10 of the Best Family Cars & SUVs for Under $30,000

September 12, 2020

In Canada, the average price of a new car is tickling the $40,000 line, according to Autotrader’s May 2020 Price Index. There’s no two ways about it, new vehicles have become more expensive in recent years. But that average is driven up by pickup trucks and large SUVs, not to mention luxury vehicles and sports cars. In reality, it’s possible to get a great family vehicle for $30,000 or less.

You don’t have to skimp on the trim either. For well below the average new car selling price in Canada, you can get a well-equipped, fun-to-drive SUV or car that fits the whole family. Wondering which models fit into your budget? We’ve narrowed down the list to our 10 favourite choices in the new car market today. (Or, you can jump to our winner!)

Hyundai Santa Fe Essential

Hyundai Santa Fe Essential

Safety highlights

  • Protective SUPERSTRUCTURE frame
  • Vehicle Stability Management
  • Traction Control System
  • Rear Occupant Alert
  • 6 airbags

Other features

  • 2.4L GDI 4-cylinder engine
  • Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)
  • Heated steering wheel & front seats
  • Seats: 5

Although the Tucson is a little better on fuel, the Hyundai Santa Fe squeaks past it almost solely on the premise that more space is better for families. At 4,151L of total volume and 2,019L behind the front seats, the Santa Fe can accommodate gear, groceries, and more. 

For under $30,000, the Hyundai Santa Fe Essential FWD trim includes a 7" touchscreen, heated steering wheel and front seats, 17” alloy wheels, and projector headlights. 

Toyota Camry SE

Toyota Camry SE

Safety highlights

  • Toyota Safety Sense (TSS-P): Dynamic Radar Cruise Control 
  • Star Safety System
  • 10 airbags

Other features

  • 2.5L 4-Cylinder Engine w/ 203 hp @ 6600 rpm, 
  • Combined City & Highway Rating 7.4 L/100 km 38 mpg 
  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • Seats: 5

When you think family-friendly, Toyota has to be near the top of the list. The Camry SE is one of the most popular packages because it combines style (with 17” alloys), comfort (with heated SofTex front seats), and essential tech the whole family will enjoy (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). No question, safety is standard with Toyota Safety Sense P technologies and the Toyota Camry has always been one of the most dependable models on the road. 

Starting at $28,550, the SE is a few grand more than the LE but you’re guaranteed to appreciate the extra features.

Mazda CX-5 GX

Mazda CX-5 GX

Safety highlights

  • Smart City Brake Support Front
  • Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Wide-angle rear-view camera

Other features

  • 187-hp Skyactiv-G 2.5 L 4-cylinder engine,
  • Mazda Unlimited Mileage Warranty
  • Heated front seats
  • Android Auto & Apple Carplay
  • Seats: 5

Another five-seat SUV to add to the mix, the Mazda CX-5 GX is a 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Probably one of the classiest, best-looking models of the bunch, it’s also one of the best in terms of value. And if warranty equals reliability, no one holds a candle to the three-year unlimited mileage warranty. Although selecting AWD puts it out of the price range, other features like push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, LED headlights, and Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert make up for it. 

It includes, as standard equipment, a 7” colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with Mazda’s HMI Commander switch, all for the base MSRP of $27,950.

Chevrolet Malibu LT

Chevrolet Malibu LT

Safety highlights

  • LATCH System for child car seats
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system w/ traction control
  • Rear Seat Reminder
  • Teen Driver technology
  • 10 airbags

Other features

  • 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder engine
  • Infotainment 3 System with 8" diagonal colour touchscreen
  • Apple Carplay & Android Auto
  • 17” aluminum wheels
  • Seats: 5

Passenger cars aren't as popular as they were, but one notable holdout is the Chevrolet Malibu. The LT trim has the 160hp 1.5L turbo engine and a silky smooth CVT tranny so shifts don’t wake the baby in the backseat. Ten airbags, Chevy’s Rear Seat Reminder, and Teen Driver tech are safety gear that makes the Malibu LT a great family choice. 

Overall passenger volume is amazing at 2,914L, providing elbow room for all five passengers. The Malibu LT rings in at approximately $27,750 MSRP, so you could add on a few upgrades, or you can settle for a Malibu LS at just $25,000.

Ford Fusion Hybrid SE

Ford Fusion Hybrid SE

Safety highlights

  • Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Blind Sport Information System (BLIS) with Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Lane-Keeping System

Other features

  • 2.0L iVCT Atkinson-cycle I-4 engine & electric motor
  • 5.5 L/100km city, 5.6 L/100km hwy, 5.7 L/100km combined
  • SYNC 3 infotainment system
  • Seats: 5

Although you pay more for the Hybrid version upfront, it rewards you with phenomenal fuel mileage for years. The Ford Fusion Hybrid SE delivers 5.6 L/100km (highway), while the ample 2,909L of the interior room means everyone stays comfortable. Safety remains paramount for Ford with BLIS, Lane-Keeping System, and other driver-assist tech, along with SYNC 3 infotainment, voice-activated navigation, and FordPass Connect.

Mom and Dad will love the heated front seats and peace of mind from all the safety equipment that comes standard. MSRP for the Fusion Hybrid SE starts at about $28,800.

Honda Civic Hatchback Sport

Honda Civic Hatchback Sport

Safety highlights

  • Honda LaneWatch blindspot display
  • Forward Collision Warning system
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Collision Mitigation Braking System

Other features

  • 1.5L Direct Injection DOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control with air-filtration system
  • 180-watt 8-speaker audio system w/ Bluetooth, Apple Carplay, and Android Auto
  • Seats: 5

For some families, efficiency takes priority to a cavernous interior. That’s probably why the Honda Civic has been so popular over the years. A 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Civic Hatchback Sport with CVT transmission comes in under the price cutoff at $29,190. Highlights include 18" alloys, Honda LaneWatch blindspot display and other driver-assist systems, dual-zone climate control, and proximity key entry with push-button start. 

Honda cars are known for their reliability, but your family will also enjoy added perks like the heated front seats and 180-watt audio system. And if you want to save a few thousand, the Civic Hatchback LX is a slightly stripped-down option. 

Kia Sportage LX FWD

Kia Sportage LX FWD

Safety highlights

  • Forward Collision Warning 
  • Driver Attention Warning
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Rear view camera

Other features

  • 2.4L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 4-cylinder engine
  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • 17" alloy wheels
  • Seats: 5

For the budget-conscious buyer, the Kia Sportage LX in front-wheel drive deserves your consideration. Impressive highway fuel economy of 7.6 L/100km in a sporty 181-hp package is only a taste of what the Sportage brings to the table. It also includes heated front seats and an 8" display audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Inside, the Sportage LX is like a wide-open space. Total interior volume adds up to 3,660 L including 1,703 L behind the front row. Peace of mind comes standard with a 5-year, 100,000km comprehensive warranty on all Kia models. And we think it’s a bargain starting at $25,800.

Chevrolet Equinox LS AWD

Chevrolet Equinox LS AWD

Safety highlights

  • Automatic Emergency Braking 
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning 
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control

Other features

  • 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder engine
  • 8” colour touchscreen
  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system, 
  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • Seats: 5

The highest-ranked compact SUV in the U.S Dependability Study by J.D. Power, the Chevrolet Equinox has to be on our list. When the LS trim is paired with all-wheel drive, it sneaks under the wire at $29,598 MSRP. For that price, you get more than just high-quality manufacturing; you get Chevrolet Safety Assist tech, remote engine starter, auto stop/start, a 7” touchscreen with smartphone connectivity, and heated front seats. 

With cargo volume behind the front seats coming in at 1,809L, it’s not the biggest in the pack, but it’s certainly not too small to fit a family of five either. 

Mitsubishi Outlander ES S-AWC

Mitsubishi Outlander ES S-AWC
  • Super all‑wheel control w/ drive mode selector
  • Dual front, side-impact curtain, front seat-mounted side-impact, & driver's knee airbags
  • Active Stability Control
  • LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Child Restraint Seats)

Other features

  • 2.4 L SOHC MIVEC 4 cylinder engine
  • 16” alloy wheels
  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • Seats: 7

The only 7-seater SUV we could find for under $30k MSRP is the Mitsubishi Outlander with ES S-AWC trim at $29,998. And honestly, it’s a pretty great ride for what you’re paying! 

The ES package is impressive with an 8" infotainment display, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, and of course, Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control system. Cargo area is decent at 1,792L behind the front seat but with this trim, you’ll give up the driver-assist systems. 

Our Winner!

Apples to apples, the Subaru Forester offers amazing value for families. Safety features like standard EyeSight driver-assist technologies and of course, standard Symmetrical AWD keep the whole family secure. And with the massive hatch area, there’s no shortage of space to pack for a cross-country drive.

Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester

Safety highlights

  • EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology
  • X-MODE® technology featuring Hill Descent Control
  • Rear-view camera

Other features

  • 182-hp 2.5-litre 4-cylinder SUBARU BOXER® engine
  • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
  • Heated front seats
  • Raised roof rails
  • Seats: 5

Built for the family that dare to adventure together, the Subaru Forester includes Symmetrical AWD that comes standard on all trim levels, even the base model. Every forester also comes standard with EyeSight driver-assist technologies to keep you and your family safer. It boasts epic cargo space too, being the only passenger car on our list that’s a wagon with 3053L of volume inside.

With the Forester, you’re barely squeaking under the $30k mark with a price tag of $28,695 MSRP, but we think a safe, reliable model like this is worth it.

Get pre-approved for finance online with Canada Drives

If you're interested in any of the cars on this list, Canada Drives can quickly help you locate the right car for the right price. Begin the journey and get pre-approved for a new car today! Even if you have bad credit, we'll match you with a local dealership that knows how to help!

Related Articles

Are you a First Time Car Buyer? Avoid the Headache With These Tips

How to Buy Your First Car in 4 Simple Steps

What Credit Score Do You Need to Get a Car Loan?

Previous
Next

Apply for Your Car Loan

Your online application takes only 3 minutes to complete and we only ask for information we actually need.

Get Approved Today

Or feel free to call us at
1-888-865-6402