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Back to School: Top Selling Cars Under $20,000

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sausalito California
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It's that time of the year! College freshmen are leaving home to start their first adventure as adults. As a parent, you want to give them everything they need to set them up for success. In many cases, this includes finding safe, reliable transportation for the next four years.

Most parents are looking for the same things in a car for their new collegiate: safety, reliability, and affordability. Many students would add a cool factor to that list; whether it's the look of the car or the technology inside it, they want to feel that their car will add to their reputation on campus.

It can be tempting to choose an older vehicle for your college student—after all, the price to buy it outright can be more attractive than a comparable new car. However, there can be a number of reasons why a new car is a better choice. A three-year-old car purchased for a freshman will be a seven-year-old car by the end of senior year. No parent wants to worry that their child's car will break down on the road. Additionally, unexpected repair bills can be hard on a budget that already includes the high cost of college tuition.

New car warranties protect both parents and students from pricey repair bills. New cars also come with safety features that can help parents sleep better at night such as hands-free calling and texting and crash avoidance systems.

Leasing can be a great solution for parents who are looking to find a reliable car at an affordable payment. It gives them the safety and reliability of a new car without the higher payments of a purchase. Most college students will have very different needs when they graduate—leasing allows parents to purchase the car they need for the time they need it.

We've listed our top selling vehicles with MSRPs under $20,000 to help parents compile a short list of vehicles that will work well for their college-bound offspring:

 

 

10. Honda Civic Hatchback (Starting MSRP: $19,700)

Why we love it: The Honda Civic Hatchback is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick and an Automobile All Star. A multi-angle rearview camera comes standard. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $24,122.


 

9. Mazda CX-3 (Starting MSRP: $19,960)

Why we love it: An IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus, the  CX-3 comes with a rearview camera, touchscreen infotainment, and internet radio integration. Additional safety upgrades include blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $24,577.


 

8. Honda HR-V (Starting MSRP: $19,465)

Why we love it: The HR-V comes with a multi-angle rearview camera; upgrades include all-wheel-drive and blind-spot monitoring. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $24,379.

 


 

7. Toyota Corolla (Starting MSRP: $18,500)

Why we love it: The Corolla is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and it comes equipped with Toyota Safety Sense, a backup camera, and touchscreen audio. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $21,021.


 

6. Honda Fit (Starting MSRP: $16,190)

Why we love it: A multi-angle rearview camera comes standard on the Fit. Upgrades include touchscreen display, Honda Sensing, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $19,204.


 

5. Volkswagen Golf (Starting MSRP: $19,895)

Why we love it: The Golf has been named to "Car and Driver's" 10Best list ten years in a row and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick (with optional front crash prevention). A touchscreen sound system, rearview camera, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are all included in the base model. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $24,824.


 

4. Subaru Impreza (Starting MSRP: $18,395)

Why we love it: Offered as a sedan or a hatchback, the Impreza comes equipped with a rearview camera and all-wheel-drive. When equipped with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights, the Impreza is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $26,024.


 

3. Volkswagen Jetta (Starting MSRP: $17,895)

Why we love it: A rearview camera and a touchscreen sound system are both standard on the Jetta. Upgrades include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and blind spot monitoring.  Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $23,500.


  

2. Mazda3 (Starting MSRP: $18,095)

Why we love it: Available as a sedan or a hatchback, the Mazda3 comes equipped with safety features like blind-spot monitoring. The Mazda3 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ when equipped with front crash prevention and specific headlights). Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $24,098.


 

1. Honda Civic (Starting MSRP: $18,740)

Why we love it: Another IIHS Top Safety Pick (when equipped with optional front crash prevention), the Honda Civic comes standard with a multi-angle rearview camera. Extras like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also offered. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $23,139.

 

Whether you're looking for a new car for your college freshman or yourself, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888-427-4270 or get started today.