10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000 - 2010

By KBB.com Editors on May 28, 2010 8:02 AM

>NEWER LIST: 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000 - 2011

Even when the economy is in the doldrums the ever-present beat of inflation seems to tick-tick-tick in the background, so each year the Coolest Cars under $18,000 threshold becomes harder to meet. This time around one of our staff members suggested we raise the limit to $20,000, and there was some validity to that request, but we decided to see what $18K would buy us in the current economy and came to the conclusion that there are still some very cool rides to be had for less than $18,000.

>START: 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000 - 2010 

Certainly, there are many good cars available for less than $18,000, plenty of vehicles that will get your from point A to point Z or even Point Loma with a minimum of fuss. But many of them will also do it with a minimum of fun, and that's something we feel is just plain wrong for our coolest cars list. So, while we use the same set of criteria that consumers use in examining vehicles they might purchase -- safety, fuel economy, interior size, comfort, and technology - we also factor in that certain something extra, that je ne sais quoi, that separates the dullards from the brilliant. The twin factors of fun-to-drive and fun-to-own are important considerations, as is the decidedly subjective "cool factor." The list of qualifying vehicles under $18,000 is put together using our Fair Purchase Prices, which reflect real-world transaction prices and provide a more useful comparison point than Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Every vehicle on the list can be purchased for less than $18,000. Here, in alphabetical order, is Kelley Blue Book's 2010 list of the 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000:

>START: 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000 - 2010