Best new cars for under £30,000

Looking for the best new car for £30,000 or less? Take your pick from upmarket SUVs, sports cars, electric models and even seven-seaters

Chris Rosamond
Jul 15, 2022

Have a budget of £30,000 to spend on a brand new car? If that's the case, you’ve opened the door to a very handsome choice of options. From cutting-edge electric cars to some of the most fashionable SUVs on the market, not to mention some prime sporty options, this price range will get you the keys to some very desirable cars with high-end badges attached.

It goes without saying that £30,000 is a sizeable chunk of money, so you want to make sure the car you drive away with is absolutely right for you. So, to help you make those difficult choices, we've put together this list of some of the very best new cars for under £30,000 on sale today.

£30,000 gets you some great new cars, but if you want even more for your money, you may want to consider nearly new or used models to get a larger model, higher specification level or more powerful model. If that whets your appetite, click on the button above to take a look at the cars available to order now on BuyaCar for £30,000 and less.

Whether you’re considering a new or used model, there are also a variety of finance options open to you, which can make the process of getting a new car more affordable by spreading the cost over a series of monthly payments. Our in-depth guides below will give you all the details.

If you’re set on a brand new car for cash, read on for our selection of the 10 best cars you can buy for under £30,000.

Best new cars for under £30,000

1. Audi Q2

Our pick Audi Q2 30 TFSI Sport
List price £26,635
Used deals from £17,199
Monthly finance from £271*

‘City car agility with SUV presence’ is how Audi bills its smallest high-riding Q model, and if you want to push the boat out with an upmarket small SUV, the Q2 is one of the best around.

There are much cheaper SUVs out there like the Renault Captur which start at around half of our £30,000 budget, but the Captur prioritises practicality over having a posh interior, like the Audi’s.

Luckily the Audi Q2 lives up to its image with a great drive and quality feel. In particular the very classy cabin is a cut above, and the Q2 comes loaded with desirable tech features too. Especially in our favoured Sport trim which comes with bright LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels and Audi’s slick Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard plus the excellent ‘MMI Navigation Plus’ media system.


2. Nissan Leaf

Our pick Nissan Leaf 39kWh Acenta
List price £28,995
Used deals from £20,495
Monthly finance from £329*

The original Nissan Leaf launched in 2010, and used examples of that first generation can be had from as little as £11,500 on BuyaCar. It was replaced - and significantly improved - with this second generation in 2017. It has also been less affected by the recent price rises than many other models, so is one of a handful of electric cars still available from under £30,000 new.

For this price point, you'll be looking at an entry-level Acenta model, but this isn't a bad thing. It comes with an eight-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a reversing camera and stylish alloy wheels (many electric cars come as standard with wheel trims, with manufacturers claiming better aerodynamics, thus more range).

This model, with the 39kWh battery, should be able to do 168 miles according to Nissan. Every Leaf can charge at up to 6.6kW (many rivals can do 7kW or 11kW), and they all support 50kW rapid charging but this is with a less common CHAdeMO connector. Not a problem, though, because most rapid charging stations should be able to accommodate.


3. Skoda karoq

Our pick Skoda Karoq SE L 1.0 TSI
List price £28,090
Used deals from £14,000
Monthly finance from £201*

Until recently, seven-seat variants of the larger Kodiaq SUV have been available for less then £30,000, however rising prices have pushed it into a more expensive category. There are still plenty of options for the smaller Kodiaq within budget; we've gone for the second trim level, SE L, with the fun-to-drive 110hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.

If you need extra pulling power, the 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine might be better suited, but it's not as smooth as we'd like it to be. The 1.0-litre engine feels a lot quicker than you'd expect, and should be able to manage more than 40mpg even in a car of this size.

All versions come with rear parking sensors, LED headlights, and dual-zone climate control, but our SE L trim adds a reversing camera, heated seats in the front, a heated steering wheel, and keyless entry. In fact, there's little need to upgrade to the range-topping Sportline, as most of the upgrades are cosmetic.


4. Mini Hatchback

Mini Hatchback

Our pick Mini Cooper S Exclusive 3dr
List price £27,915
Used deals from £10,905
Monthly finance from £204*

The Mini has been one of the most desirable small cars around for quite a few years now, thanks to its fashionable styling, upmarket feel and fun driving characteristics. Previous diesel models have been dropped, so there are only petrol versions available from new, unless you're willing to consider the Mini Electric which costs more than £30,000.

We've picked the sporty Cooper S model with its 178hp 2.0-litre engine which sounds great. There are three trim levels available - Classic, Exclusive, and Resolute - and all under £30,000, but we think Exclusive represents the best value for money. It has rear parking sensors, cruise control, and sporty leather seats. Besides that, Resolute models are only available in a green and bronze colour combination.

Five-door versions are available, and at a £700 premium, the price to pay for additional practicality is very reasonable. That said, we think the three-door models look more sporty.


5. Mazda MX-5 RF

Our pick Mazda MX-5 RF 1.5 Skyactiv-G Sport
List price £29,925
Used deals from £16,905
Monthly finance from £269*

If you’re looking for a genuinely sporty drive for under £30,000 you’re limited to a variety of high-performance hatchbacks offering varying degrees of heat, or this, the world’s best-selling two-seat sports car.

You can’t beat the practicality of a hot hatch, but if the idea of driving a souped-up family car is all a bit ‘meh’, then the MX-5 definitely has what it takes to put a grin on your face. Your £30,000 gives you the choice of all the regular convertible models, but for extra style and comfort we’d be looking at the Retractable Fastback ‘RF’ version.

In which case, you’ll have to make do with the lower powered 1.5-litre engine option in Sport trim, but the lack of performance is only relative, and the extra civility of the RF is worth its weight in gold when it’s cold outside and you’re snug in the MX-5 RF’s coupe-like cabin.


6. Skoda Superb Estate

Skoda Superb Estate front

Our pick Skoda Superb Estate 1.5 TSI SE
List price £29,585
Used deals from £14,000
Monthly finance from £254*

While the estate car shape has declined in popularity in recent years, with a surge in the sale of SUVs, many estates remain the most practical vehicles for transporting large items. The Superb Estate is one such car - the 660-litre boot can be extended to very nearly 2,000 litres with the seats folded down, which is more space than you'd get in a Mercedes E-Class Estate which starts at nearly £50,000.

SE is the entry-level spec in this car, but it still comes with front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, a digital driver's display, and push-button start.


7. Ford Kuga

Our pick Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Zetec
List price £29,755
Used deals from £22,995
Monthly finance from £340*

The Ford Kuga is a consummate family SUV, offering a winning combination of style, space, great driving characteristics and easy ownership.

Rivals include the Skoda Karoq, Peugeot 3008 and Hyundai Tucson, and as such the new-for-2021 Kuga faces stiff competition. It offers handsome, swoopy styling, a standard 8.8-inch media system and one of the biggest boots around - at the same time as being one of the nicest cars in its class to drive, thanks to its accurate steering and agile feel.

If you're willing to pay a bit extra, Ford’s high-selling Titanium trim level offers buyers a long list of luxurious gadgets and features that make it hard to resist. As well as 18-inch alloys you get all-round LED lighting, a hands-free powered tailgate, a reversing camera and a swishy 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.


8. Renault Arkana

Our pick Renault Arkana 1.3 TCe 140 MHEV S Edition
List price £28,695

You don’t need to be a footballer to want a high-riding SUV that offers the sleek lines of a sporty coupe, but it helps if you have deep pockets, as they’ve only been available from upmarket brands such as BMW and Mercedes. Well not any more, thanks to the launch of the Renault Arkana, which is a sleek SUV spin-off that is built around the same platform as the Renault Clio and Captur.

Prices for this elegantly swoopy crossover start at not much more than £26,000, but if you have £30,000 to spend, we’d recommend a look at the mid-spec Arkana S Edition with a larger touchscreen media system, reversing camera, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry.

Power comes from a 1.3-litre mild hybrid petrol engine with 140hp or a hybrid 1.6-litre petrol with 145hp - although that one’s just £5 short of the £30,000 budget. Still, while the Arkana S Edition is more about show than go, you can’t beat the value of an SUV coupe which undercuts Mercedes and BMW rivals by tens of thousands. As the Arkana is so new, it will take a while for cars to arrive.



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