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Best Cars for College Grads

Shop the Best Cars for College Grads.

Our curated list of cars runs the gamut from the super economical to entry level luxury and everything in between, so whether you’re heading to the city to start that first job or off to campus, the perfect car for your next adventure is ready and waiting.  Most of our brands also offer great programs for recent grads so be sure to visit our College Grad Special Programs page as well.

More Car Shopping Guides for Different Lifestyles

Blue 2019 Honda HR-V on a street with city buildings in the background

2019 Honda HR-V

Honda’s HR-V subcompact SUV has been awarded best SUV in it’s class every year it’s been in production. The well appointed, sporty HR-V has a host of standard features across it’s 5 trim levels, each offering AWD. Running gear is essentially the same for all trims, with upgrades coming in the form of infotainment upgrades, leather seats and LED head and tail lights.

All versions come with Honda’s proprietary Magic 2nd row, seat that both folds flat and also “up” allowing for taller objects to sit upright. The passenger front seat also folds flat in “Long Mode” which allows for 8 linear feet of cargo space. Headroom is great for up to 5 passengers. Great mileage, Honda reliability and the HR-V versatility make it a great car for those heading out to move into the dorms.

Red 2019 Lexus IS 350 on a street going under a bridge with city buildings in the background

Lexus IS 350

Lexus IS began its life as the entry level Lexus sedan with rather modest power and styling. Over the intervening 20 years, the IS has grown into powerful sports sedan that can go toe to toe with anything Germany is producing. With a dizzying 9 trim levels, the IS can be configured to your taste including all wheel drive and F sport options in both the 2 liter inline 4 cylinder and 3.5 liter V6 engine variants. The IS’s lively road manners come courtesy of adaptive
suspension, performance brake package, and a Torsen limited slip differential.

The stance on the IS is wider than previous models and more preciously longer as well, adding 3 inches of rear set legroom. Inside and out the IS looks the part of the compact luxury sedan. Interior styling is, per Lexus’ standards, is luxurious, but the company’s NULUXE® interior trim is half the weight of leather and produces less CO2 and VOC’s than standard leather interiors. A perfect entry level luxury car, the IS thrills both standing still and on the road.

Subaru BRZ

Subaru’s legacy of performance rests largely on the shoulders of the rally influenced WRX, but the BRZ puts that capability in a standard coupe form for those who crave a track vibe. The rear wheel driven BRZ generates 205 horsepower from its 4 cylinder boxer engine, offers a manual or automatic six speed transmission and full time AWD. The upper range Limited try level offers Alcantara leather seats. All active and passive safety features are standard on
both models. Well equipped at around $25,000, the BRZ offers performance, good looks and quality for its price point.

Subaru Impreza

The Impreza has been a staple in the Subaru line up for years now. Both sedan and 5 door hatchback versions have 4 trim levels but even the most heavily optioned Impreza stays south of $26,000, with base models starting well under $20,000. All models have highway mileage estimates over 35 mpg, so those long trips home on the weekends to do laundry will save even more money.

Like all Subaru models AWD is standard across all trim levels as are all passive safety restraints. Active safety measures can be optioned for fairly minimal cost. The 5 door Impreza hatch offers versatile cargo storage options and can also accommodate all the equipment needed for those precious weekends off.

Toyota C-HR

Toyota’s C-HR is the most compact crossover in the Toyota fleet, but its dynamic styling, aggressive road stance and intuitive driving experience make it a great value for those picking out that car for college and beyond. Powered by a 1.4 liter 4 cylinder, the C-HR has plenty of pep while still managing mileage of around 30mpg. The CVT transmission manages the power band and also includes sport mode that allows you to wind up the tach by shifting manually with the flick of the gearshift knob.

Inside the Toyota’s well laid out cabin are available leather seats, an anomaly for an entry level car like the C-HR. Likewise, Dual zone climate control as standard equipment is another nice surprise. With 60-40 folding rear seats to allow for creative cargo placement, the C-HR is a great option for those taking that car off to school or that first job.

Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta GLI

Volkswagen’s venerable Jetta has been a “my first car” staple in America since the early 80’s. Its combination of style, roominess and dependability quickly made it the best selling European car in North America and Mexico. 2019 marks the 7th generation of the Jetta and it has improved and refined its best features yet again. Turbocharged engines are standard on both the Jetta and the Jetta GLI which have 1.4 and 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engines respectively. Mileage is great on both models although the GLI doesn’t achieve the remarkable 40 mpg highway that
the standard Jetta boasts.

Multiple trim levels only increase the luxury and convenience accommodations, like leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and 10 color customizable ambient lighting display. All models have the latest passive safety features and active driver assist features can be optioned. All models get VW’s great 6 year/72,000 miles transferable warranty, so if you ever sell your Jetta the warranty can be transferred over to the new owner. VW is also offering a 500 rebate for recent college grads, so grab your sheepskin and head down to pick out your first new car.


Honda Fit

Honda’s fun, affordable Fit is the perfect city car for those striking out on their own for the first time. Across it’s 4 trim levels the Fit’s base price never rises above $21,000, which seems stunning for a new car and one with Honda’s reputation for quality. While small, the Fit features innovative seating to create multiple cargo options and even a mode in which the front passenger seat folds flat and the rear seat reclines to create a “bed” for getting a nap in between classes. Across the trim levels leather seats, LED lighting and active safety features are added
to customize the car to your needs.

About LAcarGUY

LAcarGUY is the hub for 12 family-owned dealerships representing seven brands: Toyota, Lexus, Porsche, Audi, Subaru, Honda and Volkswagen. We are proud to be the #1 Hybrid dealer in the country!

Browse our inventory, give us a call at 888-458-9518, or visit us today!

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