Cool doesn't have to be expensive. At least that's what the folks over at Kelley Blue Book figure. The website of the authoritative car-buying resource has put together a list of what they figure are the ten coolest cars you can buy with less than $18,000.

There are some definite good choices on the list, but some of their choices – and how they arrived at them – leave us scratching our heads and wondering if their cool-meter doesn't need recalibration. Rather than taking the entirely subjective Top Gear "Cool Wall" approach and anointing a car cool or not based purely on image, came up with a list of criteria. A cool car, they figure, should have folding seats. Huh? Yeah, versatility was their first criteria, including such features as "clever cubbies and innovative storage solutions" as a prerequisite for classifying a car as cool or not. (That way you've got more places to hide your coolness.) Also taken into consideration were such factors as safety, fuel economy and cabin space, before subjective assessments came into the mix.

The resulting list includes a Chevy pick-up at the top, followed by a Focus, a tiny Honda, an Hyundai, a Jeep, a Mazda3, a Nissan hatch, a Scion, a Suzuki and a VW. Each was included in the sub-$18k list based on Kelley's own proprietary blue-book value; follow the link to find out what made each of these cars cool enough to make the cut.

[Source: Kelley Blue Book]

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