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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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