The 10 Best Cars for College Students to Whip Around Campus

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College tuition takes a huge chunk out of the bank even without any car to worry about when you get there. Add in a set of wheels and add gas money, insurance payments and shelling out hundreds more for special parking passes can feel like your own personal hell. Finding the best cars for college students on a budget can get difficult, but they do exist for the fed-up public transportation rider.

These 10 best cars for college students will make going home for breaks easier and won’t break the bank.

Best for Bank Account

1. Honda Accord

Students looking for a simple but affordable car should take a look at this. For about $22,000 you can get it new but if you’re more into buying used, you can get it for $10,000 or less. Without breaking the bank, you can get some cool features including a navigation system, perfect for anyone who wants loves to travel to new places. If backing up sometimes scares you, it also has a rearview camera to prevent any unwanted accidents. “It is an amazing car and I love to drive it everywhere. There isn’t another car I trust,” said Temple University sixth year Husnan Chaudhry, who owns a 2004 Accord.

2. Volkswagen Jetta

Students looking for modern and stylish sedan fit should check out the Jetta. Its new models cost about $17,500. You can easily park in tight places on campus, too, especially the ones that need the dreaded parallel parking. You’ll have many options to choose for body and accent color, so whether you want to stand out with a bold color or go the simple route, you’ll find the perfect match. You’ll also get great gas mileage to help you get home to your own bed and a home-cooked meal without stopping for gas.

3. Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is cheap AF, making it an ideal car for broke college students. If you’re someone looking to save just a little more, the older models are way more affordable and still drive great. You can blast music no matter the occasion with custom speakers that can pump you up no matter where you are. And even though most sedans don’t have a sunroof, the Elantra has the perfect one for those warm, almost-summer days when you have the music loud and the windows down.

4. Ford Focus

Thrifty students thinking about the value of a sedan should check out the Ford Focus. Coming in at the most affordable price, you can get a Focus for around $16,700. With 40 miles for every gallon from those highway gas stations you pass on your drive from home, the Focus makes a perfect car for students who live far from their college. With a #look that’s stylish AF, you can get modern and eclectic rims, and the front grill will make it stand out from other student’s cars. If you want something a little roomier to easily transport all your belongings, the Focus also comes in a hatchback body style for about $3,000 more.

The Best for Gas Mileage

5. Toyota Prius

Though the Toyota Prius often gets made fun of for its modern look, electric engine and hipster vibe by hardcore car fanatics, don’t rule it out so quickly. If you want to go sustainable and stay aware of your effects on the environment, check out electric. Since it’s electric, it doesn’t produce any emissions and when it runs out of charge, it has an MPG of 50 in the city and 58 on the highway. You can buy a new model for about $23,400. “I only have to fill up my tank once every two and a half weeks. If you have the car for a while and learn how to maximize [the hybrid technology] you can do even more,” said Temple University junior Bryan Green, who owns a Prius 2008 model.

6. Nissan Altima

The Altima’s stylish look and 40 MPG on the highway definitely makes it worth every penny. Its price of $22,500 comes with a traffic alert system and blind-spot detection, both of which college students will find vital for campus driving. No one wants to get caught in traffic when leaving for home. The Altima can totally help you avoid that. “It’s comfy, safe, good on gas and the newer models have a backup camera which is a lifesaver when parallel parking,” said Temple University junior Pat Tkacik, who owns a 2016 model. The older models may come in at a lower price—a couple thousand less—but the upgraded navigation and camera system make it worth the price for student who wants the most from their car, especially those who are tech-savvy.

7. Toyota Camry

It may not be an Audi R8 or a Tesla Model X but the Camry can help you with anything from gas prices to smooth rides. The Camry gets 24 MPG in the city and 33 on the highway and goes for about $23,000. Besides the perks mentioned, you can also customize its color, which is cool AF for anyone wanting a new look or to stand out. “[The Camry isn’t] bulky and is relatively easy to park,” said Temple University junior Natalie Vilander, a 2005 Camry owner. Vilander lives five hours away from school and usually only has to fill the tank once a month.

The Best for Adventures

8. Honda CR-V

Sometimes sedans just don’t cut it. They don’t drive that well in bad weather, the inside gets claustrophobic and you can’t always see the road when low to the ground. So if you want extra room for storage and passengers, you’ll need an SUV. The Honda CR-V goes for about $24,000 and has 34 MPG when you drive on the highway. Its four-wheel drive can get you out of any situation from snow to flooding to finals. Also, the back-up sensor add-on can protect you from accidents, a pricey problem that no student wants. “I drive to New Jersey [from Philadelphia] once a week and I’ve never had any problems, no do I feel my bank account suffering,” said Temple University senior Emily Flynn, who owns a 2008 CR-V.

9. Subaru Crosstrek

Students who want to avoid scares from snow and rain should look into this. It can easily handle traveling from smooth rides to the beach to road-tripping up a mountain. If you’re looking to bring a lot of stuff home or want some extra storage, feel free to load this baby up with that impressive pile of laundry to do at home. It goes for about $21,500 and gas mileage that isn’t bad for a compact SUV—about 33 MPG. Students who love the outdoors and exploring will find it a perfect complement to their adventurous spirit as it easily conquers mountains, rough terrain and horrible weather.

10. Ford Escape

Do you ever want to escape classes and just go home forever? It’s a little pricier than others mentioned but SUV-lovers and parking novices will appreciate its features. The Escape can park without any problems in the small spots you find around campus, unlike other SUVs. This can help you avoid the embarrassment of people walking by judging how you park. The gas mileage can help save some money, too, which is perfect for literally any student. “I like my car and I feel it is pretty reliable and safe. I haven’t had a lot of issues with it like I know my friends have with their cars,” said Temple University junior Carrie Ciocca, owner of a 2010 Escape.

Francesca is a junior at Temple University studying journalism and history. When she isn’t on the hunt for new adventures, you can find her jamming out to alternative music and quoting Lord of the Rings way too much.

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