The first day of college is just around the corner, and many parents are sending their kids off to school with a car. Edmunds compiled a list of the best used cars for college students, making their selections based on strong value, utility, fuel efficiency, performance and advanced safety features.
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2014 Honda Accord Hybrid
Average used transaction price: $16,430
Estimated fuel economy: 47 mpg combined (49 city/45 highway)
According to Edmunds, the Honda Accord Hybrid holds up well and has a spacious cabin. The car also has safety features including a rearview camera and an additional camera that displays a driver’s right-side blind spot. Some models have lane departure and forward collision warning systems.
2013 Volkswagen GTI
Average used transaction price: $13,826
Estimated fuel economy (automatic): 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway)
Edmunds believes the Volkswagen GTI offers the best blend of performance and comfort, but noted that a competitor worth considering is the Ford Focus ST.
2014 Mazda 3
Average used transaction price: $12,770
Estimated fuel economy (automatic-equipped hatchback with 2.0L engine): 33 mpg combined (29 city/39 highway)
Edmunds recommends the Mazda 3 for those who like the GTI’s utility but need something more affordable. They note that the Mazda has one of the nicest interiors in the segment and is a tech-rich car. There’s a dash-mounted screen with high-quality graphics and an available heads-up display. The safety options include blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera and forward collision warning.
Popular rivals include the Honda Civic and the Ford Focus.
2016 Toyota RAV4
Average used transaction price: $21,235
Estimated fuel economy (LE and XLE): 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway)
Edmunds called the RAV4 a “solid pick” for those who need more space than a small car or hybrid, noting that it offers a comfortable ride and a generous amount of interior space. It's also available with all-wheel drive. They added that although the RAV4 isn’t the most exciting vehicle in the class, with the Ford Escape offering a more powerful engine, while the Mazda CX-5 stands out due to its impressive handling. Still, the RAV4 is Edmunds’ top choice due to its all-around competence and widely available safety equipment.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.