Cars for college students: top picks

With college students champing at the bit to get into the groove of fall semester, it’s time to look at cars that fit a student’s dynamic lifestyle.

Today, we’re bringing together top picks from some of the most respected auto websites, all in one place. The results are in, and we’re going to make some projections. Buyers, sellers and thought leaders seem to think that the perfect vehicle for a master matriculator is:

  • efficiently sized in footprint and storage,
  • energy efficient,
  • fun,
  • fully featured with modern electronic capabilities, and
  • competitively priced.

And the cars that fit this description and made more than one appearance on the lists below (you’re welcome) are:

  • Toyota Yaris (seen on 3 of the lists)
  • Kia Soul (3)
  • Ford Focus (3)
  • Hyundai Accent (2)
  • Honda Fit (2)
  • Honda Civic (2)
  • Volkswagen Golf (2)
  • Toyota Prius (2)
  • Subaru Impreza (2)

And now, for the full lists.

The Forbes list trends toward small-footprint, budget- and energy-conscious vehicles with moderate/good performance and fair storage capacity. Sensible choices for the college-bound.

  1. Toyota Yaris
  2. Mazda2
  3. Hyundai Elantra
  4. Honda Fit
  5. Toyota Corolla
  6. Honda Civic
  7. Ford Focus
  8. Volkswagen Golf
  9. Honda Insight
  10. MINI Cooper

KBB’s list is a little scattered, including many styles and platforms, and a couple of dark horses, like Nissan’s Versa Note, and the Chevrolet Sonic. But with solid standbys, like the Honda Civic, and the runaway hit Ford Focus, the list doesn’t throw off the grading curve.

  1. Nissan Versa Note
  2. Ford Focus
  3. Chevrolet Sonic
  4. Mazda Mazda3
  5. Honda Civic
  6. Kia Sportage
  7. Volkswagen Golf
  8. Toyota Prius C
  9. Subaru Impreza
  10. Fiat 500L

The Autobytel list reads like a manifest of a parking lot of one of my local higher education institutions. A solid list of vehicles for collegiates.

  1. Hyundai Accent
  2. Honda Fit
  3. Suzuki SX4
  4. Subaru Impreza
  5. Kia Soul
  6. Scion xB
  7. Dodge Journey
  8. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
  9. Toyota Prius
  10. Kia Optima

Cars Direct

Cars Direct provides a focused list of vehicles that champion the cause of the collegiate lifestyle, to the last nut and bolt. Small, efficient, modern and fun.

  1. Ford Focus
  2. Nissan Versa
  3. Chevrolet Spark
  4. Toyota Yaris
  5. Kia Soul

eBay Motors

Another short list of small cars, eBay has an eye on the future, and adds the SmartCar Electric Drive, the first mention here of an electric powerplant on a micro platform, for your consideration.

  1. Kia Soul
  2. Hyundai Accent
  3. Toyota Yaris
  4. SmartCar Electric Drive

Learn how to get a car loan as a college student so you can get rolling on the right wheels. Have a great semester!

Written by:

Competitive Rates

Lower your monthly car payments by applying for a car loan with

Apply for a Loan

*View disclosures & offer information
Dodge Charger