2013 Dodge Dart and 2012 Fiat 500 Named Two of the '10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000' by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com

Jun 20, 2012, 05:30 ET from Chrysler Group LLC

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart ranked No. 1 for 'Coolest New Cars Under $18,000'
  • The 2013 Dodge Dart, the first Chrysler Group vehicle built on Fiat architecture, blends Alfa Romeo DNA with Dodge's passion for performance and style, resulting in a groundbreaking vehicle that delivers features and benefits never before found in a compact car, all starting at $15,995 with up to 41 mpg
  • Confirming its timeless "cool factor," the Fiat 500 returns to Kelley Blue Book's "10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000" list for the second year in a row
  • The Fiat 500 offers iconic city-friendly design, engaging driving dynamics and modern Italian styling, starting at $15,500

Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com editors named the Chrysler Group's all-new 2013 Dodge Dart and 2012 Fiat 500 as picks for the "10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000."

Vehicles chosen for the list were judged on two criteria—fun-to-drive and fun-to-own—that are the deciding factors of what the editors freely admit is a very subjective "cool factor."

The all-new Dodge Dart topped the list as the coolest car under $18,000.

"The Dodge Dart's enticing combination of style, performance, features and value have earned it the top spot in our 2012 coolest cars list," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "With exceptional interior space and loads of personalization potential, the all-new Dart will definitely make its presence felt in the ultra-competitive compact sedan segment."

With an available fun-to-drive 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, great ride and handling characteristics compliments of the Alfa Romeo-based chassis, innovative interior style featuring high-quality materials, splashes of color--like Ruby Red and Citrus Peel--and cool technology not found in the segment, like the available class-exclusive 8.4-inch Uconnect Touch Screen and 7-inch thin film transistor (TFT) customizable gauge cluster, as well as class-leading safety features, such as 10 standard air bags, and innovative style including available class-exclusive LED "racetrack" taillamps and integrated dual exhaust, the 2013 Dodge Dart sets a new standard in the compact car segment.

"We are extremely proud that the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart was recognized as the coolest car under $18,000," Reid Bigland, President and CEO – Dodge Brand said. "Kbb.com is one of the leading sites for consumers researching vehicles, so to have the Dart's combination of style, value and the exhilarating driving experience recognized by the editors is a huge honor."

Confirming its timeless "cool factor," the Fiat 500 also wowed Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com editors, reaching the No. 3 spot in this year's list.

"Catch even the briefest glimpse of the Fiat 500 and just try not to smile at this Italian-designed cutie that's tiny in size, but massive when it comes to personality," Nerad said. "Available as a hatchback or convertible, the perky 500 heralds the first new FIAT to be sold in America in nearly three decades."

In 2011, the Fiat 500 was selected as "the coolest car" by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com editors.
"We are honored that Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com editors have chosen, for the second time, our new 2012 Fiat 500 as one of the 'Coolest New Cars Under $18,000,'" Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand North America said. "Starting at $15,500 and with more than a half-million ways to stylize and personalize, the Fiat 500 offers Italian styling, exceptional functionality, fuel efficiency and innovative technology--all at a superb value."

The Fiat 500 caters to a new generation of Americans who want their vehicle to be as engaging, individualized, ecologically responsible and technologically savvy as they are. With its city-friendly four-passenger size, engaging driving dynamics, fuel-efficient 1.4-liter MultiAir engine, standard state-of-the-art BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology, seven standard air bags, the 2012 Fiat 500 offers a driving and ownership experience unlike anything available today.

And with 14 available exterior paint colors, two interior environments and 14 unique seat color and material combinations, every new 2012 Fiat 500 will be distinct. In addition, a full line of authentic Fiat 500 accessories by Mopar will offer customers even more personalization possibilities at their local Fiat dealership, including unique striping packages, exterior and interior styling accessories and authentic FIAT-styled merchandise.

About 2013 Dodge Dart

The new Dodge Dart hits the mark with a modern, unmistakable Dodge design which features great exterior proportions and unmistakable Dodge cues like the "racetrack" taillamps and signature front grille. The exterior not only looks good, but delivers world-class aerodynamic performance along with an agile, fun-to-drive experience on the road. The Dart is the first Chrysler Group vehicle built on Fiat Group architecture; it's based off of the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Interior comfort and style are on target for drivers and passengers with a modern blend of precision craftsmanship, exciting bursts of color and more interior roominess than some mid-size sedans. The new Dodge Dart offers drivers thousands of ways to personalize their car with 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim combinations, three fuel-efficient engines, three transmissions, seven wheel choices and six trim levels. The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart offers the interior room of some mid-size sedans, class-leading safety, state-of-the-art technology and unmistakable style starting at a U.S. manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of just $15,995 (excluding destination).

About the 2012 Fiat 500 models

Building on the attributes that made the original version an icon more than 50 years ago – the 2012 Fiat 500 models provide an entirely new generation of drivers with the best of Italian motoring: craftsmanship, style and safety, combined with fun-to-drive small-car efficiency.

Expanding on the qualities that have made the original Fiat 500 (Cinquecento) a timeless and efficient automobile, the 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio (500c) adds open-air freedom and even more driving enjoyment.

With its all-new 160 horsepower 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, the recently launched Fiat 500 Abarth is designed for track-day enthusiasts and driving purists who want the ultimate high-performance small car with the pedigree of an exclusive Italian exotic. The Fiat 500 Abarth offers track-tuned suspension and brake systems, race-inspired design, and technology features not traditionally included on a small car.

The 2012 Fiat 500 and 500c Pop models have a U.S. MSRP of $15,500 and $19,500, respectively, while the Fiat 500 Abarth has an MSRP of $22,000 (excluding destination).

About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)

Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies. Kbb.com provides consumer pricing and information on minivans, pickup trucks, sedan, hybrids, electric cars and SUVs. Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com ranked highest in its category for brand equity and was named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year by the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study. Kelley Blue Book Co. Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader.com.  For more information about the "10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000" from Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, visit http://www.kbb.com/car-reviews-and-news/top-10/10-coolest-cars-under-18000-2012/.

SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC