New passenger car and light duty vehicles sales are booming across the United States, with much of the attention grabbed by the technology laden and utterly expensive pickup trucks or sport utility vehicles.

While some of the vehicles require an arm and a leg when you purchase them, there are still numerous customers for inexpensive rides – the ones looking for a good, new car that at least costs less than the average. Kelley Blue Book’s 12th annual best cars under $18,000 study has some answers – and incidentally their top choice is nowhere near the cheap equals boring misconception. The automotive website has two main areas to review the cars on the list – how much fun to drive and how much fun to own. “This year’s budget-smart cool cars are fun, stylish and versatile to varying degrees, and each is enticingly affordable,” comments Jack Nerad, executive editorial director for

The Mazda 3, upgraded for the 2015 model year, is the repeat winner topping the list, followed by Germany’s Volkswagen Golf, the Kia Soul, the Jeep Renegade and Honda Civic Coupe as the primary five choices. Further down the ladder sit the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Chevrolet Sonic, Subaru Impreza and the Fiat 500. The Mazda3 was selected once more as the winner because it’s fun to drive, stylish and tech oriented – but there was also plenty of competition. For example the Subaru Impreza was the only on the list with standard all-wheel drive and the Kia Soul reached the list simply because of its incredible versatility.




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