Kelley Blue Book, the consumer and industry serving vehicle valuation and automotive research firm has published its annual list of what it believes are the 10 coolest affordable cars on sale in the US at the moment.
‘Cool' is a very subjective term especially when it comes to cars. A vehicle could be a nightmare to own and potentially deadly to drive but something about it makes all of these drawbacks no difficulty to live with.
For entrance onto its latest list, a car was defied as cool by KBB if it cost $18,000 or less, was fun to drive and fun to own -- i.e., spent most of its time in the driveway rather than with a mechanic or an after-sales service department.
For the second year running, the Mazda3 takes the top honors pushing the Volkswagen Golf into second place. And, proving that design is just as important as practicality or performance, the diminutive SUV-styled Kia Soul takes third place. Although technically now part of Fiat, Jeep is the highest-ranking US car on the list. Its new ‘sub-compact' SUV jumped into fourth place in its first year on sale. The top five is rounded out by the ever-reliable Honda Civic.
Cars that hail from Japan tend to perform very well in consumer tests, whatever the criteria and alongside the Mazda3 and Honda Civic, the Honda Fit (in seventh) and the Subaru Impreza (tenth) also made this year's list. However, buyers are also finding much to like about home-grown cars, too.
The Ford Fiesta is in sixth place and the Chevrolet Sonic in eighth. The Fiat 500 which hasn't received any significant exterior update since its launch in 2007, still managed to make 10th place, making it one of only two truly European entry in this year's 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."