Car prices have been subject to significant increases over the past year or two but, if you have a budget of £30,000 there are a good number of new models available that should appeal.
Here, we’ve picked a broad selection of some of the best new cars available for under £30,000, picking the brains of our road-test team to fillet out a range of models, from sporty runabouts to sensible estates, and everything in between.
- Dacia Jogger
- Mazda MX-5
- Hyundai i20 N
- Skoda Karoq
- Volkswagen T-Cross
- Skoda Octavia Estate
- MINI Electric
- Renault Captur
- Audi A3
1. Dacia Jogger
Considering how much space and capability the Jogger offers, it’s all the more impressive that you can pick one up for under £30,000. Seven-seaters tend to be far more expensive than this, but the Jogger actually starts at well under £20,000, so a budget of £30,000 will see you behind the wheel of this seriously capable machine, and with a fair few quid left over for fuel, insurance and whatever else you might need.
Sure, other cars might be more luxurious inside, and the engine can struggle a bit when the Jogger is fully laden but, if you’re after practical, affordable motoring, it’s hard to beat.
Electric cars are fantastic in all sorts of ways, but one thing they tend not to be is cheap. Yet MG has somehow managed to price it’s 4 so that even the long-range version, which can cover up to 281 miles on a single charge, comes in at under £30,000.
The MG4 is more than just affordable, though: it’s also genuinely fun to drive, and really cuts a dash on the road. We love it, even if the infotainment system could be a little bit simpler to use.
3. Mazda MX-5
Okay, so enough with the sensible, practical cars – if you’re spending all that money, why not invite a bit of fun into your life? Well, as long as you don’t need to carry more than one passenger or much in the way of luggage, the Mazda MX-5 roadster is sure to bring that.
You may well be able to bag a great deal through one of our trusted dealers but, strictly, if £30,000 is your maximum budget, you’ll have to settle for the 1.5-litre engine rather than the 2.0-litre unit – not that that should be too much of a hardship, as the MX-5 offers a genuinely rewarding driving experience whatever is under its bonnet.
4. Hyundai i20 N
Powered by a 204hp turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, the i20 N is a genuinely thrilling car to thread down country lanes, where its small size helps make it all that more manageable. It’s still pretty sensible in some ways, though, with space for four passengers, and Hyundai’s excellent five-year warranty.
5. Skoda Karoq
We’re back onto more overtly sensible ground here, with Skoda’s small Karoq SUV offering everything family buyers could realistically want.
Masses of space? Check. Reasonable running costs? Absolutely. A comfortable, no-nonsense driving experience with plenty of refinement and a decent range of petrol and diesel engines? Yep, the Karoq has all of these things, and more.
6. Volkswagen T-Cross
After an SUV but don’t need quite as much space as the Karoq offers, and fancy a VW badge rather than a Skoda one? Do give the little T-Cross a once over on your car-shopping trip.
It’s a characterful little crossover, is the T-Cross, with more space for passengers and their luggage than you might expect from a car of this size, together with some interesting paint and interior colour options. A £30,000 budget will get you a sporty looking R-Line model, complete with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, should you want it.
7. Skoda Octavia Estate
The Skoda Octavia Estate is the car that does almost everything, offering more space than almost any other car on the market (yes, really – its boot and back seats are absolutely vast), together with a thoroughly competent driving experience.
As with the Karoq, there’s a range of petrol and diesel engines available to suit all needs, while build quality is strong, motorway refinement is excellent and, while the Octavia may not quicken your pulse, it’s beyond easy to recommend for the sheer breadth of its competencies.
8. MINI Electric
The MINI Electric only just squeaks in under £30,000 (as of Jan 2023), so you’ll have to be okay with the ‘Level 1’ model, which does without such niceties as a panoramic sunroof and adaptive LED headlights.
Still, what you do get for your money is one of the more characterful and fun EVs on the market, with the MINI Electric embodying all of the handling prowess that’s on offer in petrol-powered MINIs, together with a host of personalisation options.
9. Renault Captur
With a starting price of around £22,000, a budget of £30k will get you a seriously well-specified Captur, with a high-end R.S. Line model within reach if you go for a petrol model, or the excellent E-Tech petrol-electric hybrid also available.
Whichever model you choose, the Captur will impress you with its easy driving experience, decent practicality and plush interior, while running costs will be helpfully low.
10. Audi A3
It’s telling that the Audi A4 Avant used to sit on our rundown of the best cars for under £30,000 but, due to price increases in almost every walk of life, that model now starts at around £35,000, leaving the smaller A3 available within budget.
Fortunately, the A3 is a consummate all-rounder, and £30k should get you a really nice version, with S line trim and an automatic gearbox all coming in within budget. Whichever version of the A3 you choose, though, you’ll get great technology, a comfortable, sleek cabin, and an impressively refined driving experience.
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