The Very Best Vehicles for Under $18,000
incentives (or maybe because of them), "sticker shock" continues to
plague new-car buyers. Vehicle equipment levels keep getting more extensive, and
vehicle suggested list prices continue to go higher. But despite this trend, there
are desirable vehicles that are reasonably priced for the average car buyer. As
proof, the editors of Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com have recently driven and reviewed
all of the latest vehicles on the market and identified 10 very cool models selling
is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, but the good news is there are a variety
of exciting, fun-to-drive vehicles that are still affordable," said Jack
R. Nerad, editorial director, Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "A couple of vehicles
on our list carry sticker prices above $18,000, but in addition to reporting the
MSRP for a vehicle, we track what the car is actually selling for — its New Car
Blue Book value. The New Car Blue Book value allows car buyers to understand what
the current street price for each vehicle is, helping them determine what they
can really afford."
$18,000 price point offers buyers an average monthly payment of $300 to $350 over
a five-year loan term. Their actual payment amount will be determined by the amount
put down on the vehicle and the finance rate available to them. While fuel economy
was not the key criteria is choosing the list, all the vehicles on it deliver
good mileage figures, which will provide additional help to car-buyers' pocketbooks.
Top 10 Coolest Cars Selling Under $18,000
Toyota Tacoma PreRunner||$14,850||$14,768|
Scion xB ||$15,045||$15,045|
Ford Focus ZX3 SES||$16,460||$15,853|
Kia Spectra Hatchback||$16,665||$16,109|
Chevrolet Cobalt LS Coupe||$16,485||$16,145|
Hyundai Tiburon ||$17,494||$16,643|
Mazda Mazda3 S Hatchback||$17,665||$17,216|
vehiles are listed by their New Car Blue Book value l. New Car Blue Book values
represent transaction values or what others are paying for this vehicle during
the week of April 18, 2005. New Car Blue Book values are updated weekly on kbb.com.
All vehicles priced with automatic transmissions except Toyota Tacoma PreRunner.
.Adding optional equipment will increase the price of the vehicle.
Comments on the Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000
Cobalt LS Coupe — This good-looking new package is a far cry from its
predecessor, the late, unlamented Chevrolet Cavalier. Its taut feel and good response
are a revelation.
Focus ZX3 SES — Pocket rocket American style, the ZX3 SES shows that Ford's
U.S. engineers have learned a great deal from their European colleagues, and the
styling is distinctive, not "me too."
Element — If you want versatility, you're in your Element. The reverse-hinged
rear doors make a fashion statement, but the big advantages of the Element are
its form-follows-function design and its overall usability.
Tiburon — There's still room in the American market for an inexpensive sporty
coupe, and the Tiburon plays that tune about as well as anyone these days.
Spectra Hatchback — This new-for-05 Spectra offers station wagon-like versatility
and space in an inexpensive-to-buy and reasonable-to-maintain package. The big
plus is its lengthy warranty coverage.
Hatchback — The Mazda3 is a huge advance over its predecessor Protégé,
and while the Protégé was a very good car, the Mazda3's great interior
and exterior design, plus good power make it a killer deal.
Cooper — When it comes to surprise-and-delight features few cars at any price
can top the MINI Cooper; in this car you discover more cool features every time
you drive it, and the driving experience itself is remarkable.
tC — Take sophisticated styling, a willing engine, a palatable price; mix
in Toyota quality and what do you have? Another winner from the young Scion brand.
xB — The 2005 epitome of it's hip-to-be-square, the xB breadbox on wheels
is the automotive equivalent of Dickies shorts and skate shoes - if somebody has
to explain them to you, you'll never understand.
Tacoma Prerunner — There are darn few inexpensive vehicles that a guy can
feel comfortable in, but the Tacoma is a great personal-use truck that rides and
handles better than many cars.
top 10 coolest new cars under $18,000 were chosen based on the expert opinions
of the Kelley Blue Book editorial team. Selection was based on price, design,
style and performance, as well as, extensive research of each vehicle and test
drives of vehicles selling at or below $18,000.
more information on Kelley Blue Book values, see www.kbb.com.