This year’s list of budget-smart cool cars includes a repeat winner, an all-new Jeep and a couple cars that have been completely redesigned in 2015. All of them are fun, stylish and versatile to varying degrees, and each and every one can be had for less than $19,000 (or very close to it).
Following are the top 10 coolest cars under $19,000:
10. Fiat 500:
Fiat’s diminutive 500 remains as cute as ever—it’s also the cheapest Italian car currently on the market. With a puny, 101-hp four-cylinder, it’s also one of the slowest cars available, too. Fortunately, a 135-hp turbo model is offered, with livelier performance both in a straight line and in turns, thanks to suspension bits from the racy Abarth (reviewed separately). Style-minded buyers may find either the sliding-softtop Cabrio or some of the many special-edition models worth a look, too.
9. Subaru Impreza:
Sensible, spacious, and trustworthy—these traits make the Impreza a safe choice, but not an exciting one. It starts with an underpowered 148-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder; a five-speed manual is standard and a CVT is optional. Choose the manual to wring as much performance as you can out of the engine; the CVT drains any fun to be had from the driving experience.