Kelley Blue Book releases list for top five new and used cars for students

Kelley Blue Book has just released their recommendations for the best cars for students going back to school. The recommendations consist of two lists, the first being the top-five best new cars and the second, the best five used cars for students.

“Each year we have more great choices to consider for our top back-to-school rides list, because auto manufacturers continue to outdo themselves with the features and amenities they offer on vehicles that are optimal for students,” said Jack R. Nerad, KBB’s executive editorial director and market analyst. “With so many vehicle choices, the key to shopping smart is finding a set of wheels that pleases both parent and child, which is no small task. The good news is the recently redesigned provides a host of tools to help find the best car and get the best deal possible.”

The vehicles chosen had to meet a certain criteria: safety, affordability, versatility, reliability, cost of ownership and fuel economy and of course, aesthetic and driving fun factor. All the cars had to be available for less than $18,000 using KBB’s own pricing guide.

Beginning with the top-five new vehicles list, checking in at number five is the all-new Chevrolet Cruze and was chosen for its well-appointed and quiet cabin, its spaciousness for five inside and large trunk for all of the students’ everyday needs. Next is the Fiat 500 for its affordability, comfort, appealing looks and frugal fuel economy. The Ford Focus takes third for its cool looks, modern and well-assembled insides, hint of sportiness and advanced audio and infotainment systems. Second is taken by the Honda Fit for its nimble handling and overall package of efficiency, fun and practicality. And last but not least, the Hyundai Accent takes first for its sense of value, high standard equipment list and roomy insides.

The top-five used cars list is started off with the 2007 Nissan Sentra in fifth for seating for five, spacious cargo room and CVT automatic transmission, which translates into good fuel economy. The 2007 Ford F150 comes in at forth, which KBB says is good for those who think bigger-is-better for safety. For its sheer size and five-star NHTSA front crash rating, attractive aesthetics and practical abilities, the F150 is a solid choice. And to add a little bit of our recommendation, there are always diesel versions to tackle the concern for fuel economy.

Third is a confusing one for us, but KBB recommends the 2007 Kia Sedona minivan. KBB themselves know that students don’t like pure minivans, but for its practicality, high safety rating, the Sedona’s space definitely helps students with their hauling of gear, friends, and the occasional “parking” scenario.

Second is taken by the 2008 Chevrolet HHR for its retro looks and lastly, the 2007 Suzuki SX4 is pegged for the number one recommended used car for students. It was chosen because it’s the least-expensive all-wheel drive car on the market and it comes with Suzuki’s no-deductible 100,000-mile seven-year powertrain warranty that’s also fully transferable.

Top Five New Vehicles for Back-to-School 2011:

5.  2011 Chevrolet Cruze

Want to impress your friends?  The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is nice enough inside that they might think you’re borrowing your more sophisticated older brother’s car.  In addition to a well-appointed and quiet cabin, the Cruzecan comfortably seat five and has a large trunk for books and gear…

4.  2011 Fiat 500

The 2011 Fiat 500 also appeared on this year’s list of the 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000, where it finished at the head of class. Affordable, adorable and easy on the gas, the retro-inspired Fiat 500 is a smart – and surprisingly comfortable – little commuter car.

3.  2012 Ford Focus

The 2012 Ford Focus is the kind of car young drivers love: It looks cool on the outside, modern on the inside, handles with more than a hint of sportiness and offers advanced audio and information technology…

2.  2011 Honda Fit

Playful and nimble in both its look and road manners, the 2011 Honda Fit is a wicked-smart choice for either the college-bound undergrad or his empty-nesting parents (or both)…

1.  2012 Hyundai Accent

Like its bigger brothers the Sonata and Elantra, the 2012 Hyundai Accent appeals to a finely-tuned sense of value, putting a lot of equipment into a stylish, roomy package that competes more than favorably with competitors like the Ford Fiesta, Mazda Mazda2 and Honda Fit…

Top Five Used Vehicles for Back-to-School 2011:

5.  2007 Nissan Sentra

For the practical-minded pupils that just need a way to get around town, we recommend the compact, four-door 2007 Nissan Sentra.  With seating for five friends, plenty of cargo room and a shift-less CVT transmission that helps it achieve up to 33 mpg on the highway…

4.  2007 Ford F-150

Ask any student who has tussled with a member of the football team. Mass counts. For parents who subscribe to a bigger-is-better safety philosophy, we present the 2007 Ford F-150. Beyond sheer size, the F-150 boasts five-star NHTSA front crash ratings, beefy good looks and all the practical hauling and towing abilities afforded by a proper pickup truck.

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.  You mean like the looks?  No.  The Sedona is still pure minivan, inside and out.  But think about it: Students are made out of “stuff I gotta haul” and “friends I gotta haul around…”

2.  2008 Chevrolet HHR

Fond of sporting yesteryear’s fashions ironically?  Prove that you’re not messing around by picking up some 1949-era sheet metal design in the form of the 21st-century 2008 Chevy HHR…

1.  2007 Suzuki SX4

The 2007 Suzuki SX4 is 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.  Plus Suzuki allows for its no-deductible, 100,000-mile, seven-year powertrain warranty to be transferred to subsequent owners…

– By: Chris Chin

Chris Chin

Chris Chin is the Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech and is a regular contributor to Automobile Magazine.

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