Categories 4 Wheels

Affordable New Cars With A Starting Price Under $30,000

We all know cars are expensive. With an average price of $47,000 in April 2024, a car payment will undoubtedly be a large monthly expense. Our infatuation with SUVs and pickup trucks is partly to blame.

The cars listed below are those we found most talking about in various forums and websites when people asked about affordable cars. This is not a list of every car under $30,000 but the ones that seem to generate the most conversations. Some notes were added to each car that showcased common thoughts we saw on each car.

With the middle class struggling to afford a car, this list features some that won’t break the bank. 

Prices are from manufacturer websites, and the list is in no specific order.

Subaru Impreza

2024 subaru impreza

With an Edmund’s rating of 7.6/10 and a starting price of $23,000, the Subaru Impreza is a solid choice. Subaru is known for reliability, and at the base price, you get a solid car that will get you where you need to go.

The sports version, which is a bit more, is the popular choice for this car. Buyers have reported it being a “fun” drive with a ride that hugs curves and takes corners well. Improvements in road noise and ride quality are common remarks. One concern is that the car is low to the ground, which could pose problems for those who get snow.

Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage has a higher base price of $27,000, but many people recommend it as an option. Edmunds rated it 7.9, and US News and World Reports rated it 8.2. 

Kia Sportage owners seem happy overall. Many did add that they wished they got the hybrid version, but that would be over the cost we are targeting here. Unfortunately, recent news about how easy it is to break into has made it a target – and, in some areas, increased insurance rates.

Toyota Prius Hybrid

toyota prius car

This hybrid is getting lots of positive attention. With a starting price of $27,950, the Toyota Prius is higher than others on the list. To keep at the price the article is targeting, you would be walking out with a base model. Edmunds gives the car a rating of 8.1/10. 

Most people talk about the general reliability of Toyotas as a selling point. There are talks about the battery not lasting long enough, but others deny that issue. There are much more positive talking points than negative. One huge selling point is the mileage which exceeds 50 MPG.

Toyota Corolla

hybrid toyota corolla 2024

The Toyota Corolla starts at an affordable $22,000. Edmunds gives the car a 7.4/10 rating. It is also available in a hybrid version that starts at $23,500. 

Good mileage is a feature most people talk about. The hybrid seems to be hard to get at sticker price—if you can find one at all. The reliability of a Toyota is a common positive topic of conversation.

Nissan Versa

nissan versa 2024

An extremely affordable option is the Nissan Versa, which starts at $16,680. With a 8/10 rating from Car and Driver it is a strong contender for someone who just needs a car without a lot of bells and whistles.

The MPG is a positive for this car, and owners seem to like it. Others combat that positive by stating the lack of performance. Nissan enthusiasts note that the more recent Versa models are better than the older ones.

Chevy Trax

chevy trax suv

A frequently mentioned option was the Chevrolet Trax, which has a 7.9 ranking from Edmunds and a 4.6 from Kelly Blue Book. With a starting price of $20,400 this SUV is affordable and has great looks.

Some comments discuss older Trax models as unreliable. The 2024 model introduces a new engine, which has some even more concerned about reliability. Others state that the engine has been used in other countries without problems. Lack of resale value and a not-so-smooth ride are common complaints. But it has its fans, too. Owners say it is a good value for the price and that it is a good get if you are not worried about resale value.

Buick Envista

buick envista on the road

With a starting price of $22,000 and an eye-catching design, the Buick Envista is worth considering. It has received solid ratings from Car and Driver and Edmunds.

Some have noted that Buick could be better for dependability or longevity. Others state that it is a good value for the price. The biggest concern many are discussing is engine performance with a small 137-hp engine. But we are not looking at driving on the Autobahn! We are looking for affordability and practicality, right?

Mazda3 Sedan

mazda3 sedan driving

The Mazda3 Sedan is a great option known for reliability. Its starting price is $24,170, and Edmunds gives it a rating of 7.7/10.

Conversations seemed to be pretty positive, with a few notable exceptions. Several mentions were made about the wheels being too big and the tires not being great. A few talked about the difference in “luxury feel” between Mazdas and other cars. The interior of a Mazda beat out some other brands in terms of looks and feel. Those who drove the car complemented its handling and performance.

Mazda CX-30

mazda cx-30

The bigger sibling to the Mazda3, the Mazda CX-30 is a compact SUV with many bells and whistles. With a starting price of $24,995, it is affordable and reliable. Edmunds gives it a 7.9/10 rating, while Car and Driver gives it a 9.5/10 rating. 

Having test-driven this one, I can attest to its comfort and handling. The interior gives a sense of luxury compared to other brands I test-drove. The base model will provide you with fewer bells and whistles than others, but it is a solid choice for the budget. The base model lacks features people seem to like, including blind spot monitoring, a leatherette interior, and advanced keyless entry. But most people spoke very highly of the car.

Honda HR-V

honda hr-v 2025

While the CR-V seemed to be the preferred model by many, the HR-V is the more affordable option, with a base price of $25,100. Honda has a good reputation, and Edmunds gives it a 7.5/10 rating.

Most suggestions provided to those considering an HR-V was to spend the money to get a CR-V. A common reason was that the CRV had a better power train. Some car enthusiasts note that the HRV is just a Civic-turned-crossover, which implies that the power would not be good. Others stated that the power is okay and that the HR-V is an affordable – and solid option for those who do not need a ton of storage or power.

Nissan Kicks

nissan kicks 2024

The Nissan Kicks is one of the most affordable options, starting at $21,340. It is a solid choice for an essential car with a commendable 7.4/10 rating from Edmunds.

The lack of power is the biggest complaint, but the CVT transmission is not something car people seem to like either. Those who actually on one say it is a refined ride for the price, but it does feel cheap inside.

Hyundai Elantra

hyundai elantra 2024

The Hyundai Elantra is a popular option with a starting price of $21,625. Ratings from Car and Drive are 9.5/10 and 7.8/10 from Edmunds. Similar to the Kia, check with your insurance company on rates as Hyundai also faced issues with high theft rates.

People who own the Elantra have said they enjoy the ride of the car. They also note that technology for the price paid is really good. The base model does have less power so performance is a small complaint, but overall it is a well-received car. 

Honda Civic

honda civic 2024

With a base price of $23,950 and a strong brand reputation, the Civic has been recommended on many threads. With a rating of 8.5/10 from Edmunds and 4.7/5 from Kelley Blue Book it is a good deal for the price.

While some stated their disappointment in having a CBT transmission, they also said the CVT is actually pretty good. The base model does not have a lot of the bells and whistles, but owners seem to find it very comfortable and love the mileage it gets. 

Tricky Manufacturer Pricing

couple buying car at auto dealership
ufabizphoto / Depositphotos

There are some tricky things about car pricing you should know.

Dealers may tack on additional fees that increase the price. This can be a flat market adjustment because a car is popular, or excessive fees for add-ons you do not even want.

Some buyers stated they they built cars on manufacturer websites and getting price quotes that are much less than what dealers are quoting. Sometimes as much as $10,000 more than the manufacturer quote.

Don’t be afraid to say no – or negotiate!

Middle Class Car Affordability A Growing Issue

subaru wrx sti car on road

More than ever, people are struggling to pay bills. Cars are a big cost that is impacting families everywhere. The data shows some staggering numbers regarding car affordability and the middle class.

View car affordability data.

Tips To Improve Fuel Efficiency

car being filled with gas
maxsaf / Depositphotos

You finally got that new affordable car and are ready to hit the road! But how do you save money on gas? These tips will help!

View the gas-savings tips.

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