You don’t always have to spend a million bucks to feel like a million bucks. Drivers can get a taste of luxury, performance, and superior handling on a bargain budget. For under $25,000, you can drive a cool new car straight off the dealership’s lot that looks and feels more expensive than what you actually paid. Here are the 10 coolest cars under $25,000.
1) 2018 Kia Soul
MSRP: $16,100 to $23,695
This second-generation Kia Soul has the boxy shape that many urban-dwelling adventurers covet in a crossover utility vehicle. With its peppy color palette that includes a hot Wild Orange and cool Caribbean Blue along with its compact design, driving the 2018 Kia Soul instantly conjures feelings of lighthearted fun and thoughts of zipping around town.
While not much has changed to the exterior or engine of the 2017 models, Kia made small enhancements to all three of the Soul’s affordable trim packages, such as bright HID headlights. The Soul Exclaim gets a boost from the powerful turbocharged engine, helping it handle corners like a boss. Behind the wheel of the Plus and Exclaim, drivers get optional leather seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
2) 2017 FIAT 500L
MSRP: $20,995 to $23,695
Drivers who want a European flair to their automobile should check out the 2017 FIAT 500L. This Italian car comes in an array of handsome colors like Forest Green and a clear-coat Black that give this small car a statelier presence on the road. Starting with the 2017, the underperforming dual-clutch automated manual transmission is gone and replaced with a 6-speed automatic that provides smoother, faster acceleration and driveability.
One of the 500L’s standout features is an all-glass roof, which gives the compact car the feeling of a more spacious interior. Front and center on the dash is a 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen with large-button controls. Features like keyless entry, a 6-speaker sound system, and Bluetooth come standard on the Pop, Trekking, and Lounge trims.
3) 2017 MINI Cooper S
The unique exterior styling of the MINI Cooper S gives it an awesome retro vibe. For the first time in 4 years, the beloved ice blue color has returned to the line of paint options. Of course, drivers can add those fun bonnet stripes that give the hardtop MINI Cooper its distinctive look among a sea of sub-compact hatchbacks.
Drivers get a few noteworthy improved features on the 2017 Cooper S model. While not the fastest vehicle on the streets, a better-tuned suspension and 1.5-liter turbocharged engine give it the driveability and get-up-and-go that people expect from MINI. The Cooper S now comes standard with a front armrest and 6.5-inch display screen.
4) 2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
With the 2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, drivers get a hatchback-coupe hybrid that practically zooms down the road. As the ultimate trim package available for this model, the Veloster Turbo is equipped with a 201-horsepower twin turbocharged engine and innovative third door on the rear passenger side.
It’s just as impressive on the inside too. Drivers and passengers will sit comfortably in the heated black leather front seats with orange trim embossed with the word Turbo. The 7-inch touchscreen supports both Android Audio and Apple Play.
5) 2017 Chrysler 200
After its redesign in 2014, Chrysler has infused some excitement and polish into the 200’s luxurious design. The midsize sedan’s classic colors and smooth lines immediately draw the eye to the exterior. The slim grill and contoured headlamps create an elegant look, and its 184-horsepower Tigershark four-cylinder engine offers drivers the fuel economy they need and the performance they want.
The Touring and Limited Platinum feature gorgeous premium cloth seats with an optional leather-seating upgrade in the Limited Platinum. Several trims come with a Uconnect package as well as heated and ventilated front seats. The car’s soft-touch steering wheel is more like a command center with its paddle shifter and integrated audio and voice command switches.
6) 2017 Jeep Wrangler Sport
Cool doesn’t always mean sporty. For drivers who want more ruggedness, the 2017 Jeep Wrangler Sport is the way to go. This Jeep has 4×4 capabilities and removable tops, so drivers can travel on rough terrain and bring more of the outdoors to the interior. This iconic automobile appeals to casual and die-hard off-roading enthusiasts alike.
With the two-door Wrangler Sport, drivers get all-terrain tires, fog lights, 16-inch steel wheels and an 8-speaker sound system with auxiliary input. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine puts a lot of force behind the Wrangler Sport, and an abundance of storage space make this the go-to camping and adventure vehicle for drivers on a budget.
7) 2018 Mazda CX-3 Touring
Mazda made this compact SUV low sitting, which gives the vehicle better balance when it turns corners. Deep sculpting makes the Mazda CX-3 Touring agile yet sturdy akin to a race car. Mazda also stepped up its game with the interior of the CX-3, which includes two-tone leatherette seats with red suede accents on the door.
With the Touring, drivers will be amazed by how the car handles thanks to its all-wheel drive and tuned suspension. The Mazda CX-3 Touring hugs corners and has responsive steering. A collision-avoidance system comes standard on the CX-3 Touring along with heated side mirrors and rain-sensing wipers. While this isn’t the most powerful SUV by any stretch of the imagination, the CX-3 can go from 0 to 60 in an acceptable 8 seconds.
8) 2017 Ford Mustang V6
No cool car list can be complete without the Ford Mustang. The 2017 V6 Ford Mustang comes in right under $25,000. On the exterior, an in-your-face grille and triple-slat taillights give it this sixth-generation Mustang its famous look. Finally, Ford has done away with the live rear axle and given the 2017 Mustang an independent rear suspension.
Tri-coat White Platinum Metallic and Grabber Blue are just two of the fantastic exterior color options on this year model. The V6 has rear wheel drive and a 300-horsepower engine with 280 lb-ft of torque. Drivers can adjust the seat height and enjoy a telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel. A 4.2-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity come standard in the V6.
9) 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Mazda makes it twice on this list with the 2017 Miata. Inspired by Italian and British roadsters of yesteryear, the 2017 Miata still has an old-school appeal with all the bells and whistles of a modern two-seater roadster. A fast-retractable hardtop and jaw-dropping exterior styling will turn heads wherever the car goes.
The Miata has precise cornering and handling thanks to its 50-50 weight distribution and finely tuned suspension, and it comes standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Leather seats with red stitching appeal to drivers who like the sporty look and tan-on-tan leather offers drivers a more elegant interior.
10) 2017 FIAT 124 Spider
While the 2017 FIAT 124 Spider shares many similar exterior features to the Mazda Miata like the Italian-esque styling and driver-friendly convertible top, there are some differences under the hood. The FIAT 124 Spider boasts a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which provides the driver with a little more punch.
Another feature to love about the Spider is its highly responsive manual transmission. Drivers will also enjoy the convenient push-button start, 4-speaker sound system, and 7-inch infotainment screen. The Classica trim comes with luxurious cloth seats; however, the slightly upgraded Lusso trim offers heated leather seats and a Bose Audio system.