kbb.com Names Coolest New Cars Selling Under $18,000

Editors of Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com Pick Top 10 Cool, Affordable New Vehicles

IRVINE, Calif.

The editors at Kelley Blue Book (http://www.kbb.com/), the leading provider of new - and used - vehicle information, have compiled a list of the top 10 cool and affordable new vehicles available today for less than $18,000. In addition to their sporty stylishness, many of these editor's picks are smaller vehicles that deliver excellent fuel economy, making these cars in this price range even more appealing with gas prices currently surging over $3.00 a gallon in many parts of the country. All but one of the winners on the list returns highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or better.

In choosing the elite 10 Coolest New Cars under $18,000, the editors thoroughly examined each vehicle through the subjective magnifying glass of what is cool, with an emphasis on its styling, performance and fun-to-drive factor. Additionally more objective criteria such as safety, fuel economy, environmental impact, interior size and comfort were taken into account.

The list of qualifying vehicles under $18,000 was put together using Kelley Blue Book's New Car Blue Book values, which reflect real-world transaction prices and provide a more useful comparison point than Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).

"Each of the vehicles on this year's list is cool in its own way, but a common thread is versatility such as folding seats, clever cubbies and innovative storage solutions,. These are all vehicles the kbb.com editorial staff would be happy to live with," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst, Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "The $18,000 price point is a logical demarcation of affordability since it represents an average monthly payment of $300 to $350 over the course of a five-year loan."

All the vehicles on this list can be purchased for $18,000 or less, demonstrating that there are great alternatives for those who demand coolness but who don't want to spend a fortune on their ride. With three- and five-door cars accounting for half the vehicles named, it's now official: the hatchback is back.

              Top 10 Coolest New Cars Selling Under $18,000

  Vehicle                                    MSRP         New Car Blue
                                                           Book Value
  2007 Chevrolet Silverado Classic          $17,015          $16,590
  2007 Ford Focus SES 2-door Hatchback      $16,180          $15,937
  2007 Honda Fit                            $14,445          $14,301
  2007 Hyundai Tiburon                      $17,295          $17,157
  2007 Jeep Patriot                         $14,985          $14,985
  2007 Mazda 3                              $18,175          $17,993
  2007 Nissan Versa                         $13,075          $13,206
  2007 Scion tC                             $16,980          $17,235
  2007 Suzuki SX4                           $17,124          $17,038
  2007 Volkswagen Rabbit                    $15,630          $15,474

All vehicles are listed by their New Car Blue Book value. New Car Blue Book values represent transaction values, or what others are paying for this vehicle, during the week of April 9, 2007. New Car Blue Book values are updated weekly on kbb.com. Adding optional equipment at the time of purchase will increase the price of the vehicle.

     Editorial Comments on the Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000

  2007 Chevrolet Silverado Classic (Regular Cab Manual WT)

The 800-pound gorilla of this group earns its spot on the list by delivering the most metal for the money along with hefty hauling and towing capacities. It's not the newest-tech, but if you need to lug cool stuff, the full-size Silverado Classic lets you do it for a compact-pickup monthly payment.

  MSRP: $17,015      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $16,590

  2007 Ford Focus SES 2-Door Hatchback

Its Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle status helped place the versatile Ford Focus 3-door on the list. We also applaud the Focus's combination of international style and cheeky, fun-to-drive character in a handy, economical package.

  MSRP: $16,180      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $15,937

  2007 Honda Fit

Driving the Fit is the most fun you can have with four wheels and 109 horsepower. Matched with Honda's renowned interior intangibles and a cleverly configurable rear seat that provides uncanny cargo capacity, the diminutive Fit is cool condensed.

  MSRP: $14,445      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $14,301

  2007 Hyundai Tiburon

Hyundai's sporty entry combines the presence of a $30,000 sports coupe with energetic driving dynamics and the value expected from the brand. Updates for the 2007 model year include freshened front and rear styling.

  MSRP: $17,295      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $17,157

  2007 Jeep Patriot

Based on the same platform as the Dodge Caliber and Jeep's own Compass, the Patriot sets itself apart by featuring all the utility and features of its twin brothers but also adding an off-road capability and Jeep purity the others lack.

  MSRP: $14,985      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $14,985

  2007 Mazda MAZDA3

Fun, stylish, versatile and substantial, the exceptionally well-rounded MAZDA3 is the only vehicle to make it onto our list the past four years in a row -- and every year since its introduction. Suffice it to say, it's cool.

  MSRP: $18,175      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $17,993

  2007 Nissan Versa

By offering more room than its closest competitors and available features like Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and keyless entry and start, the Versa offers a little taste of luxury at a decidedly down-market price.

  MSRP: $13,075      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $13,206

  2007 Scion tC

Wearing the mark of a brand born to be cool, the tC coupe furthers its own pedigree with industrial-sleek styling, lively performance and a sharp interior that belies the car's sub-$18,000 starting price.

  MSRP: $16,980      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $17,235

  2007 Suzuki SX4

The most affordable four-wheel-drive vehicle out there is wrapped in distinctively styled sheetmetal and offers advanced features like keyless entry and start. A 100,000-mile powertrain warranty is pretty cool, too.

  MSRP: $17,124      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $17,038

  2007 Volkswagen Rabbit

With an eager engine, unexpectedly tenacious handling and interior refinement on par with cars costing twice its price, the vehicle formerly known as Golf plays off its Euro roots to offer Continental cool.

  MSRP: $15,630      *NEW CAR BLUE BOOK VALUE: $15,474

  About Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com)

Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com is America's most used and trusted vehicle pricing, values and information resource. The top-rated Web site provides the most up-to-date pricing and values for thousands of new and used vehicles, including the Blue Book® New Car Value, which reveals what people actually are paying for new cars. Since 1926, car buyers and sellers have relied upon Kelley Blue Book for authoritative and unbiased information to make well- informed automotive decisions. The company also reports vehicle prices and values via products and services, including the famous Blue Book® Official Guide and software products. Kbb.com also has been named the No. 1 automotive information site by Nielsen//NetRatings and J.D. Power and Associates seven years in a row. No other medium reaches more in-market vehicle shoppers than kbb.com; one in every three American car buyers complete their research on kbb.com.

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SOURCE: Kelley Blue Book

CONTACT: Robyn Eckard, +1-949-268-3049, reckard@kbb.com, or Ernesto Del
Aguila, +1-949-268-3079, edelaguila@kbb.com, both of Kelley Blue Book

Web site: http://www.kbb.com/

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