With the average transaction price for a new car hovering around $40,000, most shoppers want to feel excited about their vehicle choice rather than spending hard-earned money on a boring car that simply gets them from point A to point B. With that in mind, today Kelley Blue Book names the 10 Coolest Cars Under $20,000 for 2021 and the 10 Coolest Cars Under $30,000 for 2021 based on Kelley Blue Book® Fair Purchase Prices. These lists are designed to help shoppers stick to a reasonable budget while still feeling enthusiastic about the intangible X factor that makes their new car stand out from the crowd.
"Defining 'cool' for a new car can be tricky because it's subjective. There's no exact algorithm, statistics, or even precise words that exactly identify it. But most people can agree that they know cool when they see it," said Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor for Kelley Blue Book. "When the Kelley Blue Book editors think about what makes a car cool, we consider if the car is fun, stylish, has a standout feature, or if it just plain makes you smile. Combining those often-indescribable nuances along with practical considerations like the vehicle's capability, tech features, versatility and more, helps us arrive at our annual Coolest Cars lists. Our goal is to show new-car shoppers that it's possible to find a cool car, truck, or SUV that meets your needs and doesn't break the bank."
For shoppers who crave a cool new car but have a very tight budget, Kelley Blue Book's 10 Coolest Cars Under $20,000 offers helpful suggestions.
10 Coolest Cars Under $20,000 for 2021
1. 2021 Kia Soul
All-new just last year, the Kia Soul blends stand-out sporty looks with the versatility and practicality of a hatchback. Not only does the Soul look good while toting lots of cargo, but it has plenty of fun-loving spirit. The Soul offers a lot of value at an affordable price.
2. 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
In another win for fans of sporty practicality, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a 5-door model that can enthusiastically tackle twisty roads and has aggressive good looks. It also comes standard with a loaded roster of tech and safety features.
3. 2021 Mazda3
The Mazda3 brings upscale style and athletic driving ability to the compact car segment. Mazda continues to expand the Mazda3 model line to attract buyers looking for a fun, attractive sedan or hatchback with an interior that is near-luxury in quality.
4. 2021 Chevy Trailblazer
The Chevy Trailblazer is one of the newest subcompact SUVs to hit the market. It's also one of the most affordable, making it an appealing option for people who want SUV versatility at a good price. The Trailblazer also comes standard with driver-assist features and a peppy engine.
5. 2021 Volkswagen Jetta
The Jetta is one of the most affordable compact sedans on the market and offers interior space close to that of a midsize car. Yet the Jetta feels light and spry on the road and is nicely responsive in turns.
6. 2021 Hyundai Veloster
Buying a car for less than $20,000 does not have to mean settling for a utilitarian box. Just look at the bold Hyundai Veloster as proof. This small car has a clever 3-door layout, retaining attractive coupe looks while making it easier to access the back seat.
7. 2021 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza already would have been an impressive value when you consider that the EyeSight suite of driver-assist safety features comes standard with automatic transmission models. Throw in standard all-wheel drive on all Imprezas, and that value is undeniable.
8. 2021 Hyundai Venue
The Hyundai Venue is a smaller subcompact SUV that's the right size for city living – and parking. Smaller than the Kona, the Venue has a small but capable engine with plenty of power around town and can hold its own at highway speed.
9. 2021 Mazda CX-3
If you like your small subcompact SUV with a heaping side of sportiness, consider the Mazda CX-3. It has good looks, excellent driving manners, and good fuel economy.
10. 2021 Kia Forte
Don't underestimate the Kia Forte. While Kia's SUV models have stolen the spotlight, the Forte has quietly found its place as a fun, likable compact car. Advanced safety features and smartphone connectivity come with every model.
For shoppers who have a slightly larger budget for their new car but still want to maintain a healthy balance of cool and affordable, Kelley Blue Book's 10 Coolest Cars Under $30,000 offers helpful suggestions.
10 Coolest Cars Under $30,000 for 2021
1. 2021 Ford Bronco Sport
Our coolest model under $30,000 is the Bronco Sport. All-new for 2021, the Ford Bronco Sport is the third member of the new Bronco lineup. Designed for outdoor lifestyle and adventure, the Bronco Sport is a fun way to experience the great outdoors with friends and family. Unlike the larger Bronco 2- and 4-door, the smaller Bronco Sport employs a crossover SUV platform.
2. 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata
After more than 30 years on the market, the Mazda MX-5 Miata remains a highly popular sports car. The Miata takes the old-school roadster idea and gives it top-notch engineering and reliability. Its combination of light weight, excellent balance, superb handling, and top-down exhilaration tugs at the heartstrings of people who want driving fun at a reasonable price.
3. 2021 Jeep Wrangler
Whether you want to go rock-crawling in the mountains or catch some rays driving along the beach, the go-anywhere Jeep Wrangler is the SUV for the job. This generation of the Wrangler is the most civilized yet, with available leather seats, intuitive infotainment, and a quiet interior.
4. 2021 Ford Mustang
This legendary Ford coupe has been around since the mid-1960s, and the current generation has styling that pays homage to earlier models. But the Mustang has come a long way since its introduction. The 2021 Ford Mustang has sophisticated technology, excellent powertrains, easy-to-use infotainment, and an independent rear suspension.
5. 2021 Dodge Challenger
The Dodge Challenger's bold lines and tough stance scream muscle car before you even hear the engine. However, the Challenger doesn't just stay true to the original 1970s model with its good looks – it has awesome performance to back up its head-turning style.
6. 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI
What started as a popular choice among diehard VW fans in the 1980s has expanded to become a bona fide automotive legend. The Volkswagen Golf GTI blends surprising practicality with a healthy dose of driving fun.
7. 2021 Chevrolet Camaro
The Camaro is a muscle-car classic that has been on the scene for nearly 55 years. Its styling is a modern take on the first-generation model, but the 2021 Camaro's performance at the track goes above and far beyond the original's capabilities.
8. 2021 Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma is an old-school midsize truck that is just as well-known for its off-road capability as well as its reliability. It's a truck you can take out to the desert with your dirt bikes for the weekend, tackle trails, and drive home without worrying about whether or not this truck can take it.
9. 2021 Hyundai Elantra N-Line
Hot off the heels of the all-new 2021 Elantra's debut, Hyundai introduced an N-Line version of its compact sedan. The N-Line has a fun and agile nature powered by a turbocharged engine, with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
10. 2021 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
Mini Coopers are known for their classic style, agile handling, and a wide range of customization options. We are fond of the Mini Cooper S Hardtop for the best combination of power and value. Whether you prefer two or four doors, you can get this model for less than $30,000.
For additional information about Kelley Blue Book's 10 Coolest Cars Under $20,000 for 2021, visit https://www.kbb.com/best-cars/10-coolest-new-cars-under-20000/. For additional information about the 10 Coolest Cars Under $30,000 for 2021, visit https://www.kbb.com/best-cars/top-10-coolest-cars-under-30000/.