Cheap, stylish ride: Oxymoron or attainable dream?

Is it possible to buy a car that's both inexpensive and ultra cool? Can a $22,000 Toyota Prius really get you the same respect from the valet as a $70,000 BMW? That's what "Wired Magazine" wants to know, and they're asking readers to decide which of five relatively cheap cars they would feel coolest driving.

So far, the most expensive of the bunch, the Prius, is in third place with only 18% of the vote. Behind it with 11% is an early-'90s Volvo and a 25-year-old Mercedes 300 SDL. In first place, with a big lead over a used Ford Mustang, is a 1995-1997 Jaguar XJ6.

Really? Those are the only choices we get? For the price of that 2005 V6 Mustang, you could get yourself a real tire-smoking, V8-powered 1966 Mustang. Sure it'll need some paint, probably some fresh Bondo and maybe a transmission overhaul, but that builds character in both owner and car.

Or if you're not into power, don't even think about that wheezy Volvo. Go German instead, and get a classic VW Beetle. You'll pay more than what that boxy sedan cost, but the cool factor of the Bug will more than make up for it.

So what say you, Autoblog fans? What cheap transportation would you choose for its cool-boosting properties? Or is "Wired" right on the money?

[Source: Wired Magazine]

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