Cool, affordable cars for college

Consumer Reports keeps a running list of suitable cars for teen drivers, and this year they’ve expanded to include suitable rides for college. The choices are based mainly on reliability, so college students will be able to get to class and come home for holidays without stressing about whether or not their cars will survive the trips.

The editors recommend small crossovers, such as the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4, for passenger comfort and cargo space. These cars also offer all-wheel drive, which provides added safety when the kids are driving home for winter break. College students should look for more recent models that offers stability control for added safety and longevity so they will last long past graduation day. A used 2007 model year RAV4 in decent condition starts around $14,400, according to Edmunds.com.

The Scion xB is another good choice, especially as Scions are designed with a younger generation of drivers in mind – think sound systems and accessories. A 2012 model starts around $16,300, and older models can be found from just under $7,000 (2004) to $14,250 (2010) for students who are shopping for vehicles with car loans. This car has tons of space to fit an entire dorm room full of luggage and furniture nicely.

The Kia Soul, Honda Fit, and Volkswagen Golf also found their way onto the Consumer Reports list.