Drivers can compare vehicle specifications and performance as much as they like, but ultimately one of the biggest motivating factors that drive vehicle purchase is simply how "cool" a car is – a highly subjective but nevertheless important quality for cars to have.
In a recent survey by J.D. Power and Associates, the company found that one of the reasons that customers will stay loyal to an automaker is if the vehicles are particularly fun to drive. Rather than focusing on practical reasons like fuel economy or horsepower, the driver was instead looking for an emotional response.
So which cars are cool? That's entirely up to the driver, but there are some cars that nearly everyone agrees on. The vast majority of drivers won't turn down the chance to get behind the wheel of a Mustang, and "lame" isn't often heard to describe James Bond's lineup of Aston Martins.
Yet while many of these no-brainer cool cars are in the luxury or supercar segment, automakers have also been a bit more aggressive with their styling as of late. Kelley Blue Book recently profiled ten cool cars that can all be had for less than $18,000. Drivers should keep in mind that if they instead opt for a used car, they can probably afford a cooler one as well – as long as they don't mind a few miles on it.
One of the prime examples of a cheap but cool car is the recently-launched Ford Fiesta. Ford started the marketing buzz on this machine with a cutting-edge social media movement, and it was reflected in the sales. With a highly-personalized exterior and an eye-catching shape, the Fiesta will turn a few heads without breaking the bank.
For those who want a car that breaks the traditional rules, the Nissan Cube is another affordable option. This box-shaped compact looks like something out of a science-fiction movie and features unorthodox styling, like a wraparound rear window.
Yet a car doesn't need to be unconventional to be considered cool. The Hyundai Elantra Touring edition sticks pretty closely to the established station wagon archetype. Where it really diverts is in the bevy of features that come standard. Drivers will be safe and secure with eight airbags as they rock out to a 172-watt sound system that features MP3 playback and iPod integration.
The common sedan might not be the first thing that drivers think of when they hear the word "cool car" but the news source cites the Honda Civic as a notable exception. The Civic is reliable and practical, with good performance and a reputation for reliability, but it also offers drivers styling that's reminiscent of the cars of the future. Inside, options for Bluetooth, a navigation system and all-leather seating can turn the Civic into a truly cool car.
Ultimately, getting a cool car on a budget will come down to what the driver is looking for, but the wide variety of cars for sale in recent years gives them more options than ever in creating their own cool ride.