When shopping for a used car for your college bound kids it is wise to consider exactly how they will be using this vehicle. Most often a college car will be used primarily as the most basic transportation simply going to and from the campus on periodic weekends and holidays. The car does not need to be expensive or fancy it just needs to be safe and dependable.
First the car has to be affordable to own and to drive, so good fuel economy is near the top of the list of things a used car must have. It also needs plenty of space for their stuff! The college kid will need some spending money, something for tuition and books, dorm room things like sheets and pillows so the less you have to put into a used car the better! Lastly it needs to be at least a little bit cool if at all possible.
To that end there are a number of different used cars that would be serviceable for college transportation, but a few models stand out as better than the rest. In order to get something new enough that it is still reliable, and old enough that it is still affordable you should probably start looking at used cars being sold by private owners since that is typically where the best savings are made on used cars. Any used car newer than about three years, might still be too expensive if you are on a budget. If you get something older than about five years then you may find it having reliability and added cost issues fairly early on. So my research shows that a four year old car is about perfect for your college kid to buy.
My thoughts on the best five used Manual Shift Coupes with Four Cylinder Engines that are perfect for a college kid would be the following.
1) 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt LS. With 145 horsepower 2.2 Liter four cylinder engine this little coupe does really well on highway fuel mileage. Specs are 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. This used compact coupe is very affordable selling for around $6,700 if purchased from a private owner.
2) 2006 Ford Focus ZX3 S. This compact car is nice looking and has proven itself to be a dependable little car. Typically comes with a 2.0 Liter four cylinder engine that makes 136 horsepower. This car was getting 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway when new. Prices for this model and year appear to be selling for around $6,000. Fords compacts certainly have come a long way since their Pinto days!
3) 2006 Saturn Ion Compact Coupe 2. Having a 2.2 liter 140 horsepower engine and getting 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway this little coupe is top of the line in terms of reliability. The Saturn brand is very reliable and most owners are actually reluctant to sell these cars! Average sell price from private owners has been around $6,700.
4) 2006 Honda Civic DX. This sweet compact has a 1.8 Liter in line four cylinder engine that is capable of 140 horsepower and yet still yields 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Civics have always been one of the most loved cars by their owners and are usually taken care of quite well by most drivers. For around $7,700 from a private seller you can pretty much get your pick of the lot. Reliability is just one of their strongest attributes.
5) 2006 Hyundai Tiburon GS. This model has a 2.0 Liter four cylinder engine getting 138 horsepower. Mileage is reasonable at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. These are selling for around $8,100 from private owners here in Northeast Ohio. Hyundai was well on their way towards making a strong name for themselves in the reliability and economy ratings of their product offerings.
Most college cars are going to be around just long enough to get the student through the four or five years it takes them to get their degree, then they will both move on to bigger and better things for both!
Prices are quite varied depending upon many factors and the prices I listed here were taken from local dealerships and read in the local paper called “The Good News”.
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