As summer ends and another semester opens, it’s time to consider your mpg as well as your gpa. To help with the task, we’ve assembled 10 back-to-school cars that earn high grades in style, safety, fuel economy, versatility and, of course, value: Each of our recommendations starts below $20,000 — with a couple at less than $15,000.
2014 FIAT 500L
Fiat’s 500 is undeniably cute, but even teenagers can have difficulty squeezing into its tiny rear seat. That isn’t an issue in the larger 2014 Fiat 500L, a new 5-passenger hatchback that packs a stunning amount of space into a tidy package. Throw in Euro charm and easy road manners, and it may be the parents who are begging to drive.
2013 Toyota Prius c
With an industry-leading 53 mpg in the city, a starting price below $20,000, upstanding residual values and the reassurance of Toyota’s reputation for reliability under its belt, the Toyota Prius is a smart choice for students looking to offset their ever-climbing educational costs.
Your hard-earned $20,000 buys a lot of car these days. Case in point, the stylish 2013 Kia Sportage offers up real SUV versatility, a bounty of standard features and a lengthy warranty at a very student-friendly price. That it’s recognized as a 2013 IIHS Top Safety Pick doesn’t hurt, either.
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