Smart Spending

Five of the Best Cars for College Students

It’s the time of year when many parents go shopping for a car for their college-bound students. Many parents who can afford it prefer to purchase a new automobile rather than a used car or clunked. In exchange, they hope for a vehicle that will take their kids through college without any major issues.

Buyers look for a combination of features, including safety, comfort, gas efficiency, and price. The following five cars receive recognition from automobile websites like Autobytel or Edmund. com as among the best cars for college students.

1) 2012 Toyota Yaris 

For a vehicle that won’t break the bank, the Toyota Yaris presents an attractive option. The compact, sporty, and stylish hatchback carries a list price of $14,115. Features include power locks, air conditioning, and rear window wiper. The rear seat folds down and the car has a four-speaker stereo, CD player, auxiliary input, and satellite radio The Yaris gets gas mileage of 38 mpg on the highway and 30 mpg for city driving.

2) 2012 Volkswagen Jetta

The Jetta receives major kudos for its roomy interior and sizable trunk. It also has a smart electronic interface and is available in a fuel-efficient diesel model. The 2012 Jetta offers an attractive buy for  $15,515, a cost-conscious consumer that is very competitive with other sedans. Buyers can choose from six different trim levels.

The 2012 VW Jetta standard features include traction and stability control, front side airbags, side airbags, and active front head restraints. The vehicle scores four out of a possible five for government crash tests. The Jetta receives a “Good” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — the highest possible rating.

3) 2012 Hyundai Elantra 

This vehicle is truly a bargain, with base models starting at a price of $15,345, and one of the longest features list for compact class vehicles. The Hyundai Elantra includes keyless entry, heated mirrors, full power accessories, tilt and height-adjustable steering wheel.  It also includes a CD player, satellite radio six-speaker stereo. The Elantra gets an estimated 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

4) 2012 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2012 Chevy Cruze receives recognition as one of the best compact sedans on the market. It boosts a 136 horsepower engine and an optional turbo-charged engine that makes for a quick vehicle. The models and finishes are above average. Standard features include  a six-speaker stereo, CD/MP3 player, with full power accessories. The Chevy Cruze has an initial price of $16,800.

5) 2012 Mazda 3

The 2012 version of the Mazda 3 offers an optional 2.0-liter engine with more horsepower and fuel-efficiency than the 2011 2.0 liter engine. Mazda 3 comes in a hatchback and sedan version with a four-cylinder engine and with a speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The company has improved the choice of trim levels The car achieve 40 mpg and the engine boost more power than rivals Hyundai Elantra and Chevy Cruze Eco .