When it comes to picking out a used car when you are a college student, you must remember that this decision will impact the path of your life for years to come. Because if you keep your car as long as the average person, you will most likely be moving into your first off campus apartment in this vehicle as well as commuting to your first job with it a few years later.
But since there is an economic depression afoot, you may just wind up driving this same used car to the unemployment office after graduation. In order to fit all of these seemingly divergent needs, a college student’s used car choice must be what is known as a “triple threat.” It must be fuel efficient, flexibly utilitarian and built to last.
Now those are the needs but no doubt you also want a used car that is stylish and fun to drive. Well, that is why there are no SUVs or minivans on this list. Those are for the days when you have a brood of your own and need enough room for spilled juice boxes and one of those huge baby strollers. In other words, a college student’s used car should be practical but it should also be FUN!
To get the best deal on a used car you should look at models that are 3-5 years old as that is when most cars have already taken their biggest hits from depreciation. While that is true of most used cars, a Honda Civic is a bit of an anomaly as its residual value remains strong no matter how many miles have passed underneath its tires.
The Civic, no matter which year you choose, will always promise you excellent fuel economy, a well built and spacious interior, style, plenty of creature comforts and a fun to drive feel that is so often lacking in competing models. And if you don’t want to be that practical do remember that the Civic can be bought as a coupe, as well.
This may seem like an unconventional choice but if you live in a Snow Belt state then this all-wheel drive sedan really makes a great choice. But the Legacy is also very fuel efficient, has a terrific reliability record and is also very affordable as a used car purchase. Lastly, you can even get a Legacy with the same turbocharged 4-cylinder that Subaru uses in the WRX. Only the Legacy is far cheaper to insure.
Utility, an open and spacious interior seemingly built for road trips, fuel efficiency, reliability and low ownership costs. These are just some of the myriad benefits inherent in buying a Toyota Matrix. This fun to drive little wagon is so versatile you could probably even use it as a mini moving van. Because Lord knows college students have to move a lot.
Although residual values remain strong for the king of all hybrids, the Prius is continually ranked as the most reliable family car by Consumer Reports. Heaps of environmentally friendly “green” credibility, fuel efficiency and spaciousness are also great reasons to buy a used Prius.
VW Golf/Rabbit hatchbacks and Jetta sedans have been a regular fixture on college campuses for decades now and they still make sense as a first car. These German economy models offer spacious cargo areas, superb build quality and a buttoned down, fun to drive nature. Also, if you think you might possibly be a “tree hugger,” then have a look at the frugal TDI diesel models. VW’s diesel engines are also well known for their high mileage durability.