Best new cars for under £30,000

Ten of the best, and class-leading new cars for less than £30,000

James Mills
Feb 13, 2019

Sports cars, family cars, executive cars, estates, pickup trucks, electric cars – the list of the makes, models and types of car available when drivers have a budget of £30,000 to spend is enough to make your head spin.

Choosing wisely between these involves much more than looking at the price. Families will need to size up the comparative comfort and practicality of a saloon compared with an estate, people carrier and SUV. Whereas anyone after a car that’s more about sports seats than child seats will need to research the bang for their buck that hot hatchbacks, coupes and roadsters have to offer.

There are running costs to weigh up, residual values to consider, finance deals to ponder and part-exchanges to haggle over. But before any of that can start, you have to add the best cars to your shortlist.

To help, the team of reviewers at BuyaCar have shortlisted ten class-leading cars that are available for £30,000.

It goes without saying, drivers should be prepared to shop around and push dealers for a bargain, checking offers against the discounts available through BuyaCar, which connects customers with dealers hungry to bid for their business.

Best new cars for under £30,000

1) Audi A4

Our pick Audi A4 saloon SE 35 TFSI

List price £30,215 (around £26,297 after discount)

The Audi A4 isn’t just one of the most refined and comfortable premium saloon cars on the road, it’s also one of the best value. Less expensive than the Mercedes C-Class, it boasts good residual values and has an expansive range for those who want to spend more than £30,000.

The interior is a minor work of art, and the supple ride comfort and low levels of noise in the interior make this a car for soothing away the stresses and strains of a long day or, indeed, a long drive.

Private drivers who travel less than 12,000 miles a year would be best served by the petrol-powered A4 35 TFSI, together with the seven-speed automatic gearbox. In SE trim, it costs £30,215. For company car drivers, many who typically demand diesel, it costs a little more.
Audi A4 buying guide

2) Hyundai Kona Electric

Our pick Hyundai Kona Electric Premium 64KWh

List price £32,845

We rate the Hyundai Kona Electric highly, and we’re not the only ones. The affordable, electric family car won its category in the 2018 Auto Express Car of the Year awards, seeing off the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf, not to mention the BMW i3.

There are two versions of the EV that cost less than £30,000. However, these come with the less powerful 39KWh battery, so if you can stretch to a little more, the most affordable version powered by the 64KWh battery is the pick of the range.

It offers a 300-mile driving range that makes it a practical everyday car. Also helping it work well with everyday life is the SUV-style body. It’s high, giving a good view of the road, and spacious, so a family will fit comfortably. The bonus of reducing fuel bills and emissions makes it all the more tempting to plug in to the electric car revolution.
Hyundai Kona Electric buying guide

3) Skoda Kodiaq

Our pick Skoda Kodiaq SE L 1.5 TSI DSG automatic (7-seat)

List price £30,590 (around £24,980 after discount)

It is big, and it is clever. Skoda’s largest SUV pretty much hits the bullseye for most buyers who hanker after an SUV but don’t want to break the bank. The car is packaged to perfection, feeling manoeuvrable on the road and when negotiating a busy multi-storey car park, yet inside it boasts one of the most spacious interiors of any SUV.

Anyone sat in the back row will be especially spoilt for space in which to stretch out. With room to spare, it means the middle row of seats can be nudged forward a little, when people need to sit in the back to chairs, and everyone will be comfortable.

Our pick of the range would probably be the good-value SE L trim with the smooth 1.5-litre petrol engine and an automatic gearbox. Four-wheel drive isn’t strictly necessary, although anyone covering lots of miles may wish to switch to the slightly more costly diesel version.
Skoda Kodiaq buying guide

4) Mini Countryman PHEV

Our pick Mini Countryman PHEV Cooper S E All4 Classic

List price £31,895 (around £30,000 after discount)

Plug-in hybrid may not be a term to raise your pulse rate and send a shiver of excitement down your spine but there are some cars, like the Mini Countryman PHEV, that are equal parts family-friendly, eco-friendly and hit-the-road-and-enjoy-the-drive-friendly.

The Countryman, in case you didn’t know, is Mini’s SUV, a sort of posher, more fashion-focused Nissan Qashqai. Now into its second generation, it’s much bigger than the original model, so back seat space and headroom are surprisingly generous, and the boot’s a reasonably practical 405 litres.

More significantly, the PHEV has the potential to drive for 26 miles on battery power. Alternatively, leave it to behave like a self-charging hybrid (think Toyota Prius) and it will mix and match the electric motor with the petrol engine seamlessly. Add terrifically responsive roadholding and Mini’s signature ‘groovy’ design and this is one of the more desirable plug-in hybrids for £30,000.
Mini Countryman buying guide

5) Volkswagen Tiguan

Our pick Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 4Motion SEL

List price £30,375 (around £27,401 after discount)

While the Skoda Kodiaq would is the first choice in this price range, we recognise that even in this day and age not all drivers are comfortable with the Skoda brand. So which better make to turn to than Skoda’s parent company, Volkswagen?

The Tiguan looks every inch a premium product. It has crisp creases throughout the bodywork and the big ‘VW’ badge stands proud on the grille. Inside, its dashboard looks stylish, the layout is a model of simplicity and the driving position is reassuringly lofty, affording a good view of the road ahead.

We’d be tempted to plump for the proven 2-litre turbo diesel engine, as it’s competitively priced in SE trim, and for pretty much bang-on £30,000 you can also have it with VW’s 4 Motion four-wheel drive system.
Volkswagen Tiguan buying guide

6) Volvo V60

Our pick Volvo V60 Momentum D3

List price £32,410 (around £28,939 after discount)

Is this the most handsome estate car on the road? You can make your own mind up, but we’re smitten. There’s an elegance about this car that continues through to the interior. Take the dashboard. It’s minimal, with few buttons, a touchscreen and some delightful detailing and trim that give it the vibe of a Scandinavian furniture maker’s home.

It’s also practical. Five can sit in a V60 in comfort, and the 529-litre boot is one of the largest in the class. If it isn’t enough for the things busy families can throw at it, fit a roof box for those times when more space is needed.

Prices are level with Audi, BMW and Mercedes, and discounts will be hard to find because the car is so new to the market. But we feel the V60 is worth stretching your budget for.
Volvo V60 buying guide

7) Volkswagen Golf R

Our pick Volkswagen Golf R 5-door

List price £33,535 (around £30,000 after discount)

If you love the idea of owning a hot hatchback but feel that many of the current crop of tuned and toned pocket rockets more closely resemble a fighter ship from the latest Star Wars franchise than a stealthy hatchback, the Golf R has got your name on it.

The most modestly dressed hot hatch on the road – it looks less shouty than its more affordable GTI sibling – the R hides its light under a bushel. But what a light. The 2-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is a bit of a belter, with 310hp. Admittedly, that’s less than some rivals, but trust us, on the road, in a car of this size, it’s all you’ll ever need to have a good time.

With pliant suspension, the Golf R is also surprisingly civilised when the journey involves many miles of traffic and tailbacks. You’ll need to search for offers on this car, though, or haggle hard, to bring it down to £30,000. But in our experience a chunky discount is easy to secure on the R.
Volkswagen Golf R buying guide

8) Audi TT

Our pick Audi TT Roadster Sport 40 TFSI

List price £33,855

Trying to find a head-turning roadster that is practical enough to be useable every day of the year and won’t blow the £30,000 budget is difficult. There’s always the Mazda’s MX-5, but that’s cheaper and, let’s face it, doesn’t have the kudos that comes with having an Audi roadster outside your home.

So the Audi TT Roadster it is. It turns heads. It feels special to sit in. It lowers its roof at the touch of a button in a matter of seconds. And it drives remarkably well.

Even the entry-level engine, a 2-litre - 197hp, turbocharged petrol unit – has a bit of bite to it, so those who don’t feel the need to drive as if their trousers are on fire can rest assured that the most affordable version of Audi’s classy roadster is all the car they’ll need.
Audi TT buying guide

9) Renault Grand Scenic

Our pick Renault Grand Scenic Iconic Blue dCi 120

List price £26,665 (around £24,653 after discount)

The latest Renault Grand Scenic may not have any new tricks up its sleeve, but it’s tremendous value for money compared with most SUVs. More practical, too. You get a vast boot with a nice low floor that makes loading luggage or pets a doddle. There are six independent seats (it’s a seven-seater but two in the middle row are joined) and the rearmost seats are acceptable for adults if the middle row is adjusted on its rails.

Equipment levels are generous and the Grand Scenic feels a little bit more responsive to the driver’s commands than some cars of its kind. Add low prices to the list of positives and this is a car that deserves more attention than it receives.
Renault Grand Scenic buying guide

10) Mitsubishi L200

Our pick Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian double cab automatic

List price £29,030 (around £28,500 after discount)

Do you work hard, and play hard? Does your job require a van, pickup or commercial version of a 4x4? Then you’ll be needing to know about the Mitsubishi L200, which, pound for pound, is one of the hardest grafters on the road.

So it should be. Mitsubishi has had more than 30 years of fine-tuning to perfect its pickup. It’s well equipped, has an impressively strong 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, can tow over three tonnes and makes light work of traversing rough terrain.

With the potential to return up to 40mpg, it’s also frugal. And like any pickup, it’s classed as a light commercial vehicle (or LCV) for road tax purposes, so you pay a flat rate of £230 a year. With a five-year warranty, it also comes with peace-of-mind as standard.
Mitsubishi L200 buying guide

         

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