10 Fastest Cars Under $30,000

It is a truth universally acknowledged that human beings like going fast. We are obsessed with speed, which is why we strive for it in our athletic endeavors. And we have a particular fondness for fast cars.

You may get a high-performance sports vehicle that won’t break the bank if you know where to search. The average Joe can easily purchase a speed demon without giving up his kidneys.

Here is a handy guide to some of the fastest cars under $30,000 currently on the market.

10. Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo AWD

Speed: 134 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $29,990
Country of Origin: Japan
 Year First Manufactured: 2021

Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo AWDphoto source: Car and Driver

The turbocharged Mazda 3 has greater elegance and sophistication than competing hatchbacks. It has sporty handling and a luxurious interior. The 2.5-liter turbo engine produces 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, with power going to all four wheels through a six-speed gearbox with shift paddles on the steering wheel.

This power enables the Mazda 3 to accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in only 5.6 seconds and achieve a governor-limited peak speed of 134 miles per hour. However, Mazda acknowledges that high-performance returns require premium gasoline. Regular gasoline restricts the vehicle’s horsepower to 227.

Mazda 3 excels most in its cornering performance. The 2.5 Turbo, like other Mazdas, handles country roads and metropolitan streets. It is well-balanced through corners, and the steering is so accurate that there is no doubt about what the front half is doing. So regardless’s a lengthy curve or a fast hairpin, it just digs in and goes through.


9. 2022 Honda Civic Si

Speed: 137 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $28,595
Country of Origin: Japan
 Year First Manufactured: 2021

2022 Honda Civic Siphoto source: The Drive

It’s understandable if the Honda Civic is not the first vehicle that comes to mind when you think of “fast cars.” And although the basic Civic is not exactly a speed demon—it takes the standard Civic around 7.5 seconds to reach 60 mph—the Honda Civic Si sports sedan is a different story.

The Civic Si offers the greatest highway fuel economy of any vehicle on our list, with an EPA rating of up to 37 mpg (31 in the city). A 200-horsepower turbo four propels the Civic Si from zero to sixty in 6.8 seconds, with a peak speed of 137 mph.

For less than $29,000, you also receive a limited-slip front differential, a sport-tuned suspension, and a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system. Nevertheless, this is no ordinary Honda Civic.

Did You Know:

This model comes with new high-tech front airbags, which are meant to lessen the risk of brain injury in slanted frontal accidents. The technology cradles and controls head rotation using a donut-shaped framework.


8. Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

Speed: 136 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $29,390
Country of Origin: Japan
 Year First Manufactured: 2015

Fiat 124 Spider Abarthphoto source: Top Gear

While the Fiat 124 Spider shares its basis with the Mazda Miata, it differs significantly in terms of exterior design, interior quality, and cabin noise level. It is only a refined and less concentrated Miata. The highest-performing Spider is the Abarth, which includes a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine with 164 horsepower and a strong exhaust sound.

The 124 Spider’s peak speed is 136 mph, which is slower than the Miata’s 155 mph. Nonetheless, the price begins at somewhat less than $30,000.

The primary distinction between the Mazda and the Fiat is the engine. Unlike the Miata’s 2.0-liter normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, the 124 Spider’s 1.4-liter turbocharged engine produces 160 horsepower. This number increases to 164 in the Abarth; torque is 184 lb-ft, but the Abarth reaches its peak at 3,200 rpm instead of the standard 124’s 2,500 rpm.

Did You Know:

The Fiat 124 Spider has been discontinued since 2020.


7. 2021 Mazda Miata MX-5

Speed: 140 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $27,775
Country of Origin: Japan
 Year First Manufactured: 2021

2021 Mazda Miata MX-5photo source: Mazda

The Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport is a fan favorite for a reason: its 5.7-second 0-60 performance in one of the most attractive little convertibles. The Miata is not as quick as a Mustang or a Camaro, but because of its agility and incredibly lightweight, it offers the same enjoyment as those muscle cars. In addition, a Miata may be purchased for less than $30,000

The Miata is no exception to Mazda’s reputation for producing durable and surprisingly luxurious automobiles. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces only 181 horsepower, which is more than sufficient for the Miata. As a result, it can keep up with nearly every vehicle on this list and will do so while seeming more attractive than any of them.

It is the Ginger Rogers of inexpensive sports convertibles in terms of effortless coolness.

Did You Know:

The MX-5 series is one of the longest-running nameplates currently on sale without any modification to its general attitude. It was initially made available for purchase in the year 1989.


6. Subaru BRZ

Speed: 140 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $27,995
Country of Origin: Japan
 Year First Manufactured: 2015

Subaru BRZphoto source: AutoDeal

The Subaru BRZ remains an economical and appealing vehicle to drive. It is still small and light, but its boxer-four engine is more powerful and responsive.

The 2.4-liter naturally aspirated boxer-four engine produces 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, propelling the 2,800-pound BRZ to 60 miles per hour in around 5.8 seconds. You can achieve up to 140 miles per hour with strong ride quality and enough steering feedback.

Its naturally aspirated 228-horsepower flat-four makes up for it with enviable acceleration figures.

Did You Know:

The 2022 Subaru BRZ is the only Subaru without an all-wheel drive.


5. Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback

Speed: 145 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $27,155
Country of Origin: Japan
 Year First Manufactured: 2015

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastbackphoto source: Auto Industriya

Indeed, you can get a fantastic Mustang for less than $30,000, and it’s a superb car. The four-cylinder EcoBoost accelerates from zero to sixty miles per hour in a respectable 5.8 seconds, owing to its 310 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

A twin-turbo straight-four engine with 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. You can add choices without exceeding the $30,000 threshold.

Suppose you have a bit of wiggle room in your budget. In that case, you can max out the Mustang EcoBoost’s stats with the 2.3L High-Performance Package and the EcoBoost Handling Package, which increase the engine’s power output and make the EcoBoost truly track-ready.

Did You Know:

The Ecoboost’s approximately 200-pound weight reduction minimizes understeer, giving it accuracy the American muscle car has traditionally lacked.


4. Chevrolet Camaro 1LT V6

Speed: 149 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $28,290
Country of Origin: United States
 Year First Manufactured: 2015

Chevrolet Camaro 1LT V6photo source: Muscle Cars and Trucks

The Camaro 1LT V6 has a 335-hp, 3.6-liter V6 engine, and a 10-speed automatic transmission, but speed is standard. Even without the V8 engine available on (costly) premium trims, the Camaro accelerates from zero to sixty miles per hour in 4.3 seconds. With a peak speed of 149 mph, it is one of the fastest and cheapest vehicles on this list.

Modern Camaros have a solid, all-around sports car demeanor, excellent handling, and agility, and they can still drag race when necessary.


3. Dodge Challenger SXT

Speed: 150 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $30,000
Country of Origin: United States
 Year First Manufactured: 2012

Dodge Challenger SXTphoto source: Cavauto

The Challenger SXT has a 156-mph peak speed thanks to its 303-hp V6 engine. The Pentastar V-6 engine and TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic gearbox in the 2018 Dodge Challenger SXT provide 305 horsepower and an estimated 30 miles per gallon (mpg) on the interstate.

It is the first and only all-wheel-drive muscle coupe in the world that gives muscle car enthusiasts year-round driving confidence and has new 19-inch aluminum wheels with painted pockets.

Did You Know:

Some of its design is inspired by the 1970s Challenger models.


2. Subaru WRX

Speed: 155 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $30,000
Country of Origin: Japan
 Year First Manufactured: 2012

Subaru WRXphoto source: The Car Connection

The 2022 Subaru WRX gets 271 horsepower and 258 lb-ft from a turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer-four. It launches like a rocket at 155 mph with surprising acceleration. The EPA rates the WRX’s manual transmission at 22 mpg and the CVT automatic at 21.

WRX interiors have carbon-fiber-like embellishments and red contrast stitching. A thick-rimmed, flat-bottom steering wheel and analog instruments are included. Its nimble handling and powerful engine make it a pleasant drive.

Did You Know:

The first three generations of the WRX, which were offered up to the 2015 model year, were based on Impreza models developed for the 1992 World Rally Championship.


1. 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Speed: 155 miles per hour
 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $29,690
Country of Origin: Germany
 Year First Manufactured: 2022

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTIphoto source: Edmunds

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is the fastest car under $30,000 on the market, capable of going 155 miles per hour while costing only $29,690.

Volkswagen added technology and performance to this hatchback. LED headlights and a lower grille with fog lights enhance its new look. In addition, VW mixes tartan fabric with cutting-edge tech inside. The dashboard has been overhauled, and twin digital screens are standard.

The GTI’s turbo four-cylinder engine generates 241 horsepower (up 13) and 273 pound-feet of torque (up 15), with a manual gearbox as standard.

Did You Know:

Autotrader named the Volkswagen Golf GTI “Best New Car of 2022”.

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