IRVINE, Calif., June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The expert editors from Kelley Blue Book's www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new car and used car information, today name the 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000 (http://www.kbb.com/car-reviews-and-news/top-10/10-coolest-cars-under-18000-2012/). In this annual list published by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, the editors ranked their top choices and named the 2013 Dodge Dart as this year's No. 1 affordable new 'Cool Car.'
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The economy is at a near-standstill and gas prices are through the roof, but regardless of financial constraints or economic hardships, the simple fact remains that car shoppers want their new ride to be cool. That is why now, more than ever, kbb.com's annual list of the 10 Coolest Cars under $18,000 is in tune with the times, providing a great selection of cars that are not only affordable, but also fun.
"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. "When our kbb.com editors pooled their collective insight and opinions, the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart rose to the top of the list because of its unique combination of style, performance, features, and of course, value."
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. Each vehicle is available for purchase at $18,000 or less, using Kelley Blue Book's exclusive Fair Purchase Price as the yardstick (Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price is the price consumers typically are paying for a car, based on actual new-vehicle transactions and updated weekly for changing market conditions). Paying less than sticker also is pretty cool, so here is a sample selection from kbb.com's 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000 for 2012:
2013 Dodge Dart
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price*: $16,790
First true collaborative effort between the Chrysler Group and parent company Fiat, the 2013 Dodge Dart's enticing combination of style, performance, features and value has earned it the top spot in our 2012 coolest cars list. 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.
2012 Mazda Mazda3
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price**: $14,786
Sporty looks and joyful driving dynamics have made the otherwise practical Mazda3 an omnipresent figure on our annual 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000 list. For 2012 the Mazda3 appears once again, now with an optional "SKYACTIV" powertrain that enables Mazda's plucky compact to return up to 40 mpg on the freeway.
2012 Chevy Sonic
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price**: $14,129
Chevy's new subcompact deftly combines sporty exterior styling, motorcycle-inspired interior gauges and peppy yet fuel-efficient engine choices to create a competent and cool urban runabout. In either hatchback or sedan form, the Sonic booms with exuberance.
2012 Ford Fiesta
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price**: $13,382
Small and bold don't usually pal around together, but you can find them hanging out in the sub-compact Ford Fiesta. With an aggressive grille, big lamps, sharp lines and pronounced fenders, the Fiesta is a styling standout. Even the inside is richer and more stylish than its competitors. European-like driving dynamics and highway fuel economy of 38 miles per gallon (40 mpg for the SFE version) solidify its cool cred.
2012 Volkswagen Jetta
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price**: $15,490
Intrigued by the idea of a European sedan at an econobox price? Instead of rolling the dice on a 10-year-old Bimmer, you can get European driving feel – along with a full warranty and digital connectivity – in Volkswagen's best-selling model. Priced and sized for American tastes, the Jetta is also wrapped in clean, tasteful styling that will look sharp for years to come.
For the remaining five vehicles, including full editorial commentary for each of the editors' picks and the rank order, please visit http://www.kbb.com/car-reviews-and-news/top-10/10-coolest-cars-under-18000-2012/.
For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), or like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb.
* Not enough transaction history available yet for 2013 model to establish Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price.
**The Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price listed is for a base model with standard options, obtained from kbb.com on June 18, 2012.
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.
SOURCE Kelley Blue Book