The Best Used Cars to Buy for College Students

You’ve done it – high school is officially behind you. Now it’s time to head off to a brand new world. College is that and more and you may need a car during your pursuit of a higher education. Thankfully, there are plenty of models that combine affordability, safety, and the features that younger drivers want most. Here’s a look at some of the best.

  • 2006 Honda CR-V: It might seem strange to recommend that a college student buy an SUV, but the 2006 Honda CR-V isn’t just any SUV. It’s compact, which makes parking on campus easy. It also provides plenty of cargo space, and you get Honda’s reputation for reliability, as well. You’ll also find models with available all-wheel drive (standard format is front-wheel drive). It’s also notable that the cargo floor can be removed and turned into an impromptu table for tailgating or picnics.

  • 2011 Scion tC: Sure, it’s sporty looking. It’s low-slung and offers an aggressive stance. However, it’s not a sports car. It earned a 5-star overall crash testing score from the NHTSA (National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration), and the engine puts out 180 hp, meaning that you have enough power to handle almost anything that comes your way without being overpowered.

  • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta: Volkswagen might not have the most sterling reputation right now, but that actually works to your advantage as a used car buyer. The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta offers two choices of engines (115 hp from the 4-cylinder version and 150 hp from the 5-cylinder option). It’s also priced to move thanks to its age and the fact that Volkswagen’s reputation has taken a hit.

  • 2003 Acura TL: No, it’s not the sexiest car on the market. It’s also a four-door sedan. However, it does offer decent power and performance (225 hp from a 3.2-liter V6) with 17/27 mpg. It’s not a gas-sipper, but it’s also not a guzzler like an SUV would be. Finally, there’s Honda’s reliability backing it up.

  • 2010 Hyundai Tucson: The Tucson is a fun little compact SUV that offers personality, decent fuel economy and good cargo capacity. The higher ride height is nice to have, and it comes standard with an iPod connection. You’ll find other niceties available too, including Bluetooth connectivity.

Whether you’re a soon-to-be college student or a parent looking to buy your child a car for their first year at school, these are some of the best choices.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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