10 Best Cars for College Students

As you prepare to head to college you are probably starting to consider what is the best car for you to invest in for these next four years, whether with the help of your parents or not. Although most college students have no need for a car their freshmen year while living on campus, once you choose to live off campus, your access to everyday needs lessens and a car becomes more necessary. This becomes increasingly prevalent for those who have chosen to take on a part-time job.

There are many things to consider when searching for your college car including price, mileage, safety, and space. To make it easier on you, we have put together a list of the 10 dependable cars for college students, all of which have a MSRP (manufactures suggested retail price) of $17,000 or less and have gas mileage of 25 miles or more.

Keep in mind, the best car for you may vary off the following list depending on where you are going to school, the sort of weather you experience in your town, and your financial status. Although this is an extensive list, it is important that you do your own additional research when deciding on your college car. And be sure to ask your parents for their input.

  • Nissan Versa


The Nissan Versa Sedan is one of the most dependable cars for college students and can be purchased at a starting MSRP of $11,990. The gas mileage is competitive with 31 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway with up to 400 miles between fill ups. This will save you a handful of gas money, especially if only using it to get around your college town. Like most Nissans, the interior spacious, perfect for driving your buddies around and the trunk space is unbeatable, perfect for lugging all your stuff to and from college. It also has a built in touch screen dashboard with several apps, Bluetooth capabilities, and SiriusXM if interested. This is an extremely affordable and highly efficient car for current college students.

  • Hyundai Accent


The Hyundai Accent ranges from $14,000-$16,000 brand new with gas mileage of 31 mpg. The accent has six airbags, offer a blue-tooth hands free system so help you refrain from using your phone while driving, and USB outlets and auxiliary chord jacks for all your Spotify and Pandora needs. It is a subcompact vehicle that feels more spacious than it looks.


  • Kia Rio


The Kia Rio starts at a price of $14,000 brand new with gas mileage of up tom 37 mpg. This design is in its third generation for Kia and you can find several different body styles to choose from, including three and five-door hatchbacks as well as a four-door sedan body style. This car is made with several air bags including dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags. The newer versions of the Kia Rio offer tech for the modern age driver such as smart keys and rear camera display.


  • Hyundai Elantra


The Hyundai Elantra is a car we suggest you buy used. Although a brand new Elantra doesn’t cost much over $15,000 with the minimal asking price of $17,150, you can get most of what the 2017 offers in a used 2014 or 2015 at a much lesser price. A used Elantra’s gas mileage will range up to 38 mpg on the highway and 28 in the city. In addition, a 2015 Hyundai Elantra offers 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and six airbags (front, front-side, and full-length side-curtain). There is a 6-speaker audio system with iPod/USB connectivity and plenty of passenger space for weekend road trips with your college buddies.

  • Honda Accord

Similar to the Hyundai Elantra above, the Honda Accord is another car we suggest you buy used. The MSRP for a brand new Accord starts at $22,000 but you can find a 2012 Honda Accord for a no haggle price of $13,599. Although the 2012 may not have all the bells and whistles that a brand new 2017 Accord will have, it is an affordable and dependable car for any and all college students. Accords are known for significant passenger spacing and noteworthy trunk space. You will feel safe with its overhead airbags and be able to blast today’s hits through its auxiliary jack.

  • Honda Fit

A 2017 Honda Fit will run you a little over our $15,000 range at a starting MSRP of $16,090. The Fit is in its third generation as a five-door, front-engine, and front – wheel drive subcompact car. This car will give your parents peace of mind with its side airbags, side-curtain airbags, and mandatory front airbags. It has also been built with an ACE Body Structure that helps distribute frontal crash energy more evenly throughout the car to help protect passengers when in an accident. The Honda Fit also offers all the bells and whistles to make your friends jealous, including their navigation system, push to start, blind spot protection, and connected audio. Not to mention, the gas mileage on this vehicle is one of the best on this list with 33 mpg city and 40 mpg highway which results in less gas money out of your pocket.

  • Chevrolet Cruze

You can find a newer version of the Chevrolet Cruze that will cost you between the $15,000-$16,000 ranges. This car is a shoe in for college students with is Apple CarPlay availability and 4G LTE access in a compact car. As a college student you will save money on gas for it can hold up to 42 miles per gallon. With its folding rear seats, the Chevrolet Cruze is a great option for those who are going to school far away and have to haul all their stuff a couple times of years. It will also make you the go-to road trip friend.

  • Toyota Yaris

In all honestly, owning any Toyota would be a smart choice for you current college students for Toyota is one of the most trusted car manufacturers in the world. The Toyota Yaris is no different. With an MSRP of $15,250 this car will get you up to 30 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Like most cars on this list, the Yaris provides Bluetooth capabilities, USB and auxiliary ports, and a touch screen dashboard, but unlike many of the other cars on the list, the Yaris has equipped 9 airbags for you and your friend’s safety. In anticipation of any rear-end collisions, Toyota created the Yaris with Whiplash-Injury-Lessening (WIL) seatbacks in the front seats. For being a subcompact car, this one is a great pick to ease the minds of your parents.

  • Chevrolet Aveo

The Chevrolet Aveo is a discontinue model that you can find at your local used car lot for under $13,000 depending on mileage. This car was offered by Chevrolet between 2004 and 2011 and was, and continues to be, highly affordable and fuel-efficient with mileage of up to 30 mpg. The standard Chevrolet Aveo offers four-wheel antilock brakes, daytime running lamps, and dual front air bags. It is a simple but dependable vehicle for current college students and is one of only a few American made cars on this list.


  • Kia Soul

Although the Kia Soul is one of the goofiest looking cars and may cause you to turn into a hamster, this car is another top option for college students. For price reasoning, the 2016 may be your best bet starting at an MSRP of $15,900. Being one of the most fun cars to drive on this list, the Kia Soul is also equivalent with the other nine regarding safety. Its advanced airbag system features dual front, front-seat-mounted side, and full length side curtain airbags with high-tech sensors to detect the level of impact, controlling airbag inflation. The 2016 Kia Soul includes a LCD display to Pandora radio, an available rear-camera display, and a Jukebox that you can upload music to for those days you forget your phone at home.

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