5 of the best compact cars for college students

The children are back to school. If your child is in college, he or she may need a new set of wheels. After all, driving between the dorms and the store late at night is much easier with a new car. If you don’t want to loan your car, here are five of the best compact cars for college students.

1. 2023 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Hyundai Ioniq 2023 | Hyundai

Do you think we’ll add the Toyota Prius to our list of the best compact cars? Make no mistake, there’s nothing bad about a Prius, but the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq is a great alternative. If your college student has to commute between home and school, the Ioniq will allow them to travel further between fill-ups.

The Hyundai IONIQ is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 32 kWh electric motor. The setup produces 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough for long commutes. But best of all, the Ioniq can average up to 58 mpg in combined driving situations.

The Ioniq isn’t the most fun car to drive, given its low power rating, but it’s safe. Some notable safety features include forward collision warning, driver attention monitoring, and lane keep assist to keep your child on the road.

2. Honda Civic Sport 2023

A 2023 Honda Civic sedan in silver is parked in the mountains
Honda Civic 2023 | Honda

The Honda Civic is a staple of the compact sedan segment, and for 2023, the Civic is fully grown. Not only does it have sophisticated design inside and out, it also has a fuel-efficient engine and a host of safety features.

We recommend the Civic Sport trim level because it costs about $25,000 and comes with plenty of standard features a college kid would love. Some of them include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, a 7-inch infotainment system, and a smart auto locking system.

The Honda Sensing suite of safety features is also included. Some include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and traffic sign recognition so your child knows exactly the speed limit.

3. 2023 Subaru Crosstrek

2023 Subaru Crosstrek driving in the snow
Subaru Crosstrek 2023 | Subaru

If your college kid likes to get away on the weekends and get off the beaten track, the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek is a great choice. It has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive, and a 20-cubic-foot hatchback format.

It’s also fairly fuel efficient at 33 mpg highway and is decently powerful with its standard 152-hp engine. However, a more powerful 182 hp engine is also available.

4. Nissan Versa 2023

Front view of a 2023 Nissan Versa parked in a city apartment building
Nissan Versa 2023 | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Nissan Versa is considered one of the cheapest cars on this list, as its price starts at about 15 thousand dollars. But that’s not why we included it. We recently drove the 2023 Versa and were impressed with its robust feature set and comfortable interior.

We recommend paying around $20,000 for a high-end Versa SR, which comes with everything your college student needs. Some of the features include a 122-horsepower engine, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, heated seats, automatic climate control, and a host of safety features.

5. 2023 Kia Soul

Rear view of the 2023 Kia Soul
2023 Be a Spirit | Come here

The Kia Soul has been around for over a decade, and it’s easy to see why. Soul’s quirky design and effectiveness have served audiences well over the years and work best for college students. The Kia Soul offers a fuel-efficient engine and a spacious, boxy cabin with ample room for passengers and their belongings. There are also plenty of tech features, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The best compact cars for college kids offer plenty of safety and efficiency

Although plenty of cheap cars on the market would serve any college kid well, these five offer the best. The eclectic cars on this list offer plenty of practicality without breaking the bank. Of course, if you’re willing to spend a little more, you can buy a Toyota Prius for the child.

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