10 Cool Cars Coming in Under $18,000

BY Courtney Huckabay
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While the average transaction price of a new vehicle currently sits at nearly $35,000, the editors at Kelley Blue Book prove that you can still find a dynamic and affordable new car that turns heads with their 2017 list of the 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000. The Mazda3 enjoys its fourth consecutive year at the No. 1 spot, and remarkably it has appeared on KBB.com's annual affordable cool cars list every year of the vehicle's 14-​year existence.

"Our collection of Coolest Cars Under $18,000 is one of Kelley Blue Book's longest-​running lists, ever popular because of the unique combination of cool and affordable and made even sweeter by the advances the auto industry has made in technology and features now offered on moderately priced cars," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's KBB​.com. "College students, first-​time buyers and other budget-​conscious consumers will be pleased to know that they don't have to break the bank to find a vehicle that suits their needs…and turns them on."

The new AudienceSCAN survey reported 21% of Americans plan on purchasing brand-​new cars in the next 12 months. Featuring the following "cool" models in advertising could drive them to dealer lots.

  1. Mazda3
  2. Honda Civic
  3. Jeep Renegade
  4. Kia Soul
  5. Hyundai Veloster
  6. Volkswagen Jetta
  7. Toyota Corolla iM
  8. Subaru Impreza
  9. Honda Fit
  10. Chevrolet Sonic

New Car Shoppers count on TV to find out about cool cars. The new AudienceSCAN study showed 49% of New Car Shoppers took action after watching television (over-​the-​air, online, mobile or tablet) commercials in the past month.

Two longstanding criteria – that the vehicle is both fun to drive and fun to own – are critical among the deciding factors of what Kelley Blue Book editors freely admit is a very subjective "cool factor," the over-​arching No. 1 criterion for a vehicle to place on this list. Each vehicle is available for purchase starting at $18,000 or less, using Kelley Blue Book's exclusive Fair Purchase Price as the yardstick.

Dealerships can consider ramping up their their demo videos to feature these cool models. According to new AudienceSCAN data, 29% of New Car Shoppers watched a video about a product they're considering on their mobile devices in the past 6 months.

Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price and Fair Market Range are part of KBB.com's Price Advisor tool, showing what consumers can reasonably expect to pay this week in their area for a new vehicle when purchasing from a dealer. Factors such as current market conditions, vehicle availability, local demand, and seasonal buying trends all help determine a vehicle's Fair Market Range and Fair Purchase Price.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.