Best New Cars and SUVs for Under $30,000

These top performers cost less than the average new car

2021 Kia K5 on desert road during sunset Photo: Kia

Even before the worldwide pandemic, cars were becoming increasingly expensive to buy and own. But the manufacturing shutdown of vehicles and components has caused a ripple effect in the supply-demand curve. The result is that the average price of a new vehicle was $43,355 in August 2021, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Still, there are many excellent vehicles that have an MSRP of far less than that. To assist bargain hunters, we assembled the best new cars and SUVs under $30,000 based on their Overall Score, factoring in road-test performance, owner satisfaction, predicted reliability, and safety.

2021 Autos Spotlight

All come with standard forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB). Blind spot warning (BSW) either comes standard or as an option that doesn’t push the price above $30,000.

Some of these models have our new Green Choice designation, which highlights the vehicles with the cleanest emissions. You can read more about Green Choice here.

The cars, sporty cars, and SUVs below (listed in alphabetical order by class) have all met the stringent performance, reliability, and safety requirements necessary to earn CR’s recommendation. The best in the class is highlighted with a photo and profile.

Click through the model names for road-test results, information on reliability and pricing, and much more.

Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.