Do you have $30,000 (but no more) dog-eared for your next vehicle and are looking for something that’s as fun as it is affordable? Not too terribly long ago, your options would have been pretty limited. Not anymore, though — automakers have recognized that there’s a substantial demand for affordable cars that won’t sacrifice power, performance or speed for affordability.
Automakers today are catering to young, often first-time buyers who are looking for an affordable vehicle that’s cheap to maintain and own but doesn’t necessarily give up its fun factor. Cars like the Volkswagen GTI and Chevrolet Camaro have long been bargain nameplates that don’t sacrifice one for the other.
Those models have only gotten better with age, and as far as bang for the buck is concerned, times have never been better. We recently wrote about some of the fastest cars under $25,000, but when you allow for $5,000 more, the menu changes up a bit.
We checked out 20 of the speediest cars under the $30,000 threshold that offer the most fun (and speed) in their segment. We excluded cars no longer in production (like the MazdaSpeed3), as well as trucks and SUVs, which on a horsepower basis would likely dominate the top end of the rankings. We listed the following vehicles by horsepower (least to most), and though we tried to include just about every applicable model, let us know what we left out in the comments below.