Here are 'Great New Cars' for Under $18K: Consumer Reports

Here are 'Great Cars' for Under $18K: Consumer ReportsThe average new-car loan is close to $27,000, but you don’t have to come anywhere near that amount to get a “great new car,” according to Consumer Reports, which has decided that there are six automobiles under $18,000 that fit the bill.
Getting the right balance of value and quality for your money is the way to go, “without accepting one or more significant sacrifices that you may later regret,” CR writes.
Cars at the bargain-basement prices tend to be outfitted with manual transmissions and few frills.
“Often this rock-bottom price is simply a come-on to lure you to the showroom; you’d be very lucky to find even one of these price-leading models in dealers’ inventories,” CR said.
In arriving at its six great cars under $18,000, CR focused on popularly-equipped models, amounting to a fair representation of what most customers are likely to buy.
Each car has met the CR threshold for a recommendation, meaning they performed well overall in testing, have average-or-better predicated reliability, and perform adequately if included in government or insurance-industry crash tests.
Here’s a quick overview, with links to each car’s road test on the CR website:
Chevrolet Sonic 1.8 LT – $17,455 as tested
Base MSRP price range: $14,185 – $21,470
“Uplevel trims offer a modestly quicker and more fuel-efficient 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a somewhat balky six-speed manual.”
(Read Chevrolet Sonic road test.)
Honda Fit – $16,915 as tested
Base MSRP price range: $15,425 – $19,790
“While the not overly powerful, it feels responsive, with a smooth and willing engine, and agile handling.”
(Read Honda Fit road test.)
Hyundai Accent GLS – $16,320 as tested
Base MSRP price range: $14,545 – $17,095
“The sedan, with the very smooth and responsive automatic, attained 31 mpg overall; we also got 32 mpg for the stick-shift hatchback in our tests.”
(Read Hyundai Accent road test.)
Kia Rio EX sedan – $17,545 as tested
Base MSRP price range: $13,600 – $17,900
“It uses direct-injection technology and has a six-speed automatic, an unusual feature for the subcompact class.”
(Read Kia Rio road test.)
Mazda2-Touring-Studio.jpgMazda2 Touring – $17,845 as tested
Base MSRP price range: $14,720 – $17,050
“Handling is quite nimble and the ride is tolerable, but the cabin lets in too much road and engine noise.”
(Read Mazda2 road test.)
Scion xD – $16,900 as tested
Base MSRP price range: $15,745 – $16,545
“Its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine delivers adequate performance but is miserly with fuel.”
(Read Scion xD road test.)

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