The back-to-school period is full-on and brings its share of emotions and memories. As an automotive enthusiast since my early days in high school, I've had the chance to drive, own, love and hate several vehicles of different makes and models. Therefore, I present to you my top 10 of the best cars for students. Thanks to their affordability, reliability or stunning features, those vehicles made the list and caught my attention. Moreover, I would recommend these to a member of my family or a close friend without any doubt.
Since most students can't afford a brand new vehicle because of their steep price, this list majorly features pre-owned vehicles. Therefore, I would highly recommend a complete inspection before purchase to avoid unpleasant surprises.
10. Volkswagen Jetta
Fitted with the extremely reliable 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, the Volkswagen Jetta is classy, spacious and fun to drive. The most affordable vehicle of the VW lineup, this sedan will perfectly suit any summer road trip and everyday ride to school. Several other engine options are available, however, models equipped with the 2.0 liter are usually the most affordable.
A replacement for the Protégé, the Mazda3 quickly established itself as great car that is both fun to drive and affordable, either new or pre-owned. Some older generations faced huge rust problems, beware.
8. Kia Rio
Thanks to its original design and great fuel-efficiency, the Kia Rio is a functional vehicle that packs a lot of punch and style. Naturally, newer models are both better equipped and more reliable.
7. Toyota Corolla
A vibrant symbol of reliability, the Toyota Corolla is a true performer that offers astonishing fuel efficiency and low-cost repairs. Sportier than ever in its 2014 edition, the Corolla is one of the safest bets when it comes to uncompromising reliability.
6. Nissan Versa
Look for the hatchback version which is far more functional than the sedan. Thanks to its popular CVT transmission, the Nissan Versa provides great fuel economy and boasts one of the roomiest cabins in its category.
5. Nissan Micra
The smallest car of the lineup, the Nissan Micra made the top 10 of the best cars for students thanks to its ridiculous price (starting from $9 998), original style and compact size.
4. Honda Fit
Powered by a fuel-efficient and agile 4-cylinder, the Honda Fit perfectly reflects its manufacturer's motto: It's a small car with a lot of punch and enhanced reliability. A huge plus: the Magic Seat which greatly enhances storing possibilities.
3. Hyundai Elantra
Rated as a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, the Hyundai Elantra is spacious, fuel-efficient and more reliable than it ever was before which makes it an easy pick from my Top 10 best cars for students list.
2. Toyota Yaris
First there was the Tercel, then the Echo and now the Toyota Yaris. Powered by one of the most fuel-efficient engines and Toyota's finest technologies, the Yaris is one of the greatest examples of Japanese reliability and also one of the most solid vehicles in its category.
1. Honda Civic
My first car as a student, like so many other teenagers, the Honda Civic is the perfect example of what a student's car should be. It is agile, fun to drive, fuel-efficient and incredibly cheap to fix thanks to the outstanding popularity it gained over the past 25 years. Some used and even new models are sold at a lower price than the Fit even if the vehicle is slightly bigger, making it one of the most interesting options for those who spend more time on the road.