Best Cars For Kids Headed Back To School
August is officially in full swing, meaning fall is around the corner and the kids will soon be headed back to school. If you have a teen or twenty-something in your life that is in need of a new ride for high school or college, the cars included in this list are all excellent options.
Teens have different needs when it comes to cars. They're by far the most dangerous age group on the road, so they should have the latest safety features and technology and should not have engines that are too powerful.
KBB has put together a great list of vehicles that, in addition to being among the safest on the road, are all also fuel efficient, versatile and a great value with low starting sticker prices. Head on through to see what KBB recommends.
10. Subaru Impreza
Sticker Price: $17,895 - $23,195
Invoice Price: $17,104 - $21,978
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
The Subaru Impreza is a great choice for teens because it comes with standard all-wheel drive and loads of safety features. The Impreza is available either as a sedan or hatchback with seating for five. The Impreza 2.0i is equipped with a 148-hp 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission or an optional CVT transmission with six manually selectable programmed ratios and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
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9. Volkswagen Golf
Sticker Price: $17,995 - $27,995
Invoice Price: $17,455 - $26,875
Fuel Economy: NA
The Volkswagen Golf is a fun-to-drive and versatile two- or four-door hatchback with a great interior. It's powered by either a 170-hp 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine, or a 150-hp 2.0-liter TDI clean-diesel engine. Buyers that go with the gas engine can choose between either a five-speed manual transmission or six-speed Tiptronic automatic; while TDI buyers select from either a six-speed manual transmission, or a six-speed DSG auto with Tiptronic. Features like heated seats, leather steering wheel and shift knob and touch-screen audio system with satellite radio are available.
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8. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Sticker Price: $19,470 - $23,995
Invoice Price: $18,648 - $22,982
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg City, 30 mpg Highway
The five-person Mitsubishi Outlander Sport offers space, mild driving dynamics and solid safety ratings -- all great attributes for a teen headed back to school. The Outlander Sport is available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations, in ES, and SE trims. The standard engine is a 148-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with either a 5-speed manual or a Sportronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Standard features on the Outlander Sport include seven airbags, vehicle stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and hill start assist.
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7. Chevrolet Sonic
Sticker Price: $14,170 - $21,610
Invoice Price: $13,816 - $20,530
Fuel Economy: 26 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway
The Chevrolet Sonic is a great small sedan or hatchback, with a quiet interior and good fuel economy. All models come standard with a 138-hp 1.8-liter engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. There are two available transmissions, a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. A 138-hp 1.4-liter engine is also available on the LT and LTZ trims, and standard on the RS trim. Standard and optional features depending on the trim level include front fog lights, power windows and heated front seats.
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6. Honda Civic
Sticker Price: $18,190 - $26,640
Invoice Price: $16,915 - $25,261
Fuel Economy: 28 mpg City, 36 mpg Highway
The perennial favorite Honda Civic is a great car for teens mainly because of its reliability and value. Available in sedan or coupe bodies, all but the Si and Natural Gas trims are powered by a 143 horsepower, 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder with a standard five-speed manual transmission and optional Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The performance-oriented Si comes with a 205 horsepower 2.4-liter inline-four bolted only to a six-speed manual, while the Natural Gas model is powered by a dedicated natural gas version of the 1.8-liter gas engine and the new CVT.
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5. Toyota Prius c
Sticker Price: $19,080 - $23,360
Invoice Price: $18,127 - $21,746
Fuel Economy: 53 mpg City, 46 mpg Highway
The Toyota Prius c is kind of a little brother to the standard Prius, offering superb fuel economy in a more compact package. The Prius c is available in four trim levels: Prius c One, Prius c Two, Prius c Three and Prius c Four. All trim levels employ Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, a hybrid powertrain technology that unites a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine with a powerful electric drive motor to generate 99 combined horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) with three selectable drive modes is standard. Standard safety technologies include anti-lock brakes with brake assist and vehicle stability/traction control systems, as well as nine airbags.
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Sticker Price: $16,945 - $26,495
Invoice Price: $16,474 - $25,345
Fuel Economy: 29 mpg City, 41 mpg Highway
The sharp and sporty Mazda3 employs excellent fuel economy and reliability ratings, making it a great choice as a back-to-school car. The Mazda3 is offered in four trim levels: SV (sedan only), Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. The two powertrain choices are a 2.0-liter 155-hp, direct injection, SKYACTIV four-cylinder engine, and a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Or a 2.5-liter 184-hp, direct injection, SKYACTIV four-cylinder engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission. Available features, depending on trim level, include 18-inch wheels, HD radio, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, blind spot monitoring system, an intelligent key system and a power moonroof.
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3. Nissan Versa Note
Sticker Price: $13,990 - $15,990
Invoice Price: $13,646 - $15,590
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg City, 36 mpg Highway
Great fuel economy and a surprising amount of interior space are two of the the Nissan Versa Note's best characteristics. The Versa Note is front-wheel drive and is powered by a 109-hp 1.6-liter four cylinder engine mated to either a five-speed manual or Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Safety comes from six standard airbags, front seat-belt pretensioners, engine immobilizer, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability and traction control. A rear view camera is available, as is a surround view monitor system, part of an SL Tech package.
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2. Kia Soul
Sticker Price: $14,900 - $20,500
Invoice Price: $14,595 - $19,521
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg City, 30 mpg Highway
The quirky and versatile Kia Soul is a great choice for teens due to its great fuel economy, safety features, low starting price and versatility. There are three variations of Soul's to choose from: Base Soul, Soul +, and Soul !. The Base front-wheel drive, five-passenger Soul is powered by a 130-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with power being delivered through a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission. All the other trims are powered by a 164-hp 2.0-liter four cylinder engine attached to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety features on all models include electronic stability control, traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, brake assist and six airbags.
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1. Honda Fit
Sticker Price: $15,525 - $19,800
Invoice Price: $15,120 - $19,262
Fuel Economy: 29 mpg City, 37 mpg Highway
The Honda Fit is arguably the best subcompact on the market right now due to its great driving dynamics, surprising amount of interior space, reliability and fuel economy. The Fit offers five-passenger seating and a unique second-row "Magic Seat" that either folds flat with the cargo floor, or flips up to carry tall items behind the first row of seats. The Fit is available in three trim levels: LX, EX and EX-L, all are powered by a 130-hp 1.5-liter i-VTEC direct injection four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive and the choice between a six-speed manual or CVT automatic (EX-L is CVT only).
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