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  2. Fastest SUVs you can buy under 30k in 2022

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Overview

High performance is a desirable quality in any car. While it is one of the main features of a sports car, urban models benefit from it as well. It makes the driver more confident to face tough traffic situations and makes the overall driving experience more pleasant. 

Here, we are going to show you ten fastest SUVs under 30k, so you can finally balance strong acceleration with affordable prices. 

  • 2022 Mazda CX-30
  • 2021 Chevrolet Blazer
  • 2022 Mazda CX-5
  • 2022 Subaru Forester
  • 2021 Ford Escape
  • 2022 Volkswagen Taos
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
  • 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line
  • 2021 Kia Seltos Turbo
SUV name
2022 Mazda CX-30
2021 Chevrolet Blazer
2022 Mazda CX-5
2022 Subaru Forester
2021 Ford Escape
2022 Volkswagen Taos
2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line
2021 Kia Seltos Turbo
2021 Kia Soul Turbo
Price
$23,725
$29,995
$27,475
$27,070
$26,800
$24.690
$29,715
$27,095
$29,165
$28,825
Engine
2.5L I4
2.5L I4
2.5L I4
2.5L B4
Turbo 1.5L I3
Turbo 1.5L I4
2.5L I4 + 2 electric motors
Turbo 1.6L I4
Turbo 1.6L I4
Turbo 1.6L I4
Rating
7.5/10
7.5/10
8/10
8/10
8.5/10
8.5/10
9/10
9/10
9.5/10
10/10
Fuel economy
26 mpg
24 mpg
26 mpg
26 mpg
28 mpg
31 mpg
40 mpg
32 mpg
27 mpg
29 mpg
Performance (0 to 60 mph)
8.1 s
8.1 s
8.1 s
8.0 s
7.7 s
7.4 s
7.4 s
7.3 s
6.6 s
6.4 s
NHTSA Safety Rating
5 stars
5 stars
5 stars
5 stars
5 stars
N/A
5 stars
5 stars
4 stars
4 stars
JD Power Score
N/A
84/100
N/A
82/100
N/A
N/A
N/A
79/100
80/100
83/100

1. 2021 Kia Soul Turbo [10/10]

Type: Subcompact, 2-row, Price: $28,825, Reliability score: 83/100

Source: www.kiamedia.com

Why We Picked It: While the Soul is regularly updated, Kia has managed to preserve its subversive personality quite well. Instead of simply shocking buyers through its appearance, Kia decided to appeal to more people by giving it a Turbo version. The result is a unique design paired to the fastest SUV 0-60 time of this list. If performance is your priority in this category, look no further.

Pros
External design is impossible to mistake
Surprising internal room for four people
Excellent turbocharged performance
Cons
Fuel efficiency could be better
Cargo space is rather small and not flat
Some desirable features are not present
Specs

  • Acceleration: 6.4 seconds.
  • Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L I4; 201 hp of power and 195 lb-ft of torque.
  • Fuel economy: 27 mpg city; 32 mpg highway; 29 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 24.2 ft³ behind the rear seats.
  • Towing capacity: Official information not available.

 
Features specialization:

  • Ambient lighting
  • SiriusXM radio

2. 2021 Kia Seltos Turbo [9.5/10]

Type: Compact, 2-row, Price: $29,165, Reliability score: 80/100

Source: www.kiamedia.com

Why We Picked It: If the Soul is too funky and playful for you, the Seltos poses a quite compelling alternative for conservative tastes. The value-oriented Turbo variation makes it one of the fastest SUV under 30k, only losing to another Kia. Then again, keep in mind that we are still talking about an entry-level brand: you should not expect smoothness or sophistication from this model.

Pros
Available 10.3-inch touchscreen
Engaging dynamics for the category
Roomy interior for five occupants
Cons
Few electronic safety items as standard
Suspension makes ride quality harsh
Automatic transmission is not so quick
Specs

  • Acceleration: 6.6 seconds.
  • Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L I4; 175 hp of power and 195 lb-ft of torque.
  • Fuel economy: 25 mpg city; 30 mpg highway; 27 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 20.2 ft³ behind the rear seats; 45.2 ft³ behind the front seats.
  • Towing capacity: Official information not available.

 
Features specialization:

  • All-wheel drive
  • Wireless charging pad

3. 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line [9/10]

Type: Subcompact, 2-row, Price: $27,095, Reliability score: 79/100

Source: www.hyundai.com

Why We Picked It: Once you move to the subcompact segment, you can find quite beautiful pearls in the market. The N-Line version makes the Kona one of the fastest budget cars currently on sale. A turbocharged engine perfectly responds to the upgraded appearance and takes the model very close to the driving experience hot hatches typically offer.
Pros
Turns people’s heads wherever it goes
Nice package of standard equipment
Turbocharged engine is very engaging
Cons
Steering feel is too heavy and vague
Not appropriate to haul large cargo
Electric option is much more expensive
Specs

  • Acceleration: 7.3 seconds.
  • Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L I4; 195 hp of power and 195 lb-ft of torque. The N version is not considered because of its price.
  • Fuel economy: 29 mpg city; 35 mpg highway; 32 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 20.2 ft³ behind the rear seats; 45.2 ft³ behind the front seats.
  • Towing capacity: Official information not available.

 
Features specialization:

  • 10” touchscreen
  • Sporty version

4. 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid [9/10]

Type: Compact, 2-row, Price: $29,715, Reliability score: Not available

Source: pressroom.toyota.com

Why We Picked It: After years of learning with the Prius, Toyota has become confident to take the hybrid technology to more market segments. As it turns out, this strategy has made the RAV4 one of the fastest SUV cars under 30000. Even though truly sporty performance will be found on other compact SUVs, the truth is that this one is one of the most balanced you can find today.
Pros
Large internal room for five occupants
Vigorous acceleration for a hybrid
Many driver assistance items offered
Cons
Dynamic behavior is not quite engaging
Interesting options drive prices up fast
Internal competition from several SUVs
Specs

  • Acceleration: 7.4 seconds.
  • Engine: 2.5L I4 + two electric motors; 219 hp of power and 163 lb-ft of torque. The Prime plug-in version is not considered because of its price.
  • Fuel economy: 41 mpg city; 38 mpg highway; 40 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 37.6 ft³ behind the rear seats; 69.8 ft³ behind the front seats.
  • Towing capacity: 1750 lb.

 
Features specialization:

  • 11-speaker JBL stereo
  • Keyless entry

5. 2022 Volkswagen Taos [8.5/10]

Type: Subcompact, 2-row, Price: $24,690, Reliability score: Not available

Source: www.vw.com

Why We Picked It: Volkswagen has always aimed at producing the fastest affordable cars. The SUV craze has driven it away from staple models such as the Golf, but it has also brought the Taos – and many, many other SUVs. Here, you will find enough room for five adults and a nice combination of vigorous acceleration and low fuel consumption. But don’t expect to turn any heads– that’s too much to ask for. 
Pros
Impressive room at the rear seat row
Great cargo area behind the rear seats
Fuel-efficient despite strong engine
Cons
External design is simply inexpressive
Cabin trim applies low-grade materials
AWD comes with dual-clutch gearbox
Specs

  • Acceleration: 7.4 seconds.
  • Engine: 1.5L I4; 158 hp of power and 184 lb-ft of torque.
  • Fuel economy: 25 mpg city; 32 mpg highway; 31 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 27.9 ft³ behind the rear seats; 65.9 ft³ behind the front seats.
  • Towing capacity: Official information not available.

 
Features specialization:

  • BeatsAudio system
  • Wi-fi hotspot

6. 2021 Ford Escape [8.5/10]

Type: Compact, 2-row, Price: $26,800, Reliability score: Not available

Source: media.ford.com

Why We Picked It: While Ford has been responsible for several of the fastest V8 cars ever made, it has also produced a highly fuel-efficient urban SUV to compete in the compact segment. The 2021 Escape offers engaging performance even at the basic version but does not forget fuel efficiency: it is one of the best in its market category. However, it could be more sophisticated inside and outside.
Pros
Great standard safety equipment
Base trim provides strong acceleration
High fuel efficiency with ICE engines
Cons
Poor trim quality on basic trim levels
1.5L engine could work more smoothly
Desirable versions are very expensive
Specs

  • Acceleration: 7.7 seconds.
  • Engine: Turbocharged 1.5L I3; 181 hp of power and 190 lb-ft of torque. Other engines are not considered because of their prices.
  • Fuel economy: 28 mpg city; 34 mpg highway; 30 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 37.5 ft³ behind the rear seats; 60.4 ft³ behind the front seats.
  • Towing capacity: 2000 lb.

 
Features specialization:

  • Available B&O audio system
  • Leather upholstery

7. 2022 Subaru Forester [8/10]

Type: Compact, 2-row, Price: $27,070, Reliability score: 82/100

Source: www.subaru.com

Why We Picked It: The Forester dates back to when “which SUV to buy” was not a real question because there were not many SUVs available. The current generation has embraced many recent trends, but still nods to the old days through the boxy design and a configuration which includes standard AWD and boxer engine. The Wilderness version is an interesting addition to the lineup.
Pros
Comfortable seating in both rows
Plenty of cargo space available
Smooth and comfortable dynamics
Cons
External design has never been trendy
Boxer 2.5L engine is not the smoothest
Few standard items on the base version
Specs

  • Acceleration: 8.0 seconds.
  • Engine: 2.5L I4; 182 hp of power and 176 lb-ft of torque.
  • Fuel economy: 25 mpg city; 28 mpg highway; 26 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 26.9 ft³ behind the rear seats; 69.1 ft³ behind the front seats.
  • Towing capacity: 1500 lb.

 
Features specialization:

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Traditional SUV design

8. 2022 Mazda CX-5 [8/10]

Type: Compact, 2-row, Price: $27,475, Reliability score: Not available

Source: www.mazdausa.com

Why We Picked It: One of the fastest SUV under 30k, this lineup is repeatedly praised by the specialized press. The CX-5 received only evolutionary changes for the 2022 line, which means Mazda has preserved its athletic handling and elegant trim while making its design even more attractive. Even at its basic trim level, it is definitely the most premium compact SUV in the mainstream category.
Pros
Attractive and sporty external design
Athletic and engaging dynamic behavior
Refined trim for the category standards
Cons
Regular 2.5L could be even stronger
Low cargo room even only seating five
Low tow rating for its category standard
Specs

  • Acceleration: 8.1 seconds.
  • Engine: 2.5L I4; 187 hp of power and 185 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged version is not considered because of its price.
  • Fuel economy: 24 mpg city; 31 mpg highway; 26 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 20.2 ft³ behind the rear seats; 45.2 ft³ behind the front seats.
  • Towing capacity: 2000 lb.

 
Features specialization:

  • Available turbocharged engine
  • Standard all-wheel drive

9. 2021 Chevrolet Blazer [7.5/10]

Type: Midsize, 2-row, Price: $29,995, Reliability score: 84/100

Source: media.chevrolet.com

Why We Picked It: While the base engine does not make it qualify against true performance SUVs, the Blazer can win any car fan’s heart with its Camaro-based design. Fortunately, the model offers great handling even without the optional V6, so it makes a great option for up to five people if you want to give an extra touch of emotion to your everyday drives.
Pros
External design is absolutely stunning
Excellent driving dynamics
Spacious rear seats and cargo space
Cons
No electrified options whatsoever
Subpar fuel efficiency for the category
Desirable versions are quite expensive
Specs

  • Acceleration: 8.1 seconds.
  • Engine: 2.5L I4; 193 hp of power and 188 lb-ft of torque. Other engines are not considered because of their prices.
  • Fuel economy: 22 mpg city; 27 mpg highway; 24 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 30.5 ft³ behind the rear seats; 64.2 ft³ behind the front seats.
  • Towing capacity: 1500 lb (up to 4500 lb with dedicated kit).

 
Features specialization:

  • Optional V6 engine
  • Camaro-inspired design

10. 2022 Mazda CX-30 [7.5/10]

Type: Subcompact, 2-row, Price: $23,725, Reliability score: Not available

Source: www.mazdausa.com

Why We Picked It: Mazda has been on a roll these days. Pretty much every car and SUV it releases gets raving reviews from the specialized press, and the CX-30 is definitely not an exception. While the turbocharged version is one of the fastest compact cars in the segment, the regular one still offers decent performance while costing much less. The great internal trim is a wonderful extra.
Pros
Elegant, yet sporty external design
Agile and engaging dynamic behavior
Above-average trim standard inside
Cons
Low performance without the turbo
Mazda3 hatchback is almost as practical
Transmission is not smooth at times
Specs

  • Acceleration: 8.1 seconds.
  • Engine: 2.5L I4; 186 hp of power and 186 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged version is not considered because of its price.
  • Fuel economy: 24 mpg city; 31 mpg highway; 26 mpg combined.
  • Cargo space: 20.2 ft³ behind the rear seats; 45.2 ft³ behind the front seats.
  • Towing capacity: Official information not available.

 
Features specialization:

  • Available all-wheel drive
  • 8 or 12-speaker audio system

Which SUV has the highest horsepower?

Among the vehicles we picked, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has the highest horsepower. It runs  on a 2.5L I4 engine which is paired with two electric motors. The output is 219 hp of power and 163 lb-ft of torque.

Which SUV has the fastest 0-60?

The fastest accelerating SUV under $30k is Kia Soul Turbo. It goes from 0-60 in 6.4 seconds.

How to choose the fastest and best SUV under 30k?

Below are some of the factors you should keep in mind to choose the fastest and best SUV under $30k.

  • Acceleration: Check the acceleration of the SUV you intend to buy to understand how fast it is. The official figures by the manufacturer or by third-party reviews state how many seconds the car takes to go from 0-60 or 0-100. Studying and comparing this figure of multiple models will help you pick the fastest SUV. 
  • Engine, Horsepower & Torque: A powerful engine with high power output ensures high acceleration. Ideally, you should look out for a car that generates more horsepower than torque.
  • Ride Quality: Even when your sole goal is to buy the fastest SUV, you cannot compromise on ride quality. Do check the interior offerings and comfort features of a model before you make a purchase. Don’t skip this step only because you are heavily impressed by its acceleration.
  • Safety: Safety is one the key aspects you should consider while purchasing an SUV. While acceleration numbers are important to help you choose the ‘fastest SUV’, they have to be accompanied by high safety ratings to declare the vehicle as the ‘best’.

FAQs

1. Which SUV under 30k is most luxurious and comfortable?

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is the most luxurious and comfortable SUV under $30k, with a base price of only $29,715.

2. Which fastest SUV is the most reliable?

Chevrolet Blazer is the most reliable fastest SUV under $30k. J.D. Power gave it a reliability score of 84 out of 100.

3. Which fastest SUV under 30k has the most cargo space?

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has the most cargo space– 37.6 ft³ behind the rear seats and 69.8 ft³ behind the front seats.