After years of late nights in the library and the local pizza shop, a new set of graduates is finally ready to enter the “real world.” Now, they just need the right car to get them there. Against the backdrop of rising car prices and looming student loan debt, the editors at Autotrader have identified the 10 Best Cars for Recent College Graduates in 2019 – options that are affordable and appealing.
“Entering the next phase of their lives, many college graduates are looking for a vehicle that is reliable, safe and fun to drive,” said Tara Trompeter, managing editor of Autotrader. “Whether commuting to work or picking up a date, finding the perfect vehicle at the right price can be a challenge for these young adults. All of the vehicles selected provide an entry-level car that will have recent graduates riding in style as they begin their new journey.”
10 Best Cars for Recent College Graduates in 2019
2012-2017 Jeep Wrangler
Making its way on the market well before these graduates were in middle school, the Jeep Wrangler JK generation is perfect for young adults who want to do some off-roading and like the classic utilitarian look. The vehicle received an update in 2012 to feature a more powerful V6 engine, automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive.
2014-2019 Kia Soul
While the Kia Soul is all-new for 2020 and might be a bit out of price range, the outgoing second-generation model is affordable, spacious and reliable when it comes to safety and style.
2015-2019 Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang began its current generation in 2015 with big improvements on the interior design and quality. Available as a coupe or convertible with automatic or manual transmission, the Ford Mustang is a great way for a college graduate to enjoy a quick, sporty car before family life kicks in.
2015-2019 GMC Canyon
The GMC Canyon is a great option for college graduates who like the idea of a truck, but don’t want something that is too big and thirsty for gas. Beware: your friends might call you when it’s time to move out of their dorm after the festivities!
2015-2019 Honda Fit
Don’t be fooled by the Fit’s subcompact proportions! This vehicle has a huge reconfigurable interior with a back seat that is roomier than several cars that are a size bigger.
2016-2019 Chevrolet Volt
With an impressive all-electric range of 53 miles and a modern interior, the Chevy Volt is a fantastic plug-in hybrid that is perfect for environmentally conscious drivers or anyone trying to save on fuel costs.
2016-2019 Hyundai Tucson
Featuring a roomy, quiet interior and high reliability ratings, the Hyundai Tucson is the best bang for your buck in a used compact SUV.
2016-2019 Toyota Prius
While the Toyota Prius might not be the coolest looking vehicle to impress your date, it is simply one of the most practical a recent grad can buy. Equipped with safety features, decent sized cargo area and affordability, the Toyota Prius is a great option.
2017-2019 Mazda CX-5
As a class leader, the Mazda CX-5 will make drivers feel like they’re in a much more expensive vehicle from the smooth ride, sharp handling and roomy, comfortable seats.
2018-2019 Subaru Crosstrek
Offering a light off-roader with better road manners, the Subaru Crosstrek comes with symmetrical all-wheel drive, spacious back seats and good gas mileage. This car is perfect if you want to go camping with a couple of friends and not worry about how much you’ll have to spend at the pump. *