- advertisement -

Top 10 coolest -- and affordable -- cars

A car's coolness quotient is based on more than how many heads you can turn at a red light. Though the attention is nice, other factors such as price, reliability, and affordability also determine coolness. Some of 2005's coolest cars are a blast from the past, while others are a nod to the future. And some are just plain contemporary-cool.

Whether they're redesigns or brand-spanking new, these cars will wow you with their innovative design and craftsmanship. Here are the 10 coolest cars of 2005 that will garner envious stares ` without breaking the bank.

Mustang GT

Click image for larger view
Sports car: Ford Mustang GT
Reminiscent of the classic 'stang from the '60s, but with a futuristic edge, this revamped muscle car features a 210-horsepower, 4.0-liter V6 engine. It might look like a car you'd save for the weekends, but, "It's an everyday car, and it's as smooth and as fast as a sedan," says Brian Moody, road test editor at Edmunds.com. Aside from its touted speed and comfort, you'll also have more legroom thanks to the elongated wheelbase and better steering responsiveness. Need more luxury? Opt for the red leather seats and charcoal-colored interior. The convertible model will debut in April.
Price range: $19,000-$25,000.

Mini Cooper
Mini Cooper
Click image for larger view
Convertible: Mini Cooper
Featuring its first fully automatic soft-top roof, this Euro-inspired Mini, which starred in the movie "The Italian Job," drives like a toy. Despite its childlike quality, it's very sophisticated. Boasting a 1.6-liter, 115-horsepower engine, it is only one of two convertibles to have folding rear seats (the PT Cruiser convertible is the other) and it offers a relatively roomy back seat and large trunk. And you can enjoy an open-air driving experience with just a press of a button. Optional equipment and accessories include Xenon headlights, a TV navigation system, Hi Fi audio system, and the choice of two colors made exclusively for the convertible: hot orange and cool blue.
Price range: $16,000-$24,000.

- advertisement -
Audi A3
Audi 3
Click image for larger view
Small sedan: 2006 Audi A3
If any vehicle has a shot at changing Americans' perception of the hatchback wagon, it's the Audi A3. Sporting a new turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and first-rate interior, it embodies luxury. And it's smaller, sportier, lighter and less expensive than its sibling, the A4. While this "sportback" has the precise, sleek look of an Audi, one can't deny its hatchback sensibilities, such as its split-folding rear seats and plentiful cargo and trunk space. The A3 will be available in May and the A3 3.2 Quattro, featuring a 3.2-liter V6 engine, will debut later.
Price range: $25,000-$32,000.

Chrysler 300
Chrysler 300
Click image for larger view
Large sedan: Chrysler 300
Always wanted a Bentley but couldn't afford it? Enter Chrysler's 300 Sedan. It's rich, regal and roomy. And it's the first rear-wheel-drive sedan to come from Chrysler in years. "History might prove the 300 sedan to be the car that turned Chrysler around," says Joe Wiesenfelder, senior editor at Cars.com. "It was a big risk for them, considering this comes after an era of Americans shunning the full-size car." Boasting a giant grill, this 340-horsepower Hemi V8 is nothing short of a full-sized car, though it sucks less gas than its SUV counterparts. While the 5.7-liter Hemi takes center stage, 2.7- and 3.5-liter V6 engines are available too.
Price range: $23,000-$34,000.

Volvo S40
Volvo S40
Click image for larger view
Sporty sedan: Volvo S40
Far from its days as the boxy, soccer-mom preferred car, the S40 has proven itself to be a sleek, sporty, hip sedan. For such a small package, the S40, featuring a 2.4-liter, five-cylinder engine, offers impressive roominess and safety features, especially when compared to its larger and more expensive siblings, the S80 and S60. But it's the price that makes this car so cool. "For $25,000 you can get a lot of cars. But with Volvo, you get not only prestige but better handling than others in that price range," says Edmunds' Moody.
Price range: $23,000-$26,000
.

Toyota Avalon
Toyota Avalon
Click image for larger view
Family sedan: Toyota Avalon
Toyota says that its completely redesigned Avalon is "the most American vehicle Toyota has produced to date." And who doesn't want a slice of Americana? Featuring a 3.5-liter V6 engine, the Avalon offers the most powerful six-cylinder engine in Toyota's North American line. With increased horsepower, redesigned air bags, including some for the drivers' knees, the 2005 Avalon, "is more stylish and youthful than its predecessors and will no doubt appeal to younger buyers," says Wiesenfelder.
Price range: $26,000-$33,000
.

Ford Freestyle
Ford Freestyle
Click image for larger view
Sportwagon: Ford Freestyle
Large families will love this crossover sportwagon, offering three rows of seating, all-wheel drive, and a 203-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 engine. Based on the same architecture as Volvo sedans, it boasts more personality than its relative, the Ford Five Hundred, while still maintaining the same family-pleasing features. "It's a packaging triumph," Wiesenfelder says. "Historically, only minivans or SUVs have been able to pull off three rows comfortably. But the Freestyle is comfortable, and not just for a short trip."
Approximate Price: $29,000.

Pontiac Solstice
Pontiac Solstice
Click image for larger view
Price-conscious sports car: 2006 Pontiac Solstice
It's a sportier, less expensive and more-powerful version of the Mazda Miata with a style all its own. This curvaceous, clean-lined roadster, which will debut late this summer, offers a four-cylinder 2.4-liter Ecotec engine with 170 horsepower. A 250-horsepower-plus turbo version of the vehicle will be on the market shortly after. "It's probably the first Pontiac really worth noticing in a long time," says Moody. "Its swoopy looks make it look fast even when it's standing still."
Approximate price: under $20,000.

Chevrolet HHR
Chevrolet HHR
Click image for larger view
Crossover: 2006 Chevrolet HHR
Part truck, SUV and car, this retro-cool crossover vehicle is Chevrolet's copycat version of the PT Cruiser. While it possesses that similar gangster-car feel, the Chevy HHR is more reminiscent of the 1949 Chevy Suburban and is built on the same platform as the Chevy Cobalt. With its high roof, flared fenders, a headlamp design with jeweled lighting effects, and flat-folding rear seats, the car is certainly style-heavy. It features a 2.4-liter, 170-horsepower engine and will be available late this summer.
Approximate Price: $23,000.

Golf GTI
Golf GTI
Click image for larger view
Hatchback: Volkswagen Golf GTI
Previous Golf model owners will be envious of this newcomer, which is not only bigger and more responsive, but much sleeker-looking. While its rear is still boxy, The Golf GTI's deeply sloped hood gives it a more striking and aggressive look. In addition to offering a 2.0-liter engine and 200 horsepower, it boasts an 80-percent increase in torsion rigidity, making the new Golf GTI stiffer and less susceptible to creaks and groans. And thanks to an all-new suspension, coupled with electromechanical steering, it offers better handling. It's available in three-door or five-door hatchback configurations.
Price range: $17,000-$25,000
.

-- Posted: Feb. 15, 2005

Print  
 
Auto Loans
Compare today's rates
NATIONAL OVERNIGHT AVERAGES
48 month new car loan 3.22%
60 month new car loan 3.24%
48 month used car loan 2.98%
See Also
Auto loan calculator (includes amortization schedule)
How much car can you afford?
Buy or lease your next car: Which is right for you?
Compare low interest rate and rebate
VIEW MORE CALCULATORS

- advertisement -