The Best All-New Cars Under $30,000

Camry, Accord top list of all-new 2018 models

If you want to know what the best all-new cars of the 2018 model year are you’ve come to the right place. We at DT have had the opportunity to sample virtually every member of the brand-new-for-2018 crop, and we can attest that the bar has been raised to nearly stratospheric heights this year. Certainly we must acknowledge the American market has turned to crossover SUVs in ever-increasing numbers over the course of the past decade, but that doesn’t mean the auto manufacturers have turned their collective backs on the car. So if you are looking for a sports sedan, a family car, an economy car or a hybrid you will find some very tantalizing choices on this list.

We at DT consider ourselves to be masters of suspense, so to maintain suspense as long as possible, we have structured this list in ascending order. For those of you who have trouble distinguishing “ascending” from “descending,” (and on some days we’re right with you) this means we are saving the top cars until last. But from bottom to top, this is one hell of a list.

Kia Rio

If you think the all-new 2018 Kia Rio sedan and five-door hatchback have a European look, you are onto something. Kia is a Korean automaker, but its international design staff features players who had key roles at Audi not too long ago. Because of that the fourth generation of the subcompact is one of theKia_Rio most attractive vehicles in its segment.  Both sedan and hatchback have grown slightly, and both feature the “tiger-nose” grille treatment that Kia favors these days.  Despite the fact it is a subcompact, the Rio offers significant creature comforts including six-way adjusting driver’s seat, tilt steering column, full instrumentation, air conditioning and a console with storage and two12-volt DC power outlets, very nice for about $18,000.

Subaru Impreza

Want a model that is all-new for just a hundred bucks more than the previous model?  If so, the Subaru Impreza might be your cup of joe.  Subaru is proud of the fact that the Impreza is built on its utterly new Subaru Global Platform. What this means to you is the new sedan and four-door hatchback models are more agile, more comfortable and more crashworthy.  Of course, the Impreza is equipped with Subaru’s trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, which gives the vehicle remarkable traction and roadworthiness. Power comes from a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection. Even the base model, with a suggested list price of $18,495, includes a bevy of features including a 6.5-inch multimedia touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, power windows with auto up/down and 60/40-split fold-down rear seat.

Hyundai Ioniq

This year the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid joins the Hybrid and Electric in the varied Ioniq model lineup, and it is a fine addition indeed.  With 27 miles of all-electric range when fully charged, the Ioniq might enable you to commute gasoline-free.  Should conditions compel the use of the 104-horsepower gasoline engine, you can rest comfortably knowing you have a remarkable 650 miles of range.  But there’s more to the IIon_IQoniq than just fuel economy.  The attractive four-door hatchback features a seven-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the instrumentation is supplemented with a 4.2-inch display.  Steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, dual-zone automatic temperature control and automatic projector beam headlights give the $29,000 (est) Ioniq an upscale feel.

Toyota Camry

In its eighth generation the Toyota Camry presents a decidedly dual personality to the world. Toyota product planners made certain that the lineup includes a plain vanilla version whose major calling card is unquestioned reliability, but other versions of America’s favorite driving appliance go out of their way to be sporty.  Okay, not necessarily Porsche sporty, but certainly more performance-oriented than any previous Camry. As proof, while others are ditching their V6-powered versions, the Camry offers a 3.5-liter V6 offering a potent 301 horsepower. But if you want to keep your payout below $30K, you’ll have to stick with the 2.5-liter four cylinder with 203 horsepower. The sportier XSE delivers just three more horsepower, but it looks much cooler, and it has an MSRP just under $30,000.

Honda Accord

We hate to gush (really we do), but after spending time in several versions of the all-new Honda Accord we really can’t help it. This is a sedan that covers just about every family-car base – comfortable, roomy, economical and, yes, fun to drive.  Gone is the previous version’s V6, and in its place is a 252-horsepower turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine mated to a 10-speed automatic or manual transmission that has the car magazine guys excited. But if you’re like most Accord buyers, you’ll find the 1.5-liter four cylinder (also turbocharged) a very rational choice. Also utterly rational is the Accord’s safety array; forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are standard equipment. Multiple versions of the 2018 Honda Accord are available for less than $30,000.  The line forms to your right.

About Tom Ripley 54 Articles
Born in Boston, Tom Ripley has been writing about the automotive industry and the human condition for more than a decade. He's a frequent traveller but nominally resides in Villeperce, France.