What's the best car choice for your college freshman?

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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 $25,000 to help parents compile a short list of vehicles that will work well for their college-bound offspring:


10. FIAT 500

Why we love it: With its distinctive looks and crisp-handling, the FIAT 500 is a fun, afforable choice for students, especially those attending colleges in urban areas.


9. Mazda Mazda3

Why we love it: With a fuel economyrating of 30 city/41 highway, the Mazda3 is one of the most fuel-efficient compact cars on the road. Add safety features like a blind-spot monitoring (making it an IIHS Top Safety Pick+) and tech that includes a mutimedia touchscreen and it's clear why the Mazda3 is a popular choice for parents and students.


8. Subaru Impreza

Why we love it: The Impreza is an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2014 and the top-rated small sedan by Consumer Reports. It combines a smooth ride and handling with a fuel economy rating of 27 city/36 highway. The Impreza is the only vehicle on our list with standard AWD making it a great pick for students who will need to drive in snowy conditions.


7. Ford Fiesta

Why we love it: The Ford Fiesta offers a sporty drive and optional upgrades such as rear view camera, Reverse Sensing System and SYNC with MyFordTouch.


6. Toyota Corolla

Why we love it: Ther Corolla is redesigned for 2014 with a longer wheelbase, updated interior and a continuously variable transmission. Toyota's legendary safety and reliability make this a choice parents can feel confident in.


5. Volkswagen Golf

Why we love it: The Golf is another IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2014. It combines a sporty drive with a large interior for its small size. Upgrade to a TDI for the increased fuel economy of a clean diesel.


4. Honda Fit

Why we love it: The dynamic Fit reshapes to accommodate various combinations of cargo and passengers. The 2015 redesign includes a longer wheelbase for increased interor size as well as standard Bluetooth and rearview camera.


3. Honda Civic

Why we love it: Honda's ever-popular Civic offers solid safety and reliabilty, a comfortable drive and a standard back-up camera. A hybrid version is also available for a boost in fuel economy.


2. Toyota Prius c

Why we love it: The newest and smallest Prius has an impresive fuel economy rating of 53 city/46 highway and a starting price well below that of its siblings.


1. Volkswagen Jetta

Why we love it: The roomy, fun-to-drive Jetta is always popular with Cartelligent clients. It's also available as a hybrid or turbodiesel.

Whether your next car is for your college bound child 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.