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Sweet-sounding sub-30 contenders

What new car sounds the best for under 30k?  I know most people like the roominess of a car’s cabin, the funky stereo, the leather seats or maybe the way the car drives.  But which of the readers, like me, enjoy the sound of a rorty engine?  There are lots of neat things that make up a good drive, but one of the features that sits at the top of the list for some has to be the sound of a sweet engine responding to the right foot.  I can just imagine two boys in the playground at school arguing over whose car sounds the best!

Mulling this one over took a bit of time, but there were a few cars that came to mind. 

Mazda know how to make a drive fun, and with their latest Mazda 3 SP25 sedan, there are few cars that can match the car for pure driving pleasure – and still have price tag of under $30,000.  Effortless performance from the 122 kW, 2.5-litre engine makes this car move very quickly when required.  The rorty engine note is a pleasure.

Honda makes some of the finest and most reliable engines.  The Honda Civic VTi is very well priced, roomy and exceptionally reliable.  The other nice thing about the VTi engine is that it has a nice tone when pushed hard.

Make sure that you have a drive in the Fiat Ritmo 1.4T.  This is a fireball capable of 110 kW from a very sprightly 1.4-litre engine.  Great fun to drive, the little hatch looks hot, goes hard and has superb handling to match.  Not only is it well equipped, but also the car’s price is under the 30k mark – and when linked to a slick six-speed manual, the engine sounds like a baby Ferrari.

An in-line, four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine sits under the hood of the Chunky Dodge Caliber SXT.  The engine note has a pleasant rasp, while the under 30k price tag buys you plenty of luxury features, space and some nice roadholding to match. 

This leaves me with two other contenders for the best sounding new car for under $30,000.  These two marques have been battling it out on the rally circuits for a long time now.  Perhaps it’s the racing prowess that has filtered down through these particular cars, but whatever it is, they both sound very good under a hard throttle.  The Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart has a super quick turbo-charged 1.5-litre engine under the hood.  What you have the power to do is embarrass bigger engines, on a regular basis, at the traffic lights.  Stylish and sporty, the Colt Ralliart also has a comfortable driving position.

You might have already guessed, but the other car that has an engine that sounds very good is the safe and practical Subaru Impreza.  Few cars can hold the key of Gee-wow like a flat-four engine, and what the Subaru Impreza R, RX and RV do have is a burbling flat-four at the right price. 

Have I missed any sweet sounding sub-30k contenders out?  Inform me if I have.