Ready to head off to college with your own set of wheels? Then you need to know what to look for when you’re shopping for a used car. A college student car should be affordable and reliable. It should also have plenty of trunk space – for transporting all of your worldly goods – and it should be nice and easy to park on campus.
With all of that in mind, we’ve created this list of the best used cars for college students.
All of the cars on this list are from manufacturers that boast low maintenance costs. They’re also all seen by insurers as sensible vehicles, which means you’ll tend to get reasonable car insurance premiums. However, these will vary depending upon make, model, your state and even your school grades!
Without further ado, here are seven of the most affordable and reliable cars for college students!
7 Great Used Cars for College Students
1. Kia Soul (2012)
Price range: $8,000 to $17,000
Fuel efficiency: average of 31 MPG
Average vehicle life: up to 200,000 miles
One of the best affordable cars for college students, the Kia Soul is the kind of vehicle you can spot from halfway down the highway. Its stylish boxy shape helps it stand out from the crowd. But it’s not just about looks. The Kia Soul is compact and maneuverable while offering a surprising amount of room inside.
Find a car with the upgraded trim level — the more luxurious option — and you’ll get iPhone compatibility as well as steering wheel controls for the sound system.
2. Toyota RAV4 (2016)
Price range: from $20,000 to $24,000
Fuel efficiency: between 42 and 52 miles per gallon, depending on whether you choose gas or hybrid drivetrain, and front-wheel or four-wheel drive
Average vehicle life: from 200,000 to 250,000 miles
The Toyota RAV4 is one of the best SUVs for college students and therefore definitely deserves a place on this list.
The 2016 model is available in both all-gas and hybrid versions and both perform highly in safety tests.
There’s also a ton of trunk space, so you won’t have to leave any of your creature comforts at home with mom and dad.
3. Hyundai Tucson (2015)
Price range: from $12,700 and $20,000
Fuel efficiency: an average of 24 miles per gallon
Average vehicle life: around 200,000 miles
The Hyundai Tucson isn’t the most fuel efficient vehicle on this list. But this reliable auto is one of the best SUVs for college students on the used car market.
The only downside? Taller drivers may struggle in the rather compact driver’s seat space. It handles well and boasts low total ownership costs as well as an unbeatable reliability rating.
While there is less trunk space than other SUVs, the interior is stylish and made with quality materials. Opt for a mid-level trim and you’ll get heated seats, a 4.3-inch touchscreen and a rearview camera.
4. Toyota Prius (2009)
Price range: from $7,000 to $15,000
Fuel efficiency: roughly 46 miles per gallon
Average vehicle life: over 250,000 miles
New electric and hybrid cars may be way over budget. But for eco-conscious college students, the 2009 Toyota Prius checks a lot of boxes.
It’s renowned for its reliability, great fuel efficiency and low maintenance costs. There’s also plenty of trunk space and a roomy backseat that can easily accommodate three passengers.
The only downside? Taller drivers may struggle in the rather compact driver’s seat space.
5. Honda Accord Hybrid (2014)
Price range: around $17,000
Fuel efficiency: around 48 miles per gallon
Average vehicle life: an impressive 250,000 to 350,000 miles
The Honda Accord Hybrid has a bigger interior than the Toyota Prius, while still offering a similar level of fuel economy and eco-friendliness. This midsize college car is another of the best cars for students around.
It’s reliable and comes with a host of great safety features. The Accord’s interior also feels pretty luxurious, with the base model providing Bluetooth, a CD player and a USB input.
There’s decent trunk space but it’s worth noting that because of the car’s battery pack, you can’t fold down the rear seats to create extra room for luggage.
6. Mazda 3 (2014)
Price range: from $11,500 to $15,000
Fuel efficiency: an average of 33 miles to the gallon
Average vehicle life: between 200,000 and 250,000 miles
When you’re looking for good cars for college students, you can’t go wrong with a Mazda 3.
The 2014 model has great safety ratings and an upscale cabin. It handles beautifully too. Available as a hatchback or a sedan, both versions comfortably seat five adults. While fuel economy could be better, maintenance costs are at the cheaper end of the scale.
And an intuitive infotainment system, with a four-speaker stereo, and USB and auxiliary inputs on all models, is another welcome addition.
7. Honda Fit (2013)
Price range: from $9,600 to $12,300
Fuel efficiency: an average of 31 miles to the gallon
Average vehicle life: between 250,000 and 300,000 miles
The 2013 Honda Fit may not have all of the bells and whistles of the Mazda 3, but it’s still an incredibly practical and reliable car for college students.
This Honda is a joy to drive and – with a large, versatile cargo load and roomy seating for up to five passengers – it’s easy to forget how compact a vehicle this actually is.
Find Your Ideal Car for College Today!
Looking for good cars for college students? Then you’ll find a wide range of quality used cars up for auction at Motobyo.
We make buying a car easy. With Motobyo you can:
- Buy direct from the seller, not a pushy dealership
- View an independent vehicle inspection report with details of repairs needed and the costs involved
- See full vehicle history details
- Get help with all your paperwork, including your title and registration
- Sign up for a vehicle service contract, so you can make sure your car is taken care of
Not only can you buy a used car at Motobyo, but you can sell them too! If you’re looking to upgrade your ride for college, sell your car first! You can either sell your car for cash on our site, or you can list it to privately sell online! If you have any questions about car selling or car buying at Motobyo, just reach out to us and ask!
See something you like? Simply create an account to place a bid.
Buy a used car in confidence! Browse live Motobyo auctions and find your ideal car for college!