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Best Cars for $15K or Less

By definition, economy and compact cars have not been the glamorous categories of automobiles. They served the necessary function of affordable transportation, but not much else. That’s not the case anymore, judging by the following list of the best cars priced at $15,000 or less.

The list was provided by TotalCarScore.com, which collects rankings for all car models from numerous sources, including Consumer Reports, U.S. News and World Report and J.D. Power, then averages them out to produce a comprehensive master score.

“Not so long ago, driving a low-priced car was a decision forced by financial necessity rather than fiscal responsibility,” says Karl Brauer, editor and CEO of Total Car Score. “The least expensive models on the market could offer personal transportation, but little more. The situation is much improved for budget-conscious buyers in 2012. Even the most basic new models provide capable performance, advanced technology and excellent fuel economy — many of them even wrapped in stylish sheet metal.”

Here are the top models with prices at or under $15,000, counting down to the one with the highest score.

By Colleen KanePosted 13 March 2012