What Kind of Car Is Best For College Students?

What Kind of Car Is Best For College Students?
  • Opening Intro -

    For most students, living to a budget is simply part of life.

    However, what happens if you need a car to get to class and you have a tight budget?

    In this useful guide, we will help you find the kind of car best for college students.

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We all know that college can be expensive. Tuition fees, rent, bills, and books eat into your funds, leaving you with very little money. For most students, living to a budget is simply part of life.

However, what happens if you need a car to get to class and you have a tight budget? In this useful guide, we will help you find the kind of car best for college students.

Should I Buy a Used or New Car?

It’s very tempting to buy a new car and, while some smaller models are cheap, used cars offer better value. Although the value of a car depreciates quickly after a couple of years, modern vehicles are very reliable. It makes sense to look for a car with a few miles on the clock, with the added bonus that insurance costs are lower for older vehicles.

Of course, there is a downside. Unless you are mechanically minded, how can you be sure that a used vehicle is in good condition? This is even more important with private sales.

Should I use a Car Dealer or a Private Seller?

Generally, used cars are cheaper from private sellers, and you can find some real bargains. However, you take a risk on the condition of the car so, unless you know a mechanically minded person who will check before you buy, you could end up with an expensive money pit.

With a dealer, you can easily check their reputation, and you will have some legal protection if things go wrong. Some dealers offer a ‘certified pre-owned’ vehicle, which costs a little more but gives you additional peace of
mind. An extra bonus is that you will be able to access financing.

What Size of Car is Best for College Students?

We are used to the idea of college students zipping around town in a small car, which is cheap to run and easy to park. However, small cars are not always the best option. They may be less safe than larger vehicles, as noted by
the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You also need to think practically: if you play a sport and need to transport your gear, or you regularly take your roommates to class, you will probably need a larger car.

That said, don’t be put off of a small car if it’s all that you can afford; just make sure that you find a model with a very good safety rating. To benefit from features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), you may need to buy a newer vehicle. Although, you could also benefit from lower insurance payments and better fuel economy. Sites like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) help you check car safety ratings.

Running Costs: Fuel Consumption and Insurance

On a college student budget, you need to consider fuel economy, especially for a long commute. Small cars do tend to be more efficient, but medium vehicles are becoming almost as good. Mileage figures for vehicles are
available online, but remember that they will always be a little lower in real world conditions. Fuel economy declines over time, so for older cars, look for one with a full maintenance record.

Insurance costs can rise steeply if you buy a more powerful car or live in a rougher neighborhood so, before buying, shop around for a few quotes.

Summary

The main tips for buying the right car for college students are:

  • Used: A used car with dealer includes guarantees, and a good service history can be
    great value.
  • Size: Medium cars can be almost as cheap to run as smaller cars.
  • Safety: Check the safety rating for any car and look for high-tech safety features.
  • Fuel Consumption: Remember that manufacturers’ ratings are optimistic, and that older cars have poorer fuel economy.

We hope that this article has given you a few useful pointers for looking at what kind of car is best for college students. If you have a friend or a child about to go to college and needing a car, why not share this article. It might just save them a few bucks and help them stretch their budget!

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