The Jock: Ford F-150
AOL Autos Best Deal: $26,076
MPG: 17 City/23 Highway
Its flatbed is big enough to haul that futon and bookshelf, not to mention the shoulder pads. This bulky pick-up has solid NHTSA crash rating (largely "good" in every category) scores. It has big-man-on-campus written all over it.
The Thrifty Engineer: 2002 Volvo V70 XC
MPG: 21 City/28 Highway
When sending your kid out of the nest and onto the next phase of life, why not choose the brand that's synonymous with safety? This car with an SUV-like trim has 4-wheel disc brakes, anti-lock brakes, an anti-theft system and front, front side, and rear side airbags, the car has a great protection so your little genius can worry more about acing that next physics test. There's currently a model selling for $9,990 on AOL Autos. A little Scandanavian drive-train can go a long way. Have your kid do the math.
The American Scholar: 2012 Chevy Cruze
AOL Autos Best Deal: $21,695
MPG: 25 City/36 Highway
With a small-displacement four-cylinder--either the 140 hp 1.4-L turbo, or a 138-hp naturally aspirated 1.8-L. With ten airbags, and low-key but attractive lines, this car is a safety gem that's not dorky. It's also pure American, built in Lordstown, Ohio.
The Art Student: Fiat 500
MPG: 30 City/ 38 Highway
Send your kid to school to learn how to drive a clutch, and you'll nab a bargain. This cutesy two-door subcompact has been turning heads with its Italian flare. Though smallish, the backseat can accommodate friends, and ample trunk space allows for a few suitcases. With seven airbags, active front head restraints, and electronic stability and traction control, this car is a big step from the days of "Fix It Again Tony." This peppy ragazza is for the stylish undergraduate on a budget with a taste for aesthetics.
The Crunchy Liberal Arts Student: 2011 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport
MPG: 20 City/27 Highway
Pricing at about $10,000 below the more widely recognized Outback, it's a more rugged version of the Impreza. With room for five passengers, it's great for off-campus jaunts with the pals. With a 170 hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, this offers sportiness and great trunk space, and a hip outdoorsy vibe for the more liberal arts rural schools. Talk about practical philosophy. Going to university in the cold of New England or the Great Lakes? Impreza comes with all-wheel-dr
The Student Athlete: 2012 Mazda 3
MPG: 25 City/33Highway
The sporty S model of this sub-compact has a 167-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder is sexy and smart. Equipped with six airbags, stability and traction control, active front head restraints and bi-xenon adaptive headlights, it is sensible in the eyes of Mom and Dad, while being hip enough for the student. The sleek spoiler and smiley front grill make this a win for a safe and speedy new start.