5 Top-Rated Used Vehicles for College Students

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It makes no sense, and it costs too much money, to buy your college-bound kid a new car. A used vehicle is not only cheaper, it could be smarter.

It’s not often I call out another personal finance website – believe it or not, most of us get along famously because we all care about the same thing, which is saving Americans money.

But last week, an otherwise good site called Money Crashers listed 10 Best Affordable Cars for College Students. These new vehicles ranged from an MSRP of $11,000 to $15,000.

One of those recommendations was a $13,000 Smart car, the tiny vehicle that would make most parents nervous if their child were involved in a fender-bender.

If you’ve read Money Talks News for any length of time, you know we’re big advocates of used cars. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson is in his mid-50s, and he has yet to buy a new car (which he explains in Why I Don’t Buy New Cars). In fact, Stacy’s pristine S-Class Mercedes cost less than any of the new compact cars on the Money Crashers college list.

As a parent, you might be thinking, “A new car is more reliable than a used car.” But earlier this year, Consumer Reports exploded that myth by declaring, “Some used cars have fewer problems than new models.” (Check out the list of those cars.)

If I’ve convinced you to look at a used car for your college student, where should you go? Well, Kelley Blue Book just this week released its own list of Back-to-School Cars. If you skip the first section – which hypes five new cars (and only one that’s the same as Money Crashers’: the Hyundai Accent) – you get to KBB’s top five used vehicles…

1. 2007 Suzuki SX4 – “The least-expensive all-wheel-drive vehicle on the market, making it a smart choice for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of money to burn but needs something that can take on the cruelest of winters.”

2. 2008 Chevrolet HHR – “Fond of sporting yesteryear’s fashions ironically?”

3. 2007 Kia Sedona – “Students love minivans. No, wait, that’s a lie. However, the 2007 Kia Sedona has a lot of things that a thinking student could get a healthy crush on.”

4. 2007 Ford F-150 – “For parents who subscribe to a bigger-is-better safety philosophy. Boasts five-star NHTSA front crash ratings.”

5. 2007 Nissan Sentra – “For the practical-minded pupils that just need a way to get around town. Seating for five friends, up to 33 mpg on the highway.”

For more ways to save on back-to-school, check out the Money Talks News college page.

Stacy Johnson

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