Jun
22
2012 Fiat 500 interior

2012 Fiat 500

This week, Kelley Blue Book came out with their “10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000”—a list that is now all over the Internet. Here it is:

Kelley Blue Book’s
“10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000
1. 2013 Dodge Dart
2. 2012 Hyundai Veloster
3. 2012 Fiat 500
4. 2012 Mazda 3
5. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
6. 2012 Ford Fiesta
7. 2012 Honda Fit
8. 2012 Kia Soul
9. 2012 Scion iQ
10. 2012 Volkswagen Jetta

We admit that the three-door Veloster is pretty stylish, but its power and handling are underwhelming, and we had issues with the manual transmission. As for the Fit: It’s practical, for sure, but it’s about as “cool” as a shoebox. And we question the IQ of those who chose the pint-sized, 94-horsepower Scion.

After test-driving and evaluating each new car with a base MSRP under $18K, we’ve compiled our own list. Included are quotes from our editors.

Consumer Guide Automotive’s
“10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000
1. 2012 Fiat 500
“The 500 makes its mark as a maneuverable, fun-to-drive, economical city runabout with a fistful of character.”

2. 2013 Dodge Dart
“Chrysler knocked Dart’s cabin out of the park and into the upper deck.”

3. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
“High levels of refinement, a comfortable driving experience, and what I think is probably the best looking interior in a subcompact are some of this car’s strong points.”

4. 2012 Volkswagen Golf
“Golf injects a fun-to-drive, refined, and fairly roomy dose of sportiness into the compact-car class.”

5. 2012 Mazda 3
“Is there a mainstream compact car on the market with a livelier, more-direct steering feel than the Mazda 3? I don’t think so.”

6. 2012 Mazda 2
“Mazda 2 is somewhat ‘old school’ . . . but the automatic transmission behaves better than some of the newer units, and the car simply feels sportier than virtually any rival.”

7. 2012 Kia Soul
“It has enough get-up-and-go, a stylish interior, and a healthy dose of funky, stand-out exterior styling.”

8. 2012 Nissan Cube
“The car is whimsical and eye-catching, and the circular motif—in the headliner pattern, door speakers, controls, etc.—is cleverly executed.”

9. 2012 Ford Fiesta
“Fiesta isn’t the most space-efficient subcompact, but it probably is the most pleasant to drive, and the most refined.”

10. 2012 Jeep Patriot
“Allowing you to say you drive a Jeep is reason enough.”

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