Third-coolest 2013 under $18,000: Kia Soul
Fair purchase price:
The youth-oriented Soul features an uber-boxy look that's popular with Gen Y, coupled with a hip interior that includes special colored lights that pulse in time to whatever you're listening to on the stereo.
"The Kia Soul is one of those cars that has a significant amount of whimsy in it, from the exterior design to the fact that you have a sound system that gives you a little bit of a light show," Nerad says.
The base Soul also comes with a decent 138-horsepower engine that offers 26 mpg/city and 31 mpg/highway when paired with an automatic transmission. Or you can pick a higher-level trim line and enjoy a beefier 164-horsepower engine.