6 Most Powerful Cars Under $30,000

Posted by: Lydia on 20/09/2018

Category: General

One of the best things about motoring in Australia is the great mix of cars we have on our roads. Across this Great Southern Land of 25 million people, there's a fantastic variety of vehicles to meet any need and interest, from utes and compact cars, to SUVs and electric sedans. But oftentimes, the great range available to Aussie drivers can see price as a limiting factor.


That’s why it’s important to showcase the exceptions to the rule, those cars that are powerful performance vehicles but also available at affordable price points. Sure, the pricing may vary a little depending on where you buy in Australia, but each of these 6 vehicles is available for under $30,000 (new and used). Here's a look:

1. Ford Fiesta ST (2019)

This car is a fantastic little bolter. While it’s at home on suburban streets, it packs a real punch under the hood. With the 2019 ST offering a TURBO MPFI 1.6L engine with a max torque of 240Nm @ 1600rpm and max power of 134kW @ 6000rpm, the ST has a terrific turbo kick and swift handling.


It feels like a street-legal version of a car that could do a mean number of laps on a track. It’s also a stylish-looking vehicle with great racing trim, and can fit comfortably in any garages and tight car parks you may come across.

2. VW Polo GTI (2017)

Unlike many cars, the Volkswagen Polo GTI not only looks speedy, it is speedy. It's easy to imagine that a vehicle with such sleek contours and contemporary design is mostly style over substance, without much going on under the hood. But the Polo GTI is a pleasant surprise in this regard. With a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine, delivering 147kW and 320Nm to the front wheels, and adaptive sports suspension, this Polo GTI is power with pleasure in its class.


3. Mini Cooper S

The Mini is an iconic car that has found a strong following over the years from many different quarters. From Mr. Bean to the Italian Job and beyond, if it's small and distinctive-looking with four wheels, odds are good it's a Mini. That’s why the deceptive power of this little car is always impressive, offering a 1598cc 4-cylinder engine, delivering 220Nm max torque and 125kW max power. Sure, the Mini may not be a Ferrari, but it’s a fantastic fun-sized experience.

4. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

The Ford factories may have closed in Australia, but so many fantastic Ford vehicles can still be found across the country. An XR6 can deliver you a terrific V8 engine that provides 195kW @ 6000rpm of power, and 391Nm @ 3250rpm of torque, with all the trimmings of a modern car that you can enjoy safely on city streets without the need for a racing pit crew. These Fords are living history, and also fantastic performance vehicles to boot.

5. Holden Commodore HSV GTS Auto

We really couldn’t have a list of performance vehicles that recognises Ford without also celebrating Holden. Even though, like Ford, Holden has stopped making cars locally, the Commodore remains one of the most iconic Australian models, and the HSV is a terrific and powerful vehicle. With 307kW @ 6000rpm of power and 550Nm @ 4400rpm of torque, this sedan delivers that beautiful combo of weight and speed, like a classic muscle car.

6. Subaru WRX STI

Getting a Subaru WRX STI is a move no devoted car fan will ever forget. These beautifully zippy Japanese racers are outstanding for delivering precision power. With a 2457cc flat-four turbocharged engine, going 0-100 in just over 5 seconds and a top speed of 255km/s, this is a car you can have a ton of fun with, whether on the track or cruising along the highway.  

The Upgrade Option

In addition to the cars on this list, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a number of other cars out there that can be beefed up performance-wise with a bit of effort and money. True, this may not turn a Prius into a Maserati, but there are options available for anyone who's unable to buy a new car right now but wants a performance upgrade.


Many of these upgrades are also super-simple and easy to get done. In addition to getting a good set of performance tyres, there are a number of other ‘bolt on’ performance upgrades that go on easy. Then there are more substantial upgrades you can talk about with your mechanic if you feel your current auto really needs a big boost to its performance.


All of the cars listed above are fantastic rides available at an affordable price. It also remains a good time to buy. While 2018 is not seeing the same highs for car sales as 2017, sales are still strong, with 95,221 units sold in August alone. That means many cars are regularly being bought, traded in, and sold.


Over time, this not only means more turnover of cars in the market, but also the potential for more terrific and powerful vehicles to emerge under the $30,000 price point. In the meantime, there are plenty of outstanding cars ready for you to buy, whether you're purchasing new or secondhand.


In addition to these 6 outstanding vehicles, be sure to keep an eye out for new all-stars emerging down the road, and in the meantime, be open to looking back in recent car history a little, if longing for a sub-$30,000 car that delivers real power.


What other powerful cars do you know of that are priced under $30,000? Let us know in the comments below:

Image: Pixabay