12 Top Cars for the Collegiate Crowd

Edmunds readers were given the opportunity to weigh in on what they thought was the best car for college students. Small, compact sedans ruled the roost, though few details on the survey were offered and the publication didn’t account for a few variables, like trims. The following cars are depicted as 2011 model-year vehicles, as each entry was rated as the 2011 model.

Here are the top 12 cars that readers told Edmunds would be the best vehicles for college students.

2011_nissan_versa_sedan_18-sl_s_oem_1_500

12. Nissan Versa

One of — if not the — most affordable small cars around, the Nissan Versa offers a simple, no-frills mode of transportation that is easy on the wallet as well as at the pump. Roughly 2.2 percent of readers thought the Versa was the best bet.

2011_ford_fiesta_4dr-hatchback_ses_f_oem_1_500

11. Ford Fiesta

Ford’s (NYSE:F) Fiesta offers a “fun-to-drive personality, nicely trimmed cabin, tight build quality and unexpected features,” Edmunds said, and 2.3 percent of the voting body agreed.

2011_kia_soul_r34_fe_1118101_500

10. Kia Soul

Quirky and unique, the Kia Soul offers a bundle of fun and a higher degree of capability to the small car segment — 2.6 percent of voters thought the car offered the right combination to perform as the ideal college student’s whip.

2011_scion_xb_wagon_base_rq_oem_2_500

9. Scion xB

Like the Soul, the Scion (NYSE:TM) xB offers a spacious and practical cabin, enhanced with a high-quality stereo system and unique styling. Though the Scion range is aimed at the collegiate crowd, just 2.7 percent chose the xB as the top pick for students.

2011_toyota_yaris_4dr-hatchback_base_fq_oem_1_500

8. Toyota Yaris

Reliable, simple, and offering an array of body options, the Toyota Yaris is a sensible choice for many college kids. However, just 3.6 percent of voters make it their No. 1 pick.

2009_ford_focus_sedan_ses_fq_oem_1_500

7. Ford Focus

The ubiquitous Ford (NYSE:F) Focus won its way into the hearts of 6 percent of Edmunds’s voting body, as it offers a bit more space than most compacts and is an all-around dependable and affordable vehicle.

2014_chevrolet_cruze_sedan_diesel_fq_oem_2_500

6. Chevrolet Cruze

The Chevrolet (NYSE:GM) Cruze represents the company’s triumphant return to the sub-compact market, and it has been quite a successful venture for the company. The Cruze combines great safety scores, good fuel economy, and a peppy, crisp demeanor to make a great all-around vehicle. Around 6.9 percent of voters felt it was the top pick for college students.

2011_subaru_impreza_sedan_25i_fq_oem_2_500

5. Subaru Impreza

Standard all-wheel drive, impressive performance, and a range of styles won over 7.4 percent of Edmunds’s voters, giving the Subaru Impreza the fifth spot. The car is just roomy enough to accommodate a college posse and just economical enough to remain a sensible car for those on a more constrained budget.

2013_honda_fit_4dr-hatchback_sport_fq_oem_1_500

4. Honda Fit

Honda’s (NYSE:HMC) Fit compact took spot No. 4, with 8.7 percent of the vote. “The [Fit] is no longer the only choice for a fun-to-drive, well-rounded subcompact, but it remains the hands-down utility champ,” Edmunds says.

2013_hyundai_elantra_sedan_gls_fq_oem_1_500

3. Hyundai Elantra

Affordability, sleek styling, and a long list of standard safety features and upscale options make the Hyundai Elantra a smart pick for any college kid. Nearly 10 percent — 9.2, to be exact — felt the same.

2012_mazda_mazda3_sedan_i-touring_fq_oem_2_500

2. Mazda Mazda3

Distinct styling and performance that belies its price tag have made the Mazda3 a solid choice for fun-seekers, and, at this age, very few college-attending individuals are not. “If you’re shopping for a small, inexpensive sedan or hatchback,” Edmunds said, ”it should be at the top of your list.”

2013_honda_civic_coupe_ex-l_s_oem_1_500

1. Honda Civic

Walking away with 32.8 percent of readers’ picks, the venerable Honda Civic was rated as the best car for college students. Reliable, fun, and enjoyable to drive, the Civic has long been a top choice for the younger crowds.

Don’t Miss:5 Popular Cars That Got Hybrid Makeovers.