Fourth-coolest 2013 under $18,000: Honda Fit
Fair purchase price: $15,461

This tiny hatchback offers big volumes of passenger and cargo space, not to mention lots of fun on the roadway.

"The Fit is probably the most fun to drive of all the cars in its class," Nerad says.

The 117-horsepower Honda ( HMC) also boasts good fuel efficiency (28 mpg/city and 35 mpg/highway when outfitted with automatic transmission), a cool interior and fold-flat rear seats that give the car a generous 57.3 cubic inches of cargo space. That's more than you'll find in larger rivals such as the Nissan ( NSANY) Versa.

"The Fit is very versatile," Nerad says. "The seats fold down in lots of different ways and you can actually get a lot of stuff into it."

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