10 Best Back-to-School Cars 2016

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10 Best Back-to-School Cars 2016

When it comes to the best cars for students, kids and their parents don’t always agree on what's ideal. Parents look for practical, affordable and safe cars, while students are more interested in something that's fun and good-looking. Fortunately, there are cars that can make both sides happy. Even better, all the cars on this list have a Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price starting under $20,000.

The second most affordable car of 2016 according to our 5-Year Cost to Own data, Chevy’s 4-door minicar has been redesigned for 2016 and now offers more refinement to go with the low price and user-friendly infotainment system. It’s also surprisingly accommodating for four people, or two people and their gear. Read More

The boldly styled, fun-to-drive Fiesta subcompact car gets even better for 2016 with the addition of Ford’s new and improved Sync 3 infotainment system. Pull down a 4.0 GPA or better and maybe you can talk your parents into the overachieving, high-performance Fiesta ST model, which landed a spot on this year’s list of 10 Coolest Cars Under $25,000. Read More

An all-new entry for 2016, parents will be happy to hear that Mazda’s new subcompact SUV is one of the 10 most affordable and 10 most fuel-efficient SUVs on the market. Their kids will be more impressed that the CX-3 also made our lists of 10 Favorite New Cars of 2016 and 10 Coolest Cars Under $25,000. Read More

Subaru’s compact car remains the least expensive car you can buy with all-wheel drive. Combined with a storied reputation for reliability and newly updated technologies, the Subaru Impreza is the car to beat when it comes to new cars for young drivers in snowy locales. But strong resale value helps make it a smart buy even in drier parts of the country. Read More

The Versa Note hatchback (not to be confused with the lesser Versa sedan) is among the subcompact segment’s roomiest, most flexible entries. It also offers Nissan’s Around View Monitor, which provides a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the car in parking situations and can be especially helpful for newer drivers. Other Versa Note tech options include hands-free texting, plus Bluetooth connectivity and one-touch Pandora internet radio capability. Read More

Quite possibly the most stylish and most fun-to-drive car in the segment, the latest Mazda3 is also a smart, well-rounded compact car. This year it again topped our list of 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000, marking its 13th appearance in a row.
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Honda’s newest, smallest SUV is the early leader in the burgeoning subcompact SUV segment. Mixing the roomiest, most flexible cabin in the group with all the goodness that accompanies the Honda badge, the HR-V is arguably the smartest choice in this increasingly popular segment. It’s also more stylish than its CR-V big brother, helping it win favor with the student set. Read More

Our Overall Best Buy for 2016 and tops on this year’s list of our favorite new cars, the boldly styled new Civic is among the roomiest, most comfortable, most fun to drive, most efficient, most feature-packed cars in the class. It’s also among the likeliest to make it through grad school, thanks to all the refinement, reliability and reputation that ride along with the Civic name and Honda badge. Read More

The Soul is a value-packed, practical hatchback wrapped in super-cool sheet metal. The stylish 5-door has a starting Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price of less than $16,000 (including destination charges) and also boasts the best warranty of any car on this list with 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Available ventilated front seats and an 8-inch touchscreen display will satisfy students, while forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems can help put parents' minds at ease. Read More

Still an unmatched mix of affordability, efficiency, versatility, reliability and fun, Honda’s subcompact car tops our annual list of 10 Best Back to School Cars once again. Positively cavernous inside, the Fit’s flipping/folding second-row Magic Seat makes it the most flexible car in its class. Standout styling and a lively demeanor add student-friendly sizzle, while strong resale value, a reputation for trouble-free ownership and a NHTSA 5-star Overall Safety Rating all speak to the hearts, minds and wallets of parents. Read More


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