Cars like this are generally called 'entry level', for first-time buyers, or those who simply can't afford to spend more.
But these bargain-priced beauties are a great drive for anybody who wants features such as a navigation system, hard-drive music storage, voice-controlled iPod integration, Bluetooth phone connectivity, push-button start, leather seating.
All for $18,000 -- or less. So here are the top three cars for $18,000 or less -- according to Kelley Blue Book --
2008 Ford Focus
Definitely a cool car, with Ford's industry-leading SYNC music and phone integration system that allows you, for instance, to play any song in your digital library simply by saying its name. The popular Ford Focus is available as a sedan or a coupe.
- MSRP -- $15,280, KBB new car book value -- $14,942
2008 Honda Fit
With gas prices on the rise, small cars like the Honda Fit are gaining in popularity. The Fit sips gasoline and offers the sportiest driving experience available in an econo-car. Plus, the seats can be configured in multiple arrangements, so it can easily hold things like your friends, your gear or a medium-sized alpaca (according to a photo on Honda's Web site, anyway).
- MSRP - $14,585, KBB new car book value -- $14,585
2008 Jeep Patriot
This model has a classic look reminiscent of the departed Jeep Cherokee, plus a functional interior and a price tag under $18,000 price tag even if you upgrade to four-wheel drive. Combined with highway fuel economy up to 28 miles per gallon, the Patriot delivers a cool mix of SUV-like versatility and car-like efficiency for buyers on a budget.
- MSRP --$16,055, KBB new car book value -- $15,894
Great drives for $18,000 or less, and economy at the gas pump too.