Taking public transportation around town is cheap and good for the environment, but let’s face it, it’s not always ideal. Sometimes the stop-and-go of a bus trip can prolong your travel time too much. Other times it doesn’t drop you off exactly where you need to go, leaving you to walk the rest of the way to your destination.
Having a car on campus can be really helpful for students, and can give them freedom and a sense of responsibility. But (cue record-scratch sound effect), you probably don’t have money lying around to spend on a new vehicle for a college-bound kid.
Luckily, there are a lot of good used cars out there that are safe, reliable and affordable. Check out our list of the top five used cars for college students based on cost, fuel efficiency and longevity:
Toyota Corolla — The Corolla makes up for its lack of style with fuel economy and reliability. It may not get a second look out on the road, but this choice won’t let you down.
Honda Civic — Probably the Corolla’s biggest rival in fuel efficiency and reliability, the Civic also performs well in crash tests, offering you peace of mind for an affordable price.
Subaru Impreza — Also known for its safety, various models of the Subaru Impreza have been used by police departments in Japan, Australia and France, so clearly it’s a good car.
Mazda 3 — This car is roomy and has good cargo space for hauling around whatever it is your student may need to haul around. Plus, your student won’t have to visit the gas station as often.
Hyundai Elantra — Fuel-efficient, safe and sporty looking, the Elantra has gotten better with each generation, so even though you’re buying used, buy a newer model if you can.
Finally, do your research, take test drives and talk to people you know who have owned these cars.