Best Cars for College Students in 2024

Owning one of the best cars for college students feels more exciting than you may have imagined. A car can be a lifesaver for many reasons for a university student. So you’ll need to make the best choice when going for one.

The prestige, the ease with which you can move around, the places you can dash off to without bothering so much on the logistics, and lots more!!

Even more than that, you want a car that portrays the best appearance for you and your new wheels. 

But you also want the most student-friendly price possible while still being one of the best cars for any college student.

Stick with us, and we’ll deliver some of our finest choices with this mix.

Let’s dive right in and talk about different models, brands, styles, comfort, safety, and what’s the best fit for your budget.

Can a College Student Buy a Car?

Of course! Remember, whatever has a price can be bought. Even a college student like yourself needs know-how.

The many ways this can be done are having your parents cover the costs and buying it off your credit card. 

Or they are taking advantage of automakers’ and dealers’ offers on certified pre-owned automobiles (CPOs). 

Having a cosigner with better credit increases your chances of securing a loan for your new car.

Also, CPOs often come in cheaper on the monthly payments, and you can be sure to get a good deal.

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Do You Need a Car in College?

Evaluating whether you need a car or want one is always vital. 

Doing this can save you from a whole lot of unwanted debts. 

Cars are required to take you from place to place.

So if your college life is confined mainly within the campus, say you live too far to drive off for breaks or an off-campus residence. 

Owning a car may not be ideal if you don’t have any business moving in and out of campus regularly.

Consider holding off on getting a car for a few more years and saving on gasoline and possibly parking tickets.

What to consider when buying a car for college students 

When buying a car for college students, the cost and your budget top the list of the many things to consider.

Like everyone else, we all want the best cars to buy. 

We’ll help you narrow down things you’ll consider when buying a car.

Below, we’ve listed some of these concerns you can use as a checklist to decide the best fit.

Your Budget

Planning around a set limit makes it even easier. 

Place considerations on how much you can afford at the time, how much you earn, and how much you are willing to spare each month on payments.

By doing this, the range of available cars becomes narrowed and easier to pick from. Just make sure to stick with your budget and don’t increase unnecessarily.

Your taste and style

Of course, you don’t want a car because it moves around.

Getting an automobile that cruises you in style and fashion is undoubtedly worth every penny.

So pay attention to the car brand, comfort levels, fuel economy, and durability. 

Whether you may want a new car or a used one comes up also. 

Car’s resale value and maintenance cost

Fixing a car on a regular can get as frustrating as you might imagine. 

Hence, taking the time to research cars that attract fewer maintenance costs is a must-do.

Owning a reliable and easy-to-maintain car as a college student isn’t just all. 

The resale value of your car is also representative of its value. 

A good resale value is an indicator of whether you intend to lease the car or use it yourself.

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Take test drives

Sitting behind the wheels gives you the most information on any car. 

Reading through reviews and seeing vivid photographs can often leave you undecided.

But taking that car for a spin or two assures you if it appeals to your person, else spins another.

Insurance costs

Doing a little digging on the best insurance offers available gives you the advantage. 

This will surely save you from being tricked into a deal you’d never prefer while purchasing.

Take a quick scan of the many available insurance offers and choose one in line with your budget.


Car dealerships can be witty; best be on guard. 

Although the sticker price gives an average valuation for the car, you can still place your bargain and argue for yourself a good deal. 

Unlike most other things, the price of used cars is not fixed. 

They aren’t tied to the manufacturing expenses of the producer. 

Due to that, there’s room for bargaining and price adjustment.

Other essential factors to buying a car

Do you need a small, fuel-efficient car to drive around or extra space?

These factors satisfy your needs or requirements for buying one of the best cars for college students.

While a four-door spacious car may be a must-have for many, you may want something more straightforward and compact.

Other convenience features such as hands-free controls, voice recognition to modify settings, and to change the music or temperature are excellent considerations.

A car’s mileage tells you how long and far it has been on the road; more say how long it’s been used. 

Typically, preferences fall for younger ones than older ones.

How much will car insurance cost a college student?

Insurance costs can become unbearable if you make the wrong choices. 

Generally, for drivers below 25, it’s advisable to get your insurance agent involved.

Automobile insurance is a competitive space; looking around will save you a few bucks.

The cost of insurance varies widely among providers and different packages.

However, some vehicles just cost more than others to insure. 

So your vehicle’s make and model also have a role here.

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Car Safety 

Safety is always a prime concern; being on the road is a little more than just cruising a nice set of wheels.

Always check the safety ratings for the car you intend to buy.

What are the safety features for that make, model, and year?

Recent models have automatic braking, forward collision warning, and monitors for blind spots. 

Check out crash test results on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will help you find more desirable models.

Best cars for college students

Finally, here’s our list of the best cars for college students.

#1. 2021 Toyota Camry

Price: $20,780

Rating: 4.5


Starting up top, the 2021 Toyota Camry, winner of the best midsize car for the Money award for 2021.

They are consistently ranked as one of the best-selling cars in the U.S.

Earing the top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2021 Toyota Camry has a low cost.

This car indeed comes up top as the best car for college students. 

Inside it, the Camry has spacious seating for up to five passengers in a well-styled cabin.

This sedan has a trunk with up to 15.1 cubic feet of space.


The 2021 Toyota Camry has a powerful optional V6 engine. It also packs the latest safety features.

It flaunts a 3.5-litre V6 engine that makes 301 horsepower. And all-wheel drive is also available. However, it only comes in the standard four-cylinder engine.

Other features include automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, and a centre armrest in the back seat.

#2. 2021 Mazda CX-30

Starting Price: $21,900

Rating: 4.3


The 2021 Mazda CX-30 is a subcompact SUV with one of the class’s most upscale cabins and designs.

This SUV meets your taste just as you like it if you have an eye for class, beauty, design, and luxury.

It has earned the top safety pick from IIHS and an overall five-star rating in safety from NHTSA.


The CX-30 packs an 8.8-inch infotainment display, Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

It also has excellent handling on the road and obtained a reliability score of 82 out of 100 from J.D. Power. 

#3. 2021 Hyundai Elantra

Starting Price: $20,645 

Rating: 4.8


The 2021 Elantra, although a small sedan, has a four-engine option and four wheels. 

Most Elantras will come packed with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

I am pulling up 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque.

This beauty is connected to a continuously variable transmission or CVT automatic.


LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

Body-color door handles and dual fold-away power body-colour side mirrors.

A Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS) and Hyundai SmartSense safety features.

An 8-inch touchscreen, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition.

#4. 2021 Honda Civic

Starting Price: $22,005 

Rating: 4.7


The 2021 Civic Sedan packs a lot of power for a small car. 

It’s built with a 158-horsepower 2.0-litre engine, and it’s nothing short of joy behind the wheels.


A USB port and Bluetooth connectivity form the major connecting technologies.

Moreover, Going with the Sport over the base LX version, you’d have access to more features.

Inclusive of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

A 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, an eight-speaker stereo system.

A leather-wrapped steering wheel and a push-button start, amongst others.

#5. 2021 Mazda3

Starting Price: $21,445 

Rating: 4.0


As with many other Mazdas known for their high-end design, the 2021 Mazda 3 also boasts athletic handling. 

This Mazda introduced two new engines for the compact model. 

It has a new base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine backed by a new turbocharged 2.5-litre engine.


This Mazda packs with itself, as expected, a whole lot of cool features.

It comes standard with forward-collision warning, emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, driver attention alert, and high-beam assist on the base model. 

Bluetooth connectivity with speech recognition is standard, as is an 8.8-inch touchscreen and two USB ports.

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#6. 2021 Subaru Crosstrek

Starting Price: $23,295 

Rating: 4.3


The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is a standard all-wheel-drive with up to 20% more available horsepower.

It packs a 2.5 litre, 182 hp BOXER engine.

The Crosstrek comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission.

However, you can upgrade this to the continuously variable transmission (CVT) for only $1,350.

This upgrade unlocks more safety features and allows you to select between fuel economy and power.


Choosing the CVT, the Subaru Crostrek comes with the Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.

A safety tech that ranks as an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, one USB port, and an a6.5 inch touch screen are exemplary of the main features.

#7. 2021 Kia Seltos

Starting Price: $23,110 

Rating: 4.8


The Kia Seltos is an entirely new subcompact SUV from Kia. 

Every version of the Seltos save the LX comes with a comprehensive suite of safety systems, including forward-collision and emergency braking, driver attention and lane-departure warnings.

Not leaving out lane-keeping assist, lane centring, and high-beam assist, according to the IIHS. 

To get blind-spot monitoring, you’ll need to upgrade to the EX grade, which will cost $3,400 more.


The connectivity options include Bluetooth with speech recognition, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and one USB port. 

These Seltos offer a class-leading cargo space and a sizeable second-row seat to accommodate adults.

#8. 2021 Hyundai Kona

Starting Price: $21,540 

Rating: 4.2


The Hyundai Kona has a 147-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a sporty design backed by its athletic handling and beauty.

Also available is a 175-horsepower turbocharged engine, all for your pick.

With the base engine, the requirements for daily use are easily satisfied with plenty of power.

Overall, it’s a small-size subcompact SUV worth every dime.


An electric vehicle model is available for this Hyundai.

Like most other Hyundai models, this comes with

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard features. 

With the gas engine, you can get up to 33 mpg.

#9. 2021 Honda HR-V

Starting Price: $22,140 

Rating: 4.5


The Honda HR-V boasts a spacious interior and runs a decent 30miles per gallon.

This Honda achieved top marks in crash tests from the government and IISH tests. 


The Honda HR-V EX trim includes a comprehensive set of driving aid features, unlike is limited to the base LX trim.

Such features are:

  • Forward-collision warning.
  • Lane-departure warning.
  • Auto emergency braking.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • A blind-spot camera.

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#10. 2021 Nissan Sentra

Starting Price: $20,335 

Rating: 4.1


The Nissan Sentra has a brilliant flash of elegance and sports.

It can get up to 39miles per gallon on highways, which is impressive.

This car also comes with zero-gravity seats for increased comfort. 


It packs an entire suite of SafetyShield 360 driver aids.

Blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic rear braking, high-beam assist, and ten airbags.

It just has it all, making a sure bet for the best cars for college students.


Scanning for some of the best cars for college students is often tricky.

It’s hence essential to have the right and good pointers do you fall into any wrong choice.

In this article, we’ve previewed all you need to know.


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