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KBB: Dart, Fiat 500 “coolest new cars”

by Bill Cawthon on

Two of Chrysler newest cars are also cool cars. In fact, one of them is the coolest, according to Kelley Blue Book’s editors, who put the 2013 Dodge Dart at the top of their “10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000” list for 2012. The 2012 Fiat 500 also made the cut, coming in at No. 3 on the list. editors made their selections based on what they admit is a very subjective “cool factor” using two criteria: fun-to-drive and fun-to-own.

“The Dodge Dart’s enticing combination of style, performance, features and value have earned it the top spot in our 2012 coolest cars list,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s “With exceptional interior space and loads of personalization potential, the all-new Dart will definitely make its presence felt in the ultra-competitive compact sedan segment.”

“We are extremely proud that the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart was recognized as the coolest car under $18,000,” said Dodge CEO Reid Bigland. “ is one of the leading sites for consumers researching vehicles, so to have the Dart’s combination of style, value and the exhilarating driving experience recognized by the editors is a huge honor.”

This is the second consecutive year that a Chrysler Group vehicle has topped the list. Last year’s coolest car, the Fiat 500 wowed ’em again: Nerad said, “Catch even the briefest glimpse of the Fiat 500 and just try not to smile at this Italian-designed cutie that’s tiny in size, but massive when it comes to personality. Available as a hatchback or convertible, the perky 500 heralds the first new Fiat to be sold in America in nearly three decades.”

“We are honored that Kelley Blue Book’s editors have chosen, for the second time, our new 2012 Fiat 500 as one of the ‘Coolest New Cars Under $18,000,’” Tim Kuniskis, Head of Fiat Brand North America, said. “Starting at $15,500 and with more than a half-million ways to stylize and personalize, the Fiat 500 offers Italian styling, exceptional functionality, fuel efficiency and innovative technology–all at a superb value.”

1 Dodge Dart 2013
2 Hyundai Veloster 2012
3 Fiat 500 2012
4 Mazda Mazda3 2012
5 Chevrolet Sonic 2012
6 Ford Fiesta 2012
7 Honda Fit 2012
8 Kia Soul 2012
9 Scion iQ 2012
10 Volkswagen Jetta 2012

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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