What's the Best Cheap Speed Car for $30,000?

By Patrick Olsen  on July 28, 2014

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Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

Plenty of drivers want a level of performance without breaking the bank. We found eight cars that prove fun at the track is not limited to the well-to-do.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

We focused our Challenge on compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks that cost less than $30,000, including destination charge. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for cars of this type that came with the features we know are popular with younger drivers looking for a performance kick. After five days of testing (including a day at a drag strip and a day on a road course) by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

 

 

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What You Get for $30,000 (click for full table)

 

 

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears


Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen was born and raised in California. He loves pickup trucks and drivers who pay attention.  Email Patrick


Volkswagen GTI Hyundai Veloster Kia Ford Fiesta Subaru WRX Nissan Juke Nissan Volkswagen Fiat 500 Scion Scion FR-S Fiat Hyundai Ford Subaru Kia Forte 30000 Cheap Speed Challenge