The Top 5 Best Cool Cheap Cars for the Money – 2023

Unveiling the 2023 best cool cheap cars offers potential car owners a unique peek into the automotive world where high value meets affordable cost. Our focus points for this reveal include the Kia Rio, Honda Civic, Kia K5, Hyundai Elantra Hybrid, and Chevrolet Bolt. Each of these models uniquely performs in terms of speed, quality, and cost-effectiveness. Therefore, fasten your seat belts as we take a more in-depth look at why these cars might be the best automotive investment for 2023.

Detailed 2023 Best Cool Cheap Cars for the Money

The five vehicles topping this list all provide consumers remarkable financial value combined with superior performance and reliability. Let’s further dissect each one and their worth.

1. Kia Rio: A Value-Packed Subcompact Offering

Kia Rio cool car

In the crowded subcompact car segment, the Kia Rio emerges as a distinctive player, blending affordability with high-value features that help it punch above its weight class. This car’s range of compelling characteristics further emphasizes its worth and enhances its allure. Here are the standout attributes:

a. Distinguished Design

The Kia Rio’s design is a perfect blend of functionality and aesthetics that signal quality and attention to detail that often transcend its segment. Various aspects contribute to its design appeal:

  • Exterior Design: The Kia Rio catches the eye with its sporty, streamlined silhouette defined by its dynamic lines and distinctive front fascia[1%5E].
  • Interior Design: Inside, the Rio boasts a well-organized, driver-centric layout with quality materials that showcase Kia’s attention to detail[1%5E].
  • Spaciousness: Despite being a subcompact, the Kia Rio surprises with generous interior dimensions, including substantial headroom and legroom[1%5E].

b. Efficient Driving Dynamics

The Kia Rio’s real-world performance and efficiency validate its superior drivability:

  • Engine Performance: The 2023 Rio is equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque[2%5E].
  • Handling: Its precise steering response and controlled body motions provide a sense of stability and confidence on the road[2%5E].
  • Transmission: The Rio’s standard continuously variable automatic transmission delivers power smoothly, aiding its drivability[2%5E].

c. Advanced Technology

The 2023 Kia Rio is equipped with user-friendly tech features that add an extra layer of convenience:

  • Infotainment System: The Rio is equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system standard, and it supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto[2%5E].
  • Driver-Assistance Features: Notable available safety features include forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking[2%5E].
  • Comfort Features: The Rio also offers keyless entry and automatic climate control for added comfort[2%5E].

d. Noteworthy Fuel Efficiency

Boasting above-average fuel efficiency, the Kia Rio is a perfect economical choice:

  • Fuel Economy: The 2023 Kia Rio gets an EPA-estimated 33 mpg in the city and up to 41 mpg on the highway[3%5E].

e. Cost-Effective Pricing

The Kia Rio’s affordable pricing aligns with the needs of budget-conscious customers:

  • Affordability: The 2023 Kia Rio has a starting MSRP of $16,150, making it one of the most affordable cars in its class[4%5E].

To summarize, the Kia Rio is characterized by its elegant design, efficient performance, advanced technology, exceptional fuel efficiency, and attractive pricing. It is indeed a value-packed, budget-friendly vehicle in the subcompact car segment.


  1. Kia Official Website
  2. Car and Driver
  3. Fuel Economy
  4. Edmunds

2. The Honda Civic: The Definitive Compact Car Choice

honda civic cool cars list

Renowned for its reliability, performance, and resale value, the Honda Civic is a well-founded choice in the compact car world. To highlight its key attributes, we’ve expanded on the following aspects, complete with specific details and real statistics where applicable:

a. Performance

The Honda Civic’s sporty handling amplifies the overall driving pleasure you get from this car:

  • Engine: The 2023 Civic offers two engine options: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 158 horsepower and a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder producing 180 horsepower[1%5E].
  • Transmission: The standard transmission is a smooth Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), offering responsiveness and efficiency[1%5E].
  • Driving Dynamics: Combining agile handling with a well-tuned suspension, the Honda Civic feels lively and engaging to drive[2%5E].

b. Interiors

The high-quality materials adorning the interior offer a sophisticated, plush ambiance:

  • Design: The 2023 Civic boasts a minimalist dashboard design with a tasteful layout[1%5E].
  • Materials: High-quality soft-touch materials and well-fitted trim add to the premium impression of the Civic’s cabin[3%5E].
  • Space & Comfort: With ample headroom, legroom, and comfortable seating, the Civic can accommodate up to five passengers[4%5E].

c. Safety

The Honda Sensing® suite equips the car with a wide range of safety features, ensuring peace of mind:

  • Honda Sensing® Standard: This advanced suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies comes standard in all 2023 Civic trims[5%5E].
  • Key Features: Included in Honda Sensing® are Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, and Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)[5%5E].
  • Safety Ratings: The 2023 Honda Civic received a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)[6%5E].

d. Price

Despite the extensive features, the Honda Civic comes at a competitive price:

  • Base Model: The 2023 Honda Civic LX, the base model, has a starting MSRP of $22,350[7%5E].
  • Top Trims: The higher trims, such as the EX and Touring, respectively start at $24,700 and $28,850, offering more luxury and tech features for a reasonable price[7%5E].

In summary, the Honda Civic is a compelling package in the compact car segment due to its engaging performance, upscale interiors, comprehensive safety suite, and competitive pricing. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned driver, the Honda Civic is a car that stands out as an excellent choice.


  1. Honda Official Website
  2. Car and Driver
  3. MotorTrend
  4. CarBuzz
  5. Honda Sensing®
  6. NHTSA
  7. Edmunds

3. The Kia K5: Revolutionizing Midsize Sedans

Cool Cheap Cars List Kit K5

The Kia K5 is altering general perceptions about midsize sedans, shaping a reputation for being exciting, comfortable, feature-packed, and stylish. We delve deeper into the following aspects, elaborating on details and referencing real statistics where appropriate:

a. Driving Experience

The Kia K5’s engaging on-road behavior ensures a fun-filled driving journey:

  • Engine Performance: The 2023 K5 comes with a standard 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that delivers a punchy 180 horsepower. There’s also the 2.5L turbocharged engine option, which produces an impressive 290 horsepower[1%5E].
  • Handling: The K5 has agile handling and a smooth ride, thanks to the well-tuned suspension and accurate steering[2%5E].
  • Transmission: The 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth, precise, and well-suited to the turbocharged engines[1%5E].

b. Comfort

The interiors of the Kia K5 promise comfort and convenience, adding to the car’s splendour:

  • Interior Materials: The K5’s cabin uses quality materials, imparting a plush feel[3%5E].
  • Interior Space: The Kia K5 delivers excellent interior space, particularly in the back seat where passengers enjoy plenty of headroom and legroom[4%5E].
  • Comfort Features: Features like an 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and ambient interior lighting are standard[1%5E].

c. Features

The broad suite of standard features further propels the Kia K5 into the limelight:

  • Infotainment: Standard infotainment features include an 8-inch touch screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a six-speaker stereo[1%5E].
  • Advanced Safety Features: Kia packs the K5 with plenty of advanced safety tech. The K5 includes standard features like lane keep assist, lane following assist, driver attention monitor, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and more[1%5E].

d. Design

The sleek styling of the K5 can win over plenty of car enthusiasts:

  • Exterior Design: The 2023 K5’s sleek lines and aerodynamic contours command attention[1%5E]. This is further enhanced by details such as its striking front grille design and sophisticated LED lighting[1%5E].
  • Interior Design: Inside, the K5 boasts a modern, minimalist design with an elegantly designed dashboard and a clever layout of controls[3%5E].

In conclusion, the Kia K5 is more than just a practical vehicle; it’s a midsize sedan packed with excitement under the hood, comfort inside the cabin, advanced features, and standout design. These elements combine to propel the K5 into a coveted position in its category.


  1. Kia Official Website
  2. Car and Driver
  3. U.S. News & World Report
  4. MotorTrend

4. The Hyundai Elantra Hybrid: The Future of Fuel Efficiency and Comfort

Hyundai Elantra cool cars list

As a pioneer in hybrid technology, the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid solidifies its stature by offering splendid fuel efficiency, grand comfort, and avant-garde safety technology. In this comprehensive guide, we discuss each element in detail, providing real statistics and outbound links to relevant websites:

a. Fuel Efficiency

Extraordinary fuel efficiency makes the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid a prime choice for fuel economy and monthly savings:

  • MPG Ratings: The 2023 Elantra Hybrid achieves an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of up to 53 mpg city, 56 mpg highway, and 54 mpg combined[1%5E].
  • Hybrid System: A highly efficient 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a 32 kW electric motor and 1.32 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery makes this remarkable fuel efficiency possible[1%5E].
  • Transition: The Elantra Hybrid utilizes a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission for smooth shifts between gas and electric power[1%5E].

b. Comfort

With a luxurious interior, the Elantra Hybrid maximizes passenger comfort on every journey:

  • Space: The cabin features ample headroom, legroom, and shoulder room to comfortably accommodate up to five passengers[2%5E].
  • Materials: The Hyundai Elantra Hybrid showcases high-quality, soft-touch materials throughout the interior[3%5E].
  • Comfort Features: Standard comfort offerings include dual-zone climate control, premium cloth upholstery, and a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat[1%5E]. Additional optional features include heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a power moonroof[4%5E].

c. Safety Tech

The Hyundai Elantra Hybrid incorporates cutting-edge safety tech, contributing to safe, confident driving:

  • Hyundai SmartSense: The Elantra Hybrid comes equipped with Hyundai’s SmartSense suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies[5%5E].
  • Key Features: The SmartSense package includes features like Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, and Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go[5%5E].
  • Ratings: The 2023 Elantra Hybrid received a 5-start overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)[6%5E].

In short, the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid sets an impressive example in the hybrid car market by combining exceptional fuel efficiency, luxurious comfort, and state-of-the-art safety technology. It’s a top choice for those seeking a sustainable, well-rounded vehicle.


  1. Hyundai Official Website
  2. Edmunds
  3. MotorTrend
  4. U.S. News & World Report
  5. Hyundai SmartSense
  6. NHTSA

5. The Chevrolet Bolt: Leading the Charge in the EV Market

Chevy Bolt one of the top cool cheap cars you can purchase right now

The Chevrolet Bolt is top-of-the-line for those veering towards the EV market, breaking barriers in affordability and functionality. It impresses with its myriad of qualities, including eminent range, spacious interior, and advanced features. In this detailed post, we’ll delve into each of these aspects:

a. Range

The Chevrolet Bolt stands out with a stellar range, reducing the range anxiety commonly associated with EVs:

  • EPA Rated Range: The Bolt boasts an impressive EPA-estimated range of 259 miles on a full charge[1%5E].
  • Efficiency: It achieves energy efficiency of 118 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), making it one of the most efficient EVs in its class[2%5E].
  • Flexible Charging Options: The Bolt provides various flexible charging options. It’s compatible with Level 1 and Level 2 charging at home, DC Fast Charge stations, and public charging networks[1%5E].

b. Interior

The spacious interior of the Chevrolet Bolt accommodates passengers comfortably, making it a viable option for families:

  • Passenger Space: Despite its compact exterior dimensions, the Bolt offers a surprisingly spacious interior that can comfortably seat up to five passengers[3%5E].
  • Cargo Space: With 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and 56.6 cubic feet with the seats folded down, it provides ample room for luggage[4%5E].
  • Interior Features: Standard interior features include a 10.2-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a Wi-Fi hotspot[1%5E].

c. Advanced Features

Packed with various state-of-the-art features, the Chevrolet Bolt gives a fantastic introduction to electric motoring:

  • Driver-Assist Features: The Bolt’s suite of standard driver-assist features includes Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, and Teen Driver system[5%5E].
  • Regen on Demand: The Bolt’s innovative “Regen on Demand” feature allows drivers to convert energy while slowing down or stopping and funnel it back into the battery[1%5E].
  • One Pedal Driving: The Bolt also features One Pedal Driving which allows drivers to speed up and slow down using only the accelerator pedal for a more efficient driving experience[1%5E].

Offering impressive functionality and affordability, the Chevrolet Bolt certainly validates its position as a leading player in the EV market and represents an enticing proposition for those considering making the switch to electric.


  1. Chevrolet Official Website
  3. Autotrader
  4. MotorTrend
  5. U.S. News & World Report

Differentiating Factors in the 2023 Best Cars for the Money

To help you make informed decisions when investing in a new car, it’s crucial to focus on the key differentiating factors presented below. These elements will not only assist you in identifying the perfect car that aligns with your requirements but also ensures that you get the most value for your money.

a. Engine Performance and Fuel Efficiency

Vehicles that boast a harmonious balance between engine performance and fuel efficiency often deliver optimal value for money. These cars provide a pleasing driving experience while saving you money over time. Some key points to consider include:

  • Higher MPG: High miles per gallon (MPG) ratings improve fuel economy, lowering the cost of ownership.
  • Carbon Footprint: Fuel-efficient vehicles emit fewer greenhouse gases, contributing positively to the environment.
  • Engine Choices: Seek out vehicles that present multiple engine options or use alternative energy sources, such as hybrids or electric vehicles (EVs), for additional performance and efficiency versatility.

b. Safety Features

Advanced safety features incorporated in modern vehicle designs not only save lives but can also help lower insurance premiums. Key aspects to look for are:

  • Driver Assistance: Features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring can help prevent accidents by offering additional support to drivers.
  • Collision Avoidance: Technologies such as automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning can detect potential collisions and either alert the driver or apply the brakes autonomously.
  • Ratings and Awards: Seek vehicles that have earned top safety ratings from organizations like the IIHS and NHTSA.

c. Vehicle Technology and Convenience Features

Easy-to-use technology can significantly enhance the driving experience by providing additional comforts and conveniences. Key areas to consider are:

  • Infotainment System: User-friendly infotainment systems, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allow seamless smartphone integration, granting access to entertainment, navigation, and communication options.
  • Voice Controls: Hands-free voice control systems minimize driver distractions, ensuring safer and more enjoyable driving experiences.
  • Driver Comfort: Features like power-adjustable seats, automatic climate control, and heated or ventilated seating can elevate overall driving comfort.

d. Value for Money and Resale Value

The best cars for the money offer a delightful balance between their initial purchase cost and their residual value over time. Keep these factors in mind:

  • Depreciation: Look for vehicles with a lower depreciation rate, as these will retain more of their value when selling or trading in.
  • Awards and Recognitions: Vehicles that receive awards for their value or resale value, such as Kelley Blue Book’s (KBB) Best Resale Value Awards, indicate a wise investment.
  • Maintenance and Reliability: Choose vehicles with a reputation for reliability and low maintenance costs, as this can contribute significantly to long-term value retention.

Wrapping Up the Top 5 2023 Best Cool Cheap Cars for the Money

If you’re considering options for a subcompact, compact, midsize sedan, hybrid, or EV, the Kia Rio, Honda Civic, Kia K5, Hyundai Elantra Hybrid, and Chevrolet Bolt comprise a formidable list of contenders. These models stand out for offering exceptional value for money, a wide range of features, performance, and characteristics typically found in luxury vehicles. With the differentiating factors shared above in mind, embark on your automotive search with these five impressive vehicles – they are sure to exceed your expectations.

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