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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A 2022 Hyundai Veloster N is shown from the front at an angle while it rounds a bend.

8 of the Coolest Cars That Are Actually “Affordable”

As a kid who grew up in the 1980s and ‘90s, I’d say that the coolest car ever made was the Lamborghini Countach. Everything about it was pure aesthetic delight, and it was absolutely dripping with the over-the-top veneer and style of that era. You’re not exactly going to find a Countach at an online car dealership or most dealers in your area, though, so that’s really something of a dream car. That’s not even mentioning the fact that buying a classic Countach at an auction will run you a few hundred thousand, or that one of the insanely-limited brand-new models costs a couple million dollars.

If price isn’t a factor, then it’s easy to come up with a long list of absurdly cool cars that most of us will never even sit in, let alone drive, let alone own. Fortunately, however, there are plenty of awesome rides that are actually accessible too—though one’s budget will still make some of them more realistic than others. Rather than drone on about fantasy rides that are beyond the realm of possibility, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the coolest cars out there that are actually attainable. Just to be really inclusive, I’m not sticking only to cars; we’ll look at a truck and some SUVs too.

#1: Audi e-tron GT

Spoiler alert: this isn’t the last Electric Vehicle (EV) that you’ll find on this list, but it’s the first one I wanted to mention for a few reasons. For starters, it’s Tony Stark’s car and that’s already demonstrably cool—though that’s far from the only reason you’re finding it here. This is also a stylish and sophisticated ride that offers fantastic performance, with incredible acceleration and power packed into it. Yes, it’s one of the more expensive options you’ll find here, so it’s certainly not within reach for everyone. But at least it’s not some Bugatti supercar or anything with a seven-figure price tag. Best of all, the four-door design and luxurious interior make this a practical option—in terms of lifestyle, if not price—that you can use every day and really get your money’s worth.

A silver 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 is shown from a high angle parked on tarmac.

#2: Chevy Corvette C8

Although the Corvette has always been an impressive piece of machinery, throughout the 2010s there was something missing; it seemed to have reached its full potential in terms of performance and just couldn’t go any further. That was, of course, until Chevy’s engineers finally did what many people had previously dreamed of and moved the engine from the front to a middle placement, just behind the cabin. Thus was born the C8 Corvette, which launched for the 2020 model year, and delivered a level of performance and handling that we’ve never seen from a Chevy. The C8 is certainly not a budget model and not necessarily as practical as some of the other options here; this is still a mainstream mid-engine sports car that’s relatively accessible, however—which makes it something special in my book.

#3: Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

In a day and age when SUVs reign supreme over the auto industry—so much so that traditional “cars” are largely overlooked—it’s nice to see something that bucks that trend. Few models are as non-SUV in my book as the Dodge Challenger, which remains the quintessential muscle car. There are numerous trims and engines available for the Challenger, but the raw power of the SRT Hellcat models that have been around for years now is something else. The four-door Dodge Charger might be more practical (if there is such a thing as a practical muscle car) but the aggressive might of the Challenger puts it on my list.

#4: Hyundai Veloster N

Not all two-door sports cars need to be something like the mid-engine Corvette or the SRT Hellcat; sometimes a sports car can be even more accessible. With that in mind, the Hyundai Veloster N is the perfect example of a fun, sporty car that has an incredibly practical price, which makes it highly accessible. While some teens or drivers in their early 20s might dream of a C8, the Veloster N sits more reasonably within reach and represents a great “entry-level sports car.” It’s not exactly spacious, but a whole flock of young people can pile into this thing and enjoy a night out in style.

#5: Tesla Model S Plaid

Not everyone is a Tesla fan—I’m certainly known for leveraging a fair amount of criticism at the company—but there’s no denying that they do some things right. If nothing else, their growing popularity helped push other brands to start playing catch-up, devoting some real time and money toward developing competitive EV models. That being said, Tesla still does what it does well and the Model S Plaid is the perfect example of that. More than 1,000 hp and the ability to go from 0 to 60 in about 2 seconds make this a sedan unlike just about any other. It’s certainly not what I’d call budget-friendly, but the performance justifies the price tag for a significant crop of drivers.

#6: Ford Mustang Mach-E

The EV SUV market seems to be one of the biggest battlegrounds developing in the auto industry, and it’s only going to get more competitive. With that in mind, the Ford Mustang Mach-E really stands out among the rest as a great example of how to bring it all together: style, luxury, performance, and price. I personally would’ve just called this model the “Mach-E” rather than diluting the “Mustang” name, but no one asked me. Other than that, though, I think this is a definite winner for a cool EV SUV that offers sporty performance, impressive range, and a price tag that will fit many people’s budgets—especially compared to some other options.

#7: Ford Bronco

It’s a Ford double-feature, with their other SUV that I think qualifies as one of the coolest cars out there: the newly resurrected Bronco. The original Bronco was fine, but we’re talking about the new Bronco that recently made a comeback and has some of the most impressive off-road features on the market. If you’re looking for a great trail-ready SUV but you’re not a fan of Jeep, then the Bronco has you covered. Point-by-point, the Bronco is better than the Wrangler in just about every way; Jeep needs to do some serious work to catch up and try to surpass what Ford has given us. You’ll see plenty of Bronco mall crawlers out there that have never had a spot of mud on them, but there are also plenty proving themselves on the trail as you read this.

A green 2022 Ford Bronco Everglades is shown from the front while driving through mud after leaving a Shively Online Car Dealership.

#8: Ram 1500 TRX

I’m not a big “truck guy,” though I think they’re a utilitarian option that definitely serves a great purpose for a lot of people. However, I don’t typically think of them as, “cool.” That being said, I have to admit that the Ram TRX is on another level. It deserves some attention for being much more than a practical pickup. In fact, this is the most powerful conventional truck on the road—with its Supercharged 6.2-L HEMI V8 engine that helps it blaze from 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds with 702 hp. That kind of power and performance elevates this pickup to another level. The Ram TRX can still get plenty of work done and is amazing for going off-road, while also tearing up the track. What could be cooler?

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