta has always been a popular choice, especially amongst the younger generation. The Ford Fiesta SDT is good enough that this is the car of choice amongst many experts in the automobile industry. The car boasts a 1.6-liter turbo four engine that delivers 197 horsepower. It seems like this car has full control of the road because of its excellent suspension and stability control. Quick acceleration and a nifty drive are also key points about this particular model from Ford. According to Ford, this car provides a more intensive experience as it is more powerful and responsive than previous models and can offer more precise handling. The new Ford Fiesta ST is powered by a 3-cylinder 1.5 EcoBoost engine that delivers fantastic performance while also enhancing fuel-efficiency. There have been many technology advances made to the interior of the car, including the Ford SYNC 3 state-of the-art connectivity system.
7. Toyota 86 - $26,255
The Toyota 86 seems to have taken the place of the Scion FR-S in relation to the fact that it is small, light-weight, and a rear-wheel drive. Toyota have really focused on the handling of the car with this model and the advanced chassis is engineered in such a way that the center of gravity is optimized and the weight balance offers optimal performance. The one minor criticism of this model is that it needs to improve its exhaust note. Putting that aside, this car is perfect in pretty much every other way. The action of the wheels, the pedals, and the gear shift are spot on and the relative placement of this car is just as you would expect for a sports car. This car has a high-level of performance both on and off the track. There are three models of the Toyota 86 available, all of which are below the $30,000 budget; the 86, the 86 GT, and the 86 GT Black. Regardless od which model you choose, you will get an interior that is just as sporty as the exterior.
6. Mazda 3 - $18,095
Of all the cars on this list, the Mazda 3 is the cheapest option at $18,095 making it ideal for those who want an impressive and cool car while spending as little as possible. This car is the perfect example of why people on a budget who love sports cars opt for a Mazda. This particular model has amazing suspension and a stiff chassis. There are two engine options for this model. The first is the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine which gives 155 horsepower and is capable of doing 41 miles to the gallon. The second option is the 2.5-liter engine which has 184 horsepower and can deliver 40 miles to the gallon. Both options are available with a 6-speed manual gearbox. At this price, what the Mazda 3 can deliver in terms of performance is nothing short of spectacular.
5. Mazda MX-5 Miata Club - $29,755
In recent years, the Mazda Miata has been at the top of the list for people who want a sports car who have a limited budget. This is because this car excels in the areas of balance and handling. It is also known for its simplicity, which is something that seems to appeal to many car enthusiasts. The Mazda MX-5 Miata Club model has all the features that you would expect from a Mazda Miata, but the styling has been upgraded. Although there are cheaper models available, opting for the Club edition at $29,755 is well worth the extra cost in terms of drive and performance. You will also see some additional features on the interior of this model.
4. Subaru WRX - $26,995
Two of the things for which Subaru is well-known are producing powerful cars and for their angular designs. However, although this car delivers the power that is associated with this car manufacturer, they have changed the look and given it softer edges. This will appeal to those who like the drive that Subaru offers but thought their previous designs were a little on the sharp side. The Subaru WRX has a six-speed manual transmission and delivers 268 horsepower. Although the starting price for this car is $26,995, there are lots of optional extras that you can add that will rack up the price closer to the $30,000 budget limit.
3. Volkswagen GTI - $26,415
When thinking of cool cars, it is often a Volkswagen GTI that springs to mind. Historically, this has always been one of the best options for those with a limited budget who want a cool and sporty car. This is a tradition that continues to its latest models and it is still one of the champions in this sector of the motor industry. In fact, many other car manufacturers consider the design and performance of this car the benchmark for what they should try to achieve with their own competitive cars. The engine in this car is a proven commodity, as it its chassis. The interior is subtle and practical, giving this car a more mature feel than much of its competition. In terms of its performance, the Volkswagen GTi has a 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged engine and an auto-bahn tuned sport suspension. It also has progressive power steering with variable assistance. The combination of these three key components means that the car is fun, fast, and smooth. Volkswagen have also made some minor changes to the design, such as tweaking the bumpers and improving the bucket-style sports seats.
2. Fiat 500 Abarth - $19,995
For enthusiasts of smaller cars, the Fiat 500 Abarth is one of the best options out there for a budget of under $30,000. In fact, you will come away from the dealership with a lot of change from that budget as this car is priced at a very reasonable $19,995. Despite its size, this car can still pack a punch as it delivers 170 lb-ft torque and 160 horsepower. The turbocharged 1.4-liter engine sounds pretty impressive and the feel of the ride is best described as nippy. This car is quite stiffly spring, but this only enhances the feel of the drive. The interior of the car is designed in a cheerful manner which helps to make driving the Fiat 500 Abarth a happy experience.
1. Ford Mustang EcoBoost - $25,680
Mustang has come a long way since they launched the S197 Mustang GT a decade ago. That car boasted a 4.6-liter V8 engine that produced 320 pounds per foot of torque and 300 horsepower. By comparison the Ford Mustang EcoBoost can deliver the same torque from half the displacement and 310 horsepower. It can do this thanks to the inclusion of the Ford 2.3-liter turbo four engine. While some people have complained that the automatic version of this car is boring to drive, the same cannot be said about the manual option. Its fuel economy is simply another budget-friendly advantage of this car and does hinder its performance in any way. The aesthetics are impressive and you will save thousands by not opting for its GT counterpart.
Written by Garrett Parker
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