Whether you're about to head off for your freshman year at college or you're about to start your final semester of senior year, you are probably going to need a car. Depending on where you are going to college you might need different types of cars to fit your needs. You also need a car that fits your preferences like speed, appearance, offroad capability, or a myriad of other things. A car isn't just for getting you from point A to point B, it should be something you take pride in and enjoy driving. This car also has to fit your price range. Sure you could buy a Mercedes-Benz 4x4 and that would suit most of your needs but most college students don't have that money. This is a suggestion for all students at many different price points from barely getting by to too much money for a teenager. So here are my picks for the best cars and trucks for college.
Ford Mustang EcoBoost or V6: $25,185 - $27,390
What is more classic than a Mustang? While most people think of the Mustang as a loud and proud muscle car, it is actually quite practical. The EcoBoost gets a fantastic 21 city mpg and 30 highway mpg so you won't have to constantly worry about gas. You can easily drive around the city and you'll get great milage when you have to drive home. The interior of the 15-17 mustang is actually surprisingly good. You can get the EcoBoost with a large display and leather seats so you can ride in comfort. On the 2017 you can even get Apple CarPlay which if you haven't used it before is actually very intuitive and looks beautiful. The Mustang might not be the best car to carry around you friends, but it has plenty of room for luggage. The trunk is pretty large for a sports car and you can always throw the overflow in the back seats. The car looks good and is really fun to drive. If you don't want the more economic EcoBoost you can also go for the V6. You might loose some of the comfort and interior features but it'll sound great and cost a little less. You will still get a decent 18 city and 27 highway mpg. On both cars you won't have to worry about repairs because they are very reliable and the cost of maintenance is relatively minimal.
Mazda 3: starting at $17,845
If you're like me you didn't like the look of the last generation Mazda 3. With the most recent generation Mazda hit it out of the park. The styling is outstanding inside and out. This could be the best looking car for the price. The interior is fully of technology and looks great. The materials are soft and feel as if they are supposed to be on a car that costs much more. The display is easy to use and is full of all of the options a driver might need. The car even has a heads up display that usually isn't found on a car for a similar price. It gets up to 28 city mpg and 37 mpg which is incredible. Four people can comfortably fit in the car and if you have to you can squeeze a fifth passenger in the back seat. The most important feature to me that puts this car on my list is the optional manual transmission. If you want a comfortable and economic car that you can still have a little fun in, this is the car for you.
Ford F150: starting at $27,110
Now I'll admit this is a little bit bias. I really like the F150. This is still a really great truck for a college student. The refreshed exterior styling is a home run. The front facia looks means while still maintaining a functional design. The interior will blow you away because it looks like the inside of a far more expensive luxury car. In some models you can even get massage seats! That is Mercedes S-Class stuff. The Ford SYNC system is good as always. Nothing special but it does the job and works well. Of course the storage space is plentiful because.... well... its a truck with a bed. When it comes to moving in to college you usually have to cram everything into multiple cars and travel hundreds of miles to college. Not with the F150. If you're worried about safety you can even throw on a locking bed cover. If you're going to college somewhere in the south it is pretty much mandatory to have a lifted truck and this is the truck for you. If you go to college anywhere with snow or ice the 4-wheel drive system will keep you safe all through the winter.
Audi A3: Starting at $31,200
This is easily my favorite on the list. I like it so much that I'm buying one. The exterior is simply beautiful. The LED running lights give the signature Audi look while making the car look sporty. The interior is the best on the list so far. If you pay a little more for the digital cockpit you will have two very clear screens to use while you drive. Speaking of the screens the center display rises out of the dash! Come on, you have to admit thats cool. The technology is amazing and the entertainment system is near perfect, especially with the Apple CarPlay. The interior quality is German. If you didn't know German is a byword for impeccable quality. While the car is small it has plenty of space. I'm not huge but at 5'10" I can easily fit in the backseat. The trunk is also extremely large so you have plenty of room for the drive to college. Similarly to the F150, the A3's AWD system will also keep you safe in snowy or bad weather. Because of it's size the car feels sporty as you blast around corners while still looking dignified. Another positive of the size is the ability to park and tight spaces. College dorms and parking lots are usually almost full at any moment so it is nice to be able to fit into any space that may become available.
Volkswagen Golf: starting at $19,895
Ah the Volkswagen Golf. Odds are if you're on this site you know how great the Golf is. Its stylish, has good tech, and is very fun to drive. The exterior looks even better every generation. This current model looks sleek and sports. The interior looks like they borrowed some design features from this brother at Audi. The display clear and easy to use and the gauges looks modern. The car has plenty of storage space being a hatch so moving all of that luggage to and from school will be a breeze. As well as functional the Golf is also sporty. It is a blast to drive especially with a manual transmission. Since this car is for a college student there is no reason to complain about sitting in traffic with the stick. The car is very reliable as it come from Volkswagen (why don't we forget about that whole scandal thing). If you want a practical car that is also pretty fun, its time you buy a Golf.