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Best Car for Students: A Beater

Posted By Jim On 09/23/2009 @ 12:03 pm In Cars | 29 Comments

When I read this latest Bankrate article on the best car to buy for students [3], I was a little surprised at the very first criteria – less than $20,000. I’m twenty nine, nearly six years after graduation, and have yet to own a car that is even close to $20,000! My current car is a used Toyota Celica I bought off eBay for $16,000, 20% less than the $20,000.

Anyway, so what’s my point? Most students don’t need and won’t appreciate a new car whiel they’re in college. They certainly won’t appreciate a car that they didn’t pay for. While I appreciate Bankrate’s efforts in publishing a list of cars that are sub-$20k, fuel efficient (> 21 mpg), safe and comfortable (has A/C)… I think a student needs to drive a beater. A clunker. A piece of junk they can beat the crap out of, hence the term beater. As my dad used to say, if you start life with all the nice stuff, you never learn to appreciate it.

In all fairness, they did start the article off by saying you could go the clunker route or the more sustainable one and that this article was for the sustainable route – “The clunker will accept four years of hard use and neglect without serious harm. The new car likely will see your student through college and, it is hoped, beyond.”

  • Dodge Caliber SXT
  • Honda Fit
  • Hyundai Sonata GLS
  • Mazda3 i Sport
  • Mini Cooper
  • Mitsubishi Lancer ES
  • Nissan Sentra 2.0 S

My list?

  • Anything older than 10 years and cheaper than your mortgage payment.

What do you think?

(Photo: wickenden [4])


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[3] best car to buy for students: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/auto/7-best-off-to-college-cars-1.aspx?pid=p:brg

[4] wickenden: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wickenden/3693742013/sizes/m/

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