Those looking for a stylish ride that won't break the bank will want to pay careful attention to the latest report from Kelley Blue Book, an automotive and research company. Kelley Blue Book has released its picks for the 10 coolest cars under $18,000.
The list will be especially attractive to young or first-time buyers who want sleek and stylish rides at an affordable price, and the manufacturers of the 10 listed vehicles will be happy for the exposure to their target demographic.
Judging was based on two main criteria: the vehicles must be fun-to-drive and fun-to-own. If drivers don't enjoy cruising in the car or showing it off to friends, it didn't make the list.
"While there are many affordable new cars available today for less than $18,000, the list gets much more narrow and exclusive when you view it through the difficult-to-describe lens of what is cool," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.
This year, Kelley Blue Book stressed fuel efficiency as an important part of "cool." Over half of the selections get 40 miles per gallon, or 5.88 L/100km, including the Ford Fiesta and the Mazada3, which finished sixth and fourth on the list, respectively.
Third place belonged to the charmingly petite 2012 Fiat 500, an Italian-designed car that's small in stature but big in personal style, while second place was taken by the 2012 Hyundai Veloster, due to its innovative technology and incredibly unique design.
But first place belonged to the 2013 Dodge Dart, a collaborative effort between the Chrysler Group and parent company Fiat. Kelley Blue Book listed the "Dodge Dart's enticing combination of style, performance, features and value" as the main reasons it sits atop the list. It has been seven year's since Dodge parent company Chrysler has offered a car in the compact sedan class, but the wait has apparently been worth it. Car and Driver called the Dart a "breakthrough product" that puts Chrysler back on the map, praising it's look and practicality (the Dart was one of the vehicles that gets 5.88 L/100km).