Best Used Cars for College Students

Best Used Cars for College Students

College students have a lot going on in their lives, so it's important that they have a reliable used car that won't break the bank and get them safely to wherever they need to go.

There are many dependable, cheap used cars in the area. To help you find the one with the performance and features for your life on campus, Val-U-Line® is here with your guide to the five best used cars for college students.

Drum roll, please. Our top picks for the best used cars for college students are:

  • Honda Civic
  • Toyota Prius
  • Ford Escape
  • Mazda3
  • Ford Mustang


Quick Facts

Honda Civic

· EPA-estimated 32 city/38 highway MPG

· 115 horsepower

· 90.9 cubic feet of passenger volume

· 42.2 inches of front legroom

Toyota Prius

· EPA-estimated 51 city/48 highway MPG

· 134 net horsepower

· 38.3 inches of front headroom

· 42.5 inches of front legroom

Ford Escape

· Available Intelligent 4WD System

· 67.2 cubic feet of trunk volume behind the front row

· Maximum towing capacity of 1,500 to 3,500 pounds


· EPA-estimated 24 city/32 highway MPG

· 148 horsepower

· 43.8 cubic feet of cargo space with 5-Door configuration

Ford Mustang

· 210 horsepower with V6 engine

· 0 to 60 MPH in 6.5 seconds

· 38.6 inches of front headroom

· 42.7 inches of front legroom

Honda Civic White

Used Honda Civic: Stylish & Dependable

The Civic has always been one of the most prominent cars in the Honda lineup. However, its reputation for dependability and style has also made it one of the most popular options for college students and any driver that's searching for a great used car.

A used Honda Civic delivers a performance that's full of power while maintaining efficiency. It gets around 115 horsepower or more depending on the engine under the hood. Plus, that power can be paired with a variety of features that help the Civic get about an EPA-estimated 32 city/38 highway MPG when properly equipped. Some model years are also available as a hybrid for students looking to save a little more at the pump.

In terms of features, a used Honda Civic offers many entertainment options, like advanced radio and audio systems. It can also come with reliable safety features that promote peace of mind and protection when you're behind the wheel.

Plus, it offers a spacious interior to ensure comfort for even the tallest students. A pre-owned Civic can have more than 90 cubic feet of passenger volume on top of 42.2 inches of front-row legroom. If you're looking to move some small items into your dorm throughout the semester, pop open the trunk for over 12 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Browse our inventory of used Honda Civic models here!

Used Toyota Prius

If you need something that's even more efficient, the Toyota Prius may be for you. Equipped with an innovative hybrid powertrain, this vehicle has no problem providing impressive fuel economy. Plus, a used Prius comes with innovative systems under the hood for a smooth and seamless performance.

A pre-owned Prius generates 134 net horsepower and an EPA-estimated 51 city/48 highway MPG. So, you'll have the power you want to enjoy the ride and the efficiency you need to minimize your trips to the gas station. More impressively, the Prius can run solely on electric power to boost fuel economy. Plus, it can come with a regenerative braking system to keep the battery charged while enhancing the brake response.

On top of being an efficient and affordable used car, a used Toyota Prius is equipped with an array of features for entertainment so that you can enjoy your trips to and from campus a bit more. Furthermore, like all Toyota cars, a pre-owned Prius delivers a safe performance and comes with innovative safety technologies. This includes Intelligent Parking Assist, a cutting-edge feature that helps make parking easier and more convenient.

The hybrid is also known for its comfortably spacious interior. With 38.3 inches of headroom and 42.5 inches of legroom for the front seats, you're free to stretch out a bit more during your commutes around campus.

Above all, automotive experts, like J.D. Power, praised used Prius models throughout the years for their overall quality, performance, and dependability.

Browse our used Toyota Prius inventory right here!

Used Ford Escape

Used Ford Escape

Whether you're moving into your dorm or going on a spontaneous road trip with friends during spring break, you'll need a spacious and reliable car to get you there-and a used Ford Escape can be that car.

The Ford Escape has been on the market for years. Since its release, it has become one of the top used cars for college students and adults alike due to its consistently capable all-weather performance and selection of safety and interior features. From an Intelligent 4WD System that optimizes stability and control in adverse conditions to audio and navigation systems, the SUV comes with lots of technologies for a more enjoyable experience behind the wheel.

Any used Ford Escape can deliver a comfortable ride, too. Its spacious interior can seat up to five passengers without making anyone feel cramped. The SUV also has ample cargo space. With a maximum of 67.2 cubic feet of trunk volume behind the first row of seats, you can store all your bags, camping gear, and dorm supplies inside with ease.

If you need to travel with bigger, heavier cargo, a pre-owned Escape has you covered. Used Escape SUVs can tow up to 1,500 pounds to 3,500 pounds based on what's under the hood. So, whether it's a trailer for move-in day or an ATV for your next off-road adventure, you can count on this used SUV to help you bring along whatever you need.

Browse our used Ford Escape inventory right here!

Used Mazda3

When the Mazda3 first hit the streets, it was one of the top-rated compact cars on the market. Thanks to its sleek style, acute handling, and luxurious interior touches, its appeal has stayed strong throughout the years.

The Mazda3 gives you the option of either a streamlined sedan or a spacious hatchback. The sedan is great for the commuting college student. It's aerodynamic and fuel-efficient, so you can get to school, work, and back home in a snap. The weekend warriors will love the boosted 43.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the 5-Door hatchback.

If you're taking a road trip with friends, everyone will want to take your Mazda3. They can sit back in the available leather-trimmed seats, and you can slide open the moonroof to let in the light and feel the wind in your hair. Jam out to your favorite tunes with the Bose® 7-speaker sound system.

The Mazda3 also boasts safety features that will give your parents more peace of mind when you hit the road. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist help bring you to a safe and secure halt, while Dynamic Stability Control helps keep you on the right path.

Browse our used Mazda3 inventory right here!

Used Ford Mustang

Pre-Owned Ford Mustang

The best used cars for college students are usually sensible and meet the ever-changing needs of college life, but let's face it: If you're looking to be the coolest kid on campus, you need a used car that'll make you stand out from the crowd. That's where the legendary, all-American Ford Mustang comes in.

The Ford Mustang has the ideal blend of value and fun. If you're looking for a cheap used sports car, it may be right up your alley. Its base engine is a 210-horsepower V6, but there are some pre-owned models equipped with the unrivaled V8. It pumps out about 300 horsepower.

A performance machine like the Mustang is sure to turn a lot of heads. Its racecar-inspired profile will help make sure you keep everyone's attention. The fastback rake, distinctive tail, and hood scoop are for more than just good looks. They help optimize the performance of this speedster, so you can make the most of every ride.

Your friends are sure to ask for a ride in this exhilarating used car. Luckily, there's room to seat three of them. They can sit back in the leather-trimmed seats and hold on tight. You can all rock out with the available Shaker 1000 Audio System. It comes with 10 speakers on some models.

Browse our used Ford Mustang inventory right here!

Find One of the Best Used Cars for College Students Today

If you're a college student and searching for the best, cheap, and reliable used car for your lifestyle, be sure to check out these top options. Thanks to their dependable performance and reliability, they can help you get to and from campus-and from freshman orientation to graduation. We're here to help you find the best car for you while you're in college.

To learn more about these and other affordable used cars for college students, contact Val-U-Line® today.

More Car Buying Resources for College Students

Section 1: Car in College: Pros and Cons

Section 2: How to Afford a Car in College

Section 3: Securing a Car Loan as a College Student

Section 4: Tips for First Time Car Buyers

Section 5: College Student Guide to Buying a Car