Buying a Car for a College Student, what is the Best Vehicle for Them?

best_college_carsMy first car was a used pick-up that I got when I was a sophomore in college. It was dark blue, had a gray, cloth bench seat, manual transmission, and no AC.  It got good gas mileage and it was awesome when it was time to move my small pile of stuff from apartment to apartment. My Dad bought that first truck for me and I had no idea why, but later in life I would come to find that it was the best car for me at the time.

When you’re in college, you want affordable and reliable transportation. Students and parents alike usually begin the search for that first auto by looking for solid, flexible, economical vehicles. But they will quickly see that it’s difficult to find value be cheap.

Koons has on average over 5,000 used vehicles a month to chose from with the vast majority of those vehicles being Certified Pre Owned and all of the dealerships can work with you financially.  Start your used car shopping with a budget of around $9000, this way you should be able to get a vehicle that will last beyond graduation.

Here’s a bit of advice: Make sure you know your student’s needs before selecting a vehicle. Buyers should be aware of the college’s parking rules, proximity of service and parts stores, and weather conditions. If parking is tight, a subcompact or compact car may make more sense. Find a local mechanic who you trust that can work on the car if the need arises. It might be wiser to have an all-wheel-drive on a campus prone to snow and bad weather.  If they are driving more than three hours from home each way, make sure they have comfortable working seats and cruise control.

For this article we broke our vehicles down by type of vehicle and then mention a few well-known vehicles for each type.

compactBest Compact Car – city colleges
Kia vehicles are known for their durability and reasonable price tags. This all still applies to a used Kia’s as well, which can cost about $5,000-$6,000 for a 2009 model, which also boasts a surprising amount of interior space. Because Kia offers such extensive warranties, students may be able to purchase a vehicle that is still covered.

sedanTop Midsize Car – driving a long distance and more urban settings
The Toyota Corolla may not be able to fit into the same tight spots that a Kia Rio can, but it offers more space, more room for passengers and a classic style that won’t be embarrassing to drive to a job interview. A 2010 Corolla is likely to cost less than $10,000, perform well, and get a college student through graduation and into that first job before needing replacement.

hatchBest Hatchback (5-Door) – for majors that have a of gear associated with them
The hatchback has now pretty much taken over the station wagon slot, what was once the workhorse of the American family has pretty much vanished.  The hatchback or 5-door has taken it’s place, small and flexible these vehicles are great for many different situations and that’s why they’re great for the college kid of today. The Ford Focus offers a familiar name and a reasonable price tag for those looking for a vehicle that will offer plenty of interior space without sacrificing its ability to squeeze into tight parking arrangements. With a price tag of about $6,000 for the 2003 model, the Focus is likely to last a student well past the college years, but take just about anything the student may throw at it.

Students may also want to consider the Toyota Matrix, which is comparable in many ways to the Focus.  It’s a tad more expensive but like the focus it comes with a well know brand name and a long history of styles and trim levels to choose from.

SUVBest SUV  – campuses with bad weather and for majors that have a of gear associated with them
The Chevy Equinox may put a bigger dent in a car shopper’s wallet than other vehicles, but this SUV is easy to navigate around campuses or cities while offering all-wheel drive in case of bad weather or rough roads. If your student is going more than 4 hours drive from home this is definitely the vehicle you’ll want them in. Capable of moving an entire dorm room with ease it’s also capable of pulling a trailer with the contents of their first apartment.  With a price of about $9,500 for the 2005 model, the Equinox may not be the cheapest used car that a person can buy, but it is one of the most durable, practical, and flexible for its size.

TruckTop Truck – for the student who will be moving… A LOT!
There are times when a person needs a truck and there are also times when a student may simply prefer one. The Toyota Tacoma offers all the normal features of a pickup truck, but with a compact size that can be easier to drive on a campus. The price for the 2000 Tacoma is about $6,000, but it can come with a powerful V6 engine and the ability to go off-road or on snowy roads, and carry a hefty payload.

These top 5 used cars by type for college students offer a wide range of choices to meet your different needs. In addition to needs and price, reliability, feature sets, fuel-economy, and auto insurance rates, along with safety are also important factors that should not be overlooked. No matter what you need, you can come to any of the Koons dealerships and we’ll make sure you find the right car for the right price. 

 

 

About Krystal Koons

Krystal Koons is the spokesperson for Jim Koons Automotive Companies, one of the country's largest privately-held dealership groups headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area. Visit us at www.koons.com.

Posted on August 6, 2014, in Automotive and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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