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9 Good Performance Cars Under $30,000 for 2019

A fun car doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Thanks to popular vehicle segments like hot hatchbacks, muscle cars and sports coupes, buyers wanting performance on a budget have a lot of options. Here, we’ll outline nine of our favorite performance cars available for around $30,000.

2019 Volkswagen GTI

2019 Volkswagen GTI

The Volkswagen GTI is practical, luxurious and a blast to drive. While it was offered as a 2-door in the past, the GTI is only available with four doors today. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and paired with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters and launch control. The GTI has seen its price increase in recent years, and a 2019 model starts at around $28,500 and tops out at about $37,000. Find a Volkswagen GTI for sale

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The legendary Mazda Miata is renowned for its perfect balance, excellent handling, and usable power. Mazda increased the Miata’s power output for 2019, and the updated model makes 181 vs. the 155 of the 2018 version. An automatic is available, but we’d recommend the manual, as if there’s any vehicle that should absolutely be had with a third pedal, it’s the Miata. Pricing starts at about $27,000 and comes to $33,000 for a fully-loaded roadster, or about $35,500 for a hard-top RF model. Find a Mazda MX-5 Miata for sale

2019 Ford Mustang

2019 Ford Mustang

While the Mustang GT is a full-blown V8-powered muscle car, the humbler turbocharged 4-cylinder Mustang offers great performance in its own right, and in an affordable package. Pricing for a base 4-cylinder Mustang with a 6-speed manual transmission starts at around $27,500 when factoring in destination and delivery fees. The "EcoBoost" Mustang, as it’s commonly referred to, puts out 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of and offers a respectable 0-to-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds. For those wanting to stay around the $30,000 mark, the base Mustang’s price tag leaves room to add an option or two, like the black accent package, which includes unique black wheels. Find a Ford Mustang for sale

2019 Chevrolet Camaro

2019 Chevrolet Camaro

Like the Mustang, the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro is available with a small turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The entry-level Camaro puts out only 275 hp to the Mustang’s 310, but makes the run to 60 mph in a similarly-quick 5.4 seconds. A base Camaro with a manual transmission starts at about $25,500, while the automatic costs an extra $1,500. Find a  Chevrolet Camaro for sale

2019 Honda Civic Si

2019 Honda Civic Si

The Civic Si stands out for a couple of reasons. In an era where most sporty compact cars utilize turbocharged powertrains, the Civic Si uses old-school natural aspiration. The 1.5-liter 4-cylinder puts out 205 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, the Civic Si comes in both sedan and coupe forms, the latter of which is a rarity in the compact segment today. Honda doesn’t offer the Civic Si with many options. A 6-speed manual is standard, and just about any one you buy comes in at around $25,000. Find a Honda Civic for sale

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

As with the basic Jetta, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI is all-new for 2019. While it comes with the same powertrain as the GTI, the new GLI comes in at a lower pricepoint, making it a value-oriented alternative to the more practical hatchback GTI. Performance between the two vehicles is similar, and like the GTI, the Jetta can be had with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters and launch control. Pricing ranges from about $27,000 to $31,000, meaning that buyers can get an almost-loaded GLI for right around $30k. Find a Volkswagen Jetta for sale

2019 Subaru BRZ

2019 Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86

Toyota and Subaru’s co-developed compact, rear-wheel-drive sports car, the 86 and the BRZ twins, focus on balance and driving dynamics over power and speed. Under the hood is a Subaru-developed boxer four-cylinder putting out 200 horsepower and only 151 lb-ft of torque. Transmission options are a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. There’s hardly a difference between the Subaru and the Toyota, both of which start at around $27,000 and top out at around $32,000. Find a Subaru BRZ for sale or Find a Toyota 86 for sale

2019 Ford Fiesta ST

2019 Ford Fiesta ST

The subcompact Ford Fiesta ST is one of the smallest performance cars on sale today. The Fiesta ST comes with a 6-speed manual paired with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine putting out 197 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque. If you’re interested in a micro-size 4-door hot hatchback, act fast, as Ford has announced the entire Fiesta line will be discontinued after the 2019 model year. If you can find one, expect to find it at a pretty great value, as prices start at about $21,000 and top out at $26,000, and that’s before factoring in any manufacturer and dealer discounts offered given the Fiesta’s lame-duck status. Find a Ford Fiesta for sale

2019 Subaru Impreza WRX

2019 Subaru Impreza WRX

Bred from Subaru’s rallying history, the Impreza WRX is a turbocharged, all-wheel drive performance sedan offering great acceleration and traction on all kinds of different surfaces. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. While a continuously variable automatic is available, we find a CVT to be blasphemous in a performance sedan, and strongly recommend the 6-speed manual. The WRX starts at around $28,000. Find a Subaru WRX for sale

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