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Posts published in “Arts & Entertainment”

Cars for College Students: A Set of Four Wheels with Looks, Debatable MPG Rates and Low Price Tags

Charles Desrochers / Asst. Lifestyles Editor

Most students don’t have time to shop for a new vehicle when they have to balance work and school during the keg stand of life. The Recorder is here to take the hassle out of car shopping by giving you the skinny on six cars.  

We spent hours in the newsroom coming up with the six categories we’ll grade the cars with: price, MPG, capacity, horsepower, looks and how big of a tool a person would be on a scale of 1-100.  The stats of these cars were retrieved from Cars.com

Also, before anyone points out the obvious, we looked at mostly new cars. Why? Because it’s easier to compare a new car on the lot than a car owned by someone who is fast and/or furious and someone’s grandmother.

Honda Fit

The Honda Fit has a modest price of $15,220. That doesn’t seem too high considering that it’s depreciated $4,000 since 2007. Other competing cars, such as the Nissan, start at $10,987, but have less horsepower than the Fit’s 117 hp. But the market for these cars are for people more concerned with getting from A to B and not how long it takes. 

Its miles per gallon is also decent at 33 mpg on the highway, but with the low horsepower those miles might start to fall once more than one person hops into the car. Because it’s a hatchback it offers a decent amount of space with 20.6 cubic feet, but that number climbs to 57.3 once the seats are folded down.

It doesn’t look like much. It’s not the kind of car that exudes “fun”. In all honesty the Honda Fit looks like a Honda civic that was pancaked.  

VW RabbitThe Rabbit, also known as the golf junior, has the most horsepower, 170. It costs $12,950 and it comes with the reliability of a Volkswagen. This could mean two things, either the Rabbit you buy will last ten years or it will require countless amounts of maintenance until you sell it to some other poor unsuspecting college student.  

In the meantime, the Rabbit will offer you 21 miles per gallon n the city and 33 highway. 

The Rabbit looks like VW’s old golf model and besides the Fit is the most impartial car on the list. The only thing someone can have against this car is that it’s not a Ford F-150. But beyond this, it’s a very sensible car.

1998 Jeep Cherokee

Yes, this car is 10 years old. Yes, it’s an SUV that every soccer mom has driven at one point. 

Maybe the 1998 Cherokee is still so popular is because they were made well. The Cherokee is going for around $4,995 and gets below a decent 20 miles per gallon on the highway. Also, the Cherokee has less horsepower than the Cobalt with 125.

Sure the numbers don’t look good on paper, but this car comes with history. Close your eyes. Can’t you smell the hotdog and ketchup stains from all the little league games? That’s the kind of nostalgia a big bad car company can’t put a price on. 

 As for looks, it looks like your dad gave you this car six years ago and you’ve been consistent with your oil changes.

Chevy Cobalt

Finally, a new American sedan for under $10,000. The Chevy Cobalt is priced at a very reasonable $8,900 and still gets 30 miles per gallon. 

 The horsepower, 155, is only slightly less than the Rabbit’s 170, and looks like a normal car. Similar cars, like the Ford Focus, looks like a six-year-old Saturn, but the Cobalt can pass for a number of other mid level models.

 It has less capacity than most other cars on this list at 13.9 Cu feet, but for the extra $4,000  a person can buy a trailer if they need the extra room. 

Some say this is the most “car-looking” car out of all on this list – we know it’s redundant, but if you’re trying to draw the least amount of attention to yourself when you run all five stoplights on Ella Grasso, the Cobalt will probably help you stay under the radar.

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius, starts at $17,999.  Since it’s a hybrid car, the mpg is extremely high with 48 miles highway. The usual conversation of horsepower doesn’t apply to the Prius. It only has 72 hp but it also only has a two-speed transition due to its electric motor.

It should also be noted that the Prius uses a generally expensive battery – and one that will probably find its way into a landfill near you when you’re through with it.

Its capacity is only 14.4 cubic feet, which isn’t a lot considering it’s a hatchback. People don’t buy the Prius for its creature comforts though; they buy it for the unearned sense of accomplishment that seems to be one of its standard features.

As far as looks go, it’s a clever way to convince people that driving their car is actually good for the environment. And that will bring the Prius drivers to a lofty 70 on the tool-o-meter.

 

Ford F-150Here it is, the highest selling American automobile. A car that is so American it’s like the Iwo Jima memorial and a barbecue smoker had a baby that erupted out of the womb screaming the Star Spangled Banner with red, white and blue face paint.  

Its cheapest new model is $20,650. It has 248 horsepower with about 54 cubic feet of bed capacity, making it the highest in both categories, but the mileage is very low with 18 miles per gallon highway. On a commuter campus, this truck really has no place other than the construction zone on the torn-up athletics fields.

There’s no reason for any college student to own a truck this big.  There are much more efficient vehicles on the road that don’t look as gaudy as this one, like the two-door Toyota Tacoma. And unless you work at a job site in the summer where your employer relies on you to bring in the lumber and drywall, the F-150 is compensation.