Kelley Blue Book’s list of the 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000 is out. Number one on the stylish, fun yet budget-friendly list for 2015, the redesigned Mazda3, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and the Kia Soul.
Two criteria, fun-to-drive and fun-to-own, are critical among the deciding factors of what the editors freely admit is a very subjective “cool factor,” the over-arching number-one criterion for a vehicle to place on this list.
“This year’s list of budget-smart cool cars includes a repeat winner, an all-new Jeep and a few cars that have been completely redesigned for 2015. All of them are fun, stylish and versatile to varying degrees, and each and every one is enticingly affordable,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. “Still riding high on the strength of a well-received redesign for 2014, the 2015 Mazda3, which could be called the reigning king of the Coolest Cars Under $18,000, claims its spot at the top of our annual list for the second year in a row.”
KBB.com’s 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000 of 2015
- Volkswagen Golf
- Kia Soul
- Jeep Renegade
- Honda Civic Coupe
- Ford Fiesta
- Honda Fit
- Chevrolet Sonic
- Suburu Impreza
- Fiat 500
For a quick comparison of the top five:
- The Mazda3 starts at $16,945 and features SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, i-ELOOP (which enhances fuel economy), MAZDA CONNET and i-ACTIVSENSE. It comes with either a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter engine. Both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available.
- The base level Volkswagen Golf with 1.8L turbocharged engine starts at 17,995. The entire Golf lineup was also named Motor Trend’s 2015 Car of The Year.
- The Kia Soul “urban hatchback” starts at $15,190. The base level gets a 1.6-liter all-aluminum DOHC four-cylinder engine.
- The Jeep Renegade TrailHawk starts at 17,995 for a front-wheel-drive model.
- The Honda Civic Coupe LX starts at $18,290 and comes with a 1.8-Liter, 16-Valve, SOHC i-VTEC 4-Cylinder Engine