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Kelley Blue Book Top 10 Cars for under $18k – Click above for high-res image gallery

Being in the market for a cheap new car used to mean resigning yourself to time bombs like the Chevrolet Citation or windups like the Geo Metro or Ford Aspire, but the times, they are a-changin', and the good folk at Kelley Blue Book have worked up their very own top 10 list of cool cars for under $18,000.

Not surprisingly, the 2011 Ford Fiesta nabbed a mention thanks to its 28 mpg city, 40 mpg highway EPA rating and mile-long standard feature list. Likewise, the new 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring received a spot on the list. The Korean automaker's new long roof manages 23 city and 30 mph mpg highway thanks to its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

The base Mitsubishi Lancer also made the cut – another 2.0-liter bruiser, the baby brother of the Evolution nabs 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Suzuki also got some love on the KBB list with its SX4. When optioned with the five-speed gearbox, the car walks away with 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Rounding out the list is the ever lovable 2010 Honda Fit. Just like the Suzuki, if you want a few more miles per tank, you'll need to opt for the manual transmission. Thusly equipped, the little Honda can 28 mpg city and up to 35 mpg highway.

Want to see what else made the list? Hit the jump or visit KBB for the whole list.

[Source: Kelley Blue Book]

1. 2011 Ford Fiesta
2. 2010 Honda Civic
3. 2010 Honda Fit
4. 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring
5. 2010 Kia Soul
6. 2010 Mazda3
7. 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer
8. 2010 Nissan Cube
9. 2010 Scion xB
10. 2010 Suzuki SX4

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Fiesta is available in Europe in a diesel/hybrid package that gets 85mpg. Ford will not import it to the USA, saying it's too expensive to do so. Other manufactures seem to be able to import inexpensive models. Almost every car maker in Europe also make a turbo diesel version of the same cars that the sell here , even the Jag XJ, that pass US standards, but we can't have them. Hmmmmm.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Too many cool resells for 18K cash to consider options above.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry, but the 2010 Honda Fit is so not cool. What about the Subaru Impreza? It barely makes the cut at $17,450. Also, I really don't think the Nissan Cube, Scion xB or Kia Soul qualifies as "cool."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Forte Koup is the one for me...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cube, xB, and SX4 (arguably) do not belong on this list. i also believe the fiesta is questionable along with the fit but they deserve to stay on. Lancer should stay, Golf should be on there as well as the Kia Forte. if they are going to add the civic then they might as well add the Corolla, otherwise it shouldn't make the list for i didn't find it all that when test driving and even looking at the interior layout.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My wife drives a Mazda3 hatch and loves it. So do the local courts, as she ignores the bothersome noises coming from the Escort clipped to her headliner. She thinks the Qube is sorta cute, even though it doesn't compare to her ride. We visited our local auto museum, and there was the Qube's ancestor: A Baker electric. We do know one person who drives a Qube. He's 6'7", needs the headroom and likes the mileage.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Mazda 3 is much cooler then the Civic or any other small Asian car
        • 5 Years Ago
        Except for the huge amounts of ugly attached to the current Mazda 3.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I keep telling people, soon there will be almost no such thing as going out and buying and uber cheap car. Just because a car is small doesn't mean it has to be a cheap pos that will fall a part in 4 years. People need to learn to pay a bit more for quality.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The problem is that with the introduction of Fiesta and Mazda2 people, including some journalists, have problems placing them. I've seen pieces comparing Fiesta with cars one size larger. Then you have headlines that Fiesta/Mazda 2 is/are more expensive than their larger siblings.

        Sure they are, but it's comparing proverbial apples and oranges.

        Apparently, 18K is a line where you can have a basic version of a Mazda3/Golf/Focus sized car and a loaded Fiesta or a Mazda 2.

        What you are left with are confused customers/consumers and some journos with a bumper and a plenty of space to trash any car they want depending on advertising revenues.

        N.B. Doesn't apply to Autoblog.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Agreed... the Civic is wildly out of place here. A nice car to be sure, but cool it ain't.
      Blue Dog
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not a cool one here. Little pieces of junk, one and all. IMHO
      • 5 Years Ago
      great stuff------ cool and a sexy car!!! nice news
      • 5 Years Ago
      im sorry but the civic, for all that it does well, in Not a "cool" car. And the Fit is borderline...certainly doesnt desreve the 3 spot.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder why the Nissan Sentra and Versa aren't on there, they get great MPG, and no VW.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nissan needs a new Sentra, the hatchback Versa ain't bad, but slap the engine from the Juke in it, and it would be fun. VW needs to bring the Polo here already, but I have to say I really like the new Golf.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Sentra is not cool. Versa maybe.

        I think VW has trouble getting under the $18K line.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As cool as the Fiesta is, it's tough to quote its 40mpg figure (as AB does here) in an under $18K list because even on the $17,995 model the transmission you need to get the 40mpg rating is a $1,070 option.

      Holy cow! Did I just type that? A $1,070 option on sub-$20K car? That's a lot of cheddar.

      I guess in theory you could get the stripped-down base model with the $1,070 transmission and then get safely under $18K (below $15K actually!), but that's still a bit out of the norm I would think.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know that I would actually consider an ATX an "option." For most people (they're expecting 85%) it's a requirement.
        • 5 Years Ago
        At an over 5% price bump, I think there will be far less than an 85% uptake on this transmission.

        BTW, GM charges $925 for an auto tranny on an Aveo, that's over a 5% price bump and it's a hydramatic, not a dual-clutch. Does anyone know what the uptake is on that car?
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