Car shopping for your kid that’s heading back to school? Here are some affordable cars that both parents and kids can agree on.
Kelley Blue Book (KBB) has released its list of the 10 best back-to-school cars of 2017 by gathering a list of vehicles with a Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price of less than $20,000. From there, KBB debated and researched, narrowing it down to 10 affordable but appealing entries.
10. Chevrolet Trax
The compact Chevrolet Trax crossover features a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower while returning 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The Trax was updated for the 2017 model year, getting a redesigned front end, upgraded interior, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
9. Toyota Corolla
Toyota‘s popular and affordable Corolla gets a nod from KBB for being comfortable, roomy, and “relentlessly reliable.” Sporting a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 132 hp, the Corolla gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Like other Toyota models, the Corolla packs plenty of high-tech safety features like adaptive cruise control and automatic collision braking.
8. Mazda CX-3
KBB argues the Mazda CX-3 is the best looking and most fun-to-drive model in the subcompact SUV segment, and it may have a point. Sporting a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood with 146 hp, the Mazda CX-3 returns 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.
7. Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza was totally redesigned for the 2017 model year and if you’re looking for all-wheel drive, there’s nothing more affordable. KBB also notes the Impreza’s strong resale value and proven reliability that makes it an especially compelling option for students subject to snowy days. The model comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 148 hp, getting an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
6. Nissan Versa Note
The compact Nissan Versa Note is surprisingly roomy thanks to its hatchback design. It’s also the cheapest car on the list before you start adding some of the appealing options Nissan offers. Parents might be happy to hear the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine generates 109 hp, while returning 31 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
The Mazda3 is also a regular entry on KBB’s annual list of the 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000. Like the CX-3, KBB has the Mazda3 as the most fun-to-drive car under $20,000 thanks to its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 155 hp. It also gets a respectable 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.
4. Honda HR-V
The latest addition to Honda‘s crossover and SUV lineup is the compact HR-V, which has quickly established itself as the benchmark in the growing segment. Under the hood is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 141 hp, which returns 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.
3. Honda Civic
Named AutoGuide.com‘s 2016 Car of the Year, the Honda Civic receives plenty of accolades from KBB as well, including Compact Car Best Buy for 2017 and Overall Best Buy for 2017. So not only is a good first new car for a student, it’s good for just about anyone else. The Civic is available in several trims, but the entry-level model features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 158 hp while returning 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.
2. Kia Soul
The Kia Soul is one of the few “boxy” cars remaining in the market, now that the Scion xB and Nissan Cube has been discontinued. But that doesn’t stop it from being a respectable entry in the compact car segment, with plenty of features. The Kia Soul is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 130 hp and gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
1. Honda Fit
Topping KBB’s best back-to-school cars list is the 2017 Honda Fit. KBB says it’s “the well-rounded varsity team captain of this annual list,” with proven value, famous reliability, and five-star safety. It’s also got style and it’s fun to drive while offering class-leading cargo room. Powering the Fit is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 130 hp, which returns 33 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. It’s worth noting although KBB picked the 2017 Honda Fit as its best back-to-school car, the updated and refreshed 2018 model year is the only one sitting at dealerships now.
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