Last updated on November 12, 2019 at 11:23 am
It’s graduation season for students across the country. If you’re a newly minted grad with a brand new job, or are congratulating someone in your family on a job well done — a car can be a great (and super useful) gift.
Yes, it’s a big gift, but this is a major life event! You’ll want to make sure the car is safe, but also a little fun. We did the leg work for you to bring you a list of 17 of the coolest, safest and most budget friendly cars for college grads and young professionals.
To be clear: this isn’t some willy nilly list of cars we like. We didn’t even really pick these cars. This list was whittled down by several factors.
- First, we deferred to the experts. We combined the lists for the U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Cars for the Money and the 2018 Car and Driver Editor’s Choice Awards (this is what they do after all).
- Then, we limited that list to only cars that received a 5-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (you want to make sure you’re safe in your new ride).
- Finally, we limited the list again to cars that have MSRPs starting under $25,000 (we’re all on a budget, right?).
Here’s how all that sorting and searching ended up in a list of budget friendly cars for college grads (this list is simply sorted by starting MSRP, low to high):
- Chevy Sonic – $15,295
- Toyota Yaris iA – $15,950
- Honda Fit – $16,190
- Kia Soul – $16,200
- Mazda 3 – $18,095
- Honda Civic – $18,840
- Hyundai Sonata – $19,300
- Honda HR-V – $19,670
- Mazda CX-3 – $20,110
- VW Golf – $20,910
- Hyundai Tucson – $21,050
- Chevy Malibu – $21,680
- Subaru Crosstrek – $21,795
- Mazda 6 – $21,795
- Toyota Camry – $23,495
- Honda Accord – $23,750
- Honda CR-V – $24,150
These are base model starting prices. Options can be really freakin’ cool, but will run you a little extra dough. And, you’ll need to make a decision about whether you want to lease or buy your new car. There’s no one answer for everyone – it’s going to come down to what makes sense for you.
If you do buy that new car, make sure it’s well-protected, too.