8 Top Cars Under $15,000

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—It's clear that Gen Y-ers, saddled by student loan debt and facing high unemployment, are buying fewer cars--with Americans between ages 21 and 34 purchasing just 27% of new cars in 2010, a drop from 38% in 1985.

But no one needs to buy a Mercedes-Benz S-Class to hit the road; here is a list of eight stylish rides that won't break the bank.

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Chevy Sonic Hatchback

MSRP: $14,785

MPG:26 City/35 Hwy

This subcompact out of Detroit allows you "Buy American" street cred with a 1.8 L four-cylinder turbocharged engine and nice lines to boot. A Testarossa this is not--with only 138 horses under the hood, but it will merge you onto the highway just fine and more than make up for its shortcomings in the money you save.

Chevy Spark I4 LS Hatchback

MSRP: $14,785

MPG: 26 City / 35 Hwy

This cutesy, futuristic ride allows you to be thrifty but hip. The colored appliques line the door panels and dash to match the exterior for what becomes a nice integration. Of course, with 84 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque, it's not going rev and roar in any sort of impressive fashion, but with heritage from GM's Daewoo acquisition, this is a unique domestic purchase with a little bit of foreign flair.

Ford Fiesta S Hatchback

MSRP: $14,200

MPG: 29 City / 39 Hwy

The Fiesta is a fun ride that plays to the tech-savvy motorist with Ford's Sync system, with a USB port and Bluetooth. Its forward leaning stance is attractive enough, and with a history dating back to 1976 and in its sixth generation, the pint-sized vehicle has earned its keep as a staple on the American highway.