It’s back-to-school time, and while most teenagers will likely stamp around the house upon hearing the word, their temperament is likely to be tamed when Mom and Dad hand them the keys to a brand new car.
Well, maybe not brand new. Many families opt to purchase used cars for their children when the time comes, as they are less expensive than newer models and will likely only be driven for a few years at most. However, that doesn’t mean the car doesn’t have to be nice, and parents should carefully consider a student’s needs when it comes time to choose.
Kelley Blue Book, the company that sets most used car values, recently revealed their picks for back-to-school cars. While some of the picks were new, half of them were older models that parents can likely easily find at their local used car dealer or auto auction. Here’s a few that made the grade.
Coming in at number 8 was the used Ford Crown Victoria from 2006. While Kelley acknowledges that the Crown Vic isn’t the first car that comes to mind when one thinks of the youth demographic, it defends the decision, citing the Crown Vic’s utility (it is the top choice of cab drivers and police officers) and roomy interior compared to many budget compact cars. Safety, another big concern for parents, generally improves with larger cars, and the Crown Vic’s long wheelbase and wide body offer that in spades.
In the fourth spot was the 2008 Pontiac Vibe. Kelley recommended this hatchback for students involved in lots of extracurricular activities, as the extra trunk space allows students to transport sports equipment and band instruments. It also helps for students that it looks sleek and stylish. Parents should be aware that the Vibe was co-developed by Toyota and GM, and drivers will find almost the exact same features on a used Toyota Matrix.
But the top spot was reserved for a perennial best seller, a used Honda Civic from 2006. Kelley called the model “the smartest car purchase you can make,” reasoning that the Civic has everything a student wants – affordability, reliability, space for cargo and books, stylish while also being extremely easy to sell once the kid heads off to college (yet it’ll still be around to hand down to younger siblings).