Best used cars under $12,000 for students

Kelley Blue Book recently released its 2011 Top Ten Back-to-School Cars list for parents and their high school and college students. The choices were based on affordability, reliability, fuel economy, style and safety. All of the used cars that made the list are the newest model years valued under $12,000, which makes them good choices for motorists who are buying cars with bad credit car loans.

The best used car for students was found to be the 2007 Suzuki SX4, which starts around $11,500 to $11,950. The four-door hatchback’s four-cylinder engine has a more impressive power output than most cars in its class, with 143 horsepower. Inside Line reports that the Honda Fit and the Scion xA each only put out about 110 hp.

One car that made the list may baffle some students is the 2007 Kia Sedona. A minivan is generally the furthest thing from a young driver’s mind when they are deciding what kind of car they want to own, but there are advantages. Minivans have more room, which will make moving to college easier and the driver will be able to bring all of his or her friends to that awesome concert coming up. Edmunds.com states that the average resale price of a Sedona in good condition is around $10,500, and for a minivan, the 23 mile-per-gallon fuel efficiency isn’t too bad.

Some drivers prefer trucks, whether or not they need all that flatbed space, and the 2007 Ford F-150 is the best choice, according to KBB. The pickup was awarded a five-star front crash safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For around $9,000, this truck is a great, affordable option for drivers who prefer something a bit more rugged and are planning to use a car loan to buy their vehicle. However, the F-150 is a bit of a gas guzzler and it only gets about 19 mpg on the highway, so if you’re looking to save money at the pump, perhaps this truck isn’t the best choice.

The 2008 Chevrolet HHR and the 2007 Nissan Sentra rounded out the top five. The HHR looks a lot like a PT Cruiser and has an average fuel economy of 30 mpg on the highway and 21 in the city. Nissan’s small sedan is the most fuel efficient of the bunch, getting up to 33 mpg on the highway.