Top 5 Underrated Cars Under $30k

A few ways to drive more for less.

Eli Blueby Eli Blue

Chevy Cruze

Beyond the glitzy, innovative class leaders in every class and price segment are diamonds in the rough, cars with lesser marketing campaigns and even lesser but rising reputations. These are the cars which tend to break itself in one or two selling points, such as value, reliability, and safety.


Here are our picks for top 5 underrated cars under $30,000


2011 Chevrolet Malibu – The $21,000 Malibu appears to be a midsize car class stalwart, a perennial mid to bottom 10 contender which doesn´t appear to have caught a break. However, its styling is a cut under the Sonata´s with A+ sheet metal quality, bolder styling than the Accord and Camry, and tied for second in midsize fuel economy at 22/33 mpg. Its two tone interior color and Buick-like sound insulation is also a plus, although behind the class leaders on materials quality and rear room. A navigation system is also not offered with any trim.


2011 Volkswagen Golf – The Golf is not so much underrated as it is ignored. With a base price of $17,000, it costs more than the Ford Fiesta, Civic, Fit, and Cruze by thousands more. However, this machine boasts arguably the best cabin in its class with Bluetooth and touch screen. The Golf offers the choice of two or four door hatchback design. It is a better driver than the Civic with a powerful five cylinder base engine (170HP) and its Electronic Stability Program which has won awards for traction control and earned a¨Top Safety Pick¨ distinction from the IIHS.


2011 Chrysler 300 – Chrysler, synonymous with ¨lousy reputation¨can attain the new title of ¨struggling comeback kid¨ with a large car surprisingly creeping up to the same level as class mainstays Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon. The big story for Chrysler is its new Pentastar V6 engine, a new touchscreen infotainment system, and a new redesign on four trims.


2011 Chevrolet Cruze – Although all new, the Cruze replaces a broken legacy with the previous generation Cobalt with its record 10 air bags, killer five year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty,comparable fuel economy to class leaders Fiesta and Cruze (26/36),and a Top Safety Pick distinction.


2011 Suzuki Kizashi – It is easy to overlook the Kizashi in the ultra competitive midsize car segment and its motorcycle pedigree which can knock this machine out of consideration. However,its Sport GTS and Sport SLS comes with many upgrades the Accord and Camry don´t have, like all-wheel drive, keyless entry,and sportier handling. It is also the lowest priced midsize at $18,999. One knock on the Kizashi is its small dimensions; a switch to compact car status may be in order.