Car speeding along a mountain road.

7 Fastest Used Cars Under $30K On The 2022 Used Market

Hanna Kielar5-minute read
April 08, 2022


The depreciation rates of the fastest sedans hitting the auto market today cannot compare to the solid performance retention of a high-quality sports car. While you could easily get your hands on a Corvette for under $30K, it’s going to be about 15 years old and may be at the end of its road. This list is focused on top-performing vehicles that have just surpassed the fastest depreciation time in their lives — the first few years. In other words, the performance bargains in this year’s list of fast used cars are not slowing down anytime soon.

We compiled our ranking for the fastest cars under $30k available on the used market based on horsepower, 0 – 60 mph time and inventory availability within budget. Then, we referenced consumer reviews, automotive journalists, and industry experts, such as the U.S. News and World Report and Kelley Blue Book. The performance stats listed here are for base model vehicles, unless stated otherwise, although price ranges will increase as you upgrade trim levels.

Let’s explore the best performance cars under $30K.

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2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF.

Source: pomphotothailand -

Best for: Fuel economy

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive

Horsepower: 155 @ 6,000 RPM

0-60 mph time: 6.4 seconds

Estimated value: $24,559

The lightweight Mazda MX-5 Miata RF (meaning retractable fastback) hardtop convertible allows it to excel in fuel economy — garnering 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. With rising gasoline prices, this is one roadster that will feel good to drive all around.

The interior cabin might feel especially accommodating for taller drivers. The RF went without a seat height adjuster, which stripped the vehicle of 80 – 100 pounds in dead weight and offered more ceiling height.

Browse used Mazda MX-5 Miata RF vehicles nationwide.

2016 Ford Mustang Ecoboost

2016 Ford Mustang Ecoboost.

Source: Gabriel -

Best for: Hugging turns

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive

Horsepower: 310 @ 5,500 RPM

0-60 mph time: 6.3 seconds

Estimated value: $21,342

The Ecoboost’s turbocharged 2.3L 4-cylinder engine makes the classic Ford Mustang as aggressive as it looks. The Ecoboost is lighter weight compared to the GT, but is still able to grip the road thanks to its distinctive performance suspension.

If you go with a 2018-2019 model, you’ll be able to hit 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds thanks to the 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Manual transmission devotees may be delighted to try the driver-assist launch control, which is meant to be deployed on the racetrack to improve the 0 – 60 driving experience.

Browse used Ford Mustang Ecoboost vehicles nationwide.

2017 Dodge Challenger SXT

2017 Dodge Challenger SXT.

Source: jetcityimage -

Best for: Retro styling

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive | All-wheel drive option

Horsepower: 305 @ 6,350 RPM 

0-60 mph time: 6.3 seconds

Estimated value: $22,203

The V6 3.6-liter engine Dodge Challenger SXT is a classic American muscle car that, unlike many on this list, is not available in a convertible. The 2017 model year introduced the option of an all-wheel drivetrain for the first time ever, competing with the well-esteemed Subaru WRX. It’s highly ranked for its roominess and 16.2 cubic feet of cargo space.

The SXT trim comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, heated mirrors, keyless start, a USB port and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Browse used Dodge Challenger SXT vehicles nationwide.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

2016 Chevrolet Camaro.

Source: art_zzz -

Best for: High performance

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive

Horsepower: 335 @ 6,800 RPM

0-60 mph time: <4 seconds

Estimated value: $21,361

The remodeled 2016 Chevy Camaro is lighter and faster than its last generation, hitting 60 mph in under 4 seconds, using less fuel, and delivering a whopping 455 horsepower. Car and Driver completed a 40,000-mile long-term test that passed without a single mechanical fault without losing a millisecond in performance.

Select a trim like the SS coupe and you get an even higher-performing vehicle that is one of the fastest budget cars on the market. Plus, it comes in a convertible option as well.

Browse used Chevrolet Camaro vehicles nationwide.

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2019 Hyundai Veloster N

2019 Hyundai Veloster N.

Source: pomphotothailand -

Best for: Agile Handling

Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive

Horsepower: 250 @ 6,000 RPM

0-60 mph time: 5.2 seconds

Estimated value: $28,494

Drivers love the Hyundai Veloster’s performance trim so much, Hyundai decided to discontinue every other trim level and reintroduce the Veloster N as a new 2019 model for the manufacturer. Consumer reviews highlight the delight of the crackle and pops of the engine as the driver changes gears, as well as the disappointment of a low-quality interior cabin. You’ll have to decide for yourself what you think. The Veloster N is the highest premium trim level, which earned our hot hatchback of the year title.

Browse used Hyundai Veloster N vehicles nationwide.

2017 Subaru WRX

2017 Subaru WRX.

Source: VanderWolf Images -

Best For: All-weather revving

Drivetrain: All-wheel drive

Horsepower: 268 @ 5,600 RPM

0-60 mph time: 5.2 seconds

Estimated value: $22,652

The Subaru WRX is the only standard AWD sports car under $30K on our list. The six-speed manual transmission offers unbeatable control over an already locked-in standard all-wheel drive system built to grip sleek, icy road conditions. The premium trim level includes a continuously variable transmission, which increases its gas efficiency while offering a smoother ride, along with fog lights, a sunroof, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels and an all-weather package.

This sporty compact sedan is true to Subaru’s reputation in reliability while remaining a stand-out in performance for the manufacturer.

Browse used Subaru WRX vehicles nationwide.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

2017 Fiat 124 Spider.

Source: Dmytro Surkov -

Best For: Interior luxury

Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive

Horsepower: 160 @ 5500 RPM

0-60 mph time: 6.7 seconds

Estimated value: $21,456

The Fiat 124 Spider has already earned #3 in our best convertible cars roundup for 2022 and for good reason. This convertible coupe is equipped with a standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, often competing against the Mazda Miata. While the two vehicles can look alike, Car and Driver noted that “the Fiat 124 Spider is essentially a more refined but less performance-focused version of the Mazda Miata.”

If your sports car experience must include an upscale interior cabin, try to get your hands on the Fiat 124 Spider Abarath trim level, arguably the most performance-focused of all. Fair warning, most reviews confirm that tall passengers may feel the squeeze of its tight seats.

Browse used Fiat 124 Spider vehicles nationwide.

The Bottom Line: Quick Acceleration And Staying In Budget Means Going Used

You get the best bang for your buck when you buy used vehicles — especially high-performance sports cars with high starting prices. Automotive technology is accelerating quickly, creating higher-quality cars that are built to last. This makes the used car market a great place to find any nearly new high-performance car with plenty of technology.

As these modern-day roadsters      depreciate, their power and performance are proven to remain steady. We recommend browsing the Rocket AutoSM inventory and filtering for price. You’ll be surprised to find that you likely can afford your dream car.

In fact, you can dream bigger. All you need is a “new car smell” air freshener and one of the best used luxury cars on the market to get great value and a head-turning ride.

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Hanna Kielar

Hanna Kielar is a Section Editor for Rocket Auto℠, RocketHQ℠, and Rocket Loans® with a focus on personal finance, automotive, and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.