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Sub-$30,000 New Cars Are So Hot Right Now: Report

202403 feb insights scaled jpg Sub-$30,000 new cars | illustration by Paul Dolan

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced car, you may want to buy new. According to a new report compiled by, new cars priced under $30,000 comprise the fastest growing segment in the car market, with inventory numbers growing by a whopping 76% since February 2023.

Related: 2024 Could Be a Buyer’s Market — if You’re Buying New: Report

Recovering From Inventory Shortages

New-car inventory continues to claw itself out of pandemic-era shortages, which could give you as a buyer more leverage to score a great deal. New-car inventory as of February has grown 42.6% year over year. Cars are sitting on lots longer, too: At the height of the pandemic, new cars sat on the lot for an average of 30 days; today, they sit for an average of 65 days.

The average new-car price overall dipped below $49,000 for the first time in over a year, as well, reflecting more automaker incentives and dealership discounts. What’s particularly promising is the rate of growth for sub-$30,000 cars, particularly as high interest rates continue to weigh on consumers. Such vehicles grew from 13% of the new-car market in January to 14% in February, and while that isn’t a huge gain on its own, it shows that the affordable-car market continues to recover.

Reasonably Priced Cars

Here are some of the new vehicles that fit in this reasonably priced category. All come in at an average list price of less than $30,000 (as in the actual number on the listing, not MSRP, so it reflects dealer discounts and other deals); also listed is the number of those models listed on in February and their average list price:

Moreover, some of our reviewers’ favorites and other models we didn’t expect to see at this price point also have a sub-$30,000 average list price, including the Chevrolet Trax, Toyota Corolla (sedan, hybrid and hatchback versions), Subaru Impreza, Chevrolet Malibu and Hyundai Kona.

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Late-Model Used-Car Inventory Is Getting More Scarce

As noted in the February report, this glut of popular models could be a potential source of relief for shoppers looking at a worsening used market, where cars are trending toward older, higher-mileage models. Used cars under $30,000 have roughly 10,000 more miles on average compared to the pre-pandemic era. The upside is that the tight used-car market means that trade-in values for late-model used cars are still up thanks to dealerships looking to woo used buyers out of the woodwork.

So, provided you’re not looking for a larger or luxury model, consider a new vehicle. You’ll likely get more for your trade-in, and you’ll get a brand-new warranty as a cherry on top.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Stef Schrader
News Editor Stef Schrader joined in 2024 but began her career in automotive journalism in 2013. She currently has a Porsche 944 and Volkswagen 411 that are racecars and a Mitsubishi Lancer GTS that isn’t a racecar (but sometimes goes on track anyway). Ask her about Fisher-Price Puffalumps. Email Stef Schrader

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