Consumers' Favorites: Best Cars for College


It's apparent that you all did your homework, and we commend you for that. Judging by the top three picks, you realize that driving a sensible car needn't equate to a lackluster experience behind the wheel. At the top of the class and taking a massive 33 percent of the votes is the athletic yet still easy to park and cheap to keep Mazda Mazda 3. Taking the Salutatorian honor is the Honda Fit, which is also fun to drive and boasts an amazing amount of room within its small footprint for people and cargo. And finishing 3rd is the new kid in the class, the Kia Soul, whose funky styling and enjoyable driving dynamics proved as endearing as a professor who makes learning fun.

If your pick didn't make the top three, check out the rest of the results below. And make sure to exercise your right to vote in our next Consumers' Favorites poll.

  1. Mazda 3

    1. Mazda Mazda 3

    What Edmunds.com says:
    Entertaining yet sophisticated in demeanor, the 2009 Mazda 3 doesn't look, feel or drive like an economy car. If you're shopping for a small, inexpensive sedan or hatchback, this car should be at the top of your list.

  2. Honda Fit

    2. Honda Fit

    What Edmunds.com says:
    Thanks to the 2009 Honda Fit, "affordable subcompact" no longer equals "chintzy penalty box."

  3. Kia Soul

    3. Kia Soul

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2010 Soul is the first Kia to appeal to one's emotions as well as more practical concerns like value, features, space and warranty. It is definitely worth a look.

  4. Nissan Cube

    4. Nissan Cube

    What Edmunds.com says:
    Adventuresome styling, a plush ride, peppy performance and plenty of space within a tiny footprint are admirable highlights of the 2009 Nissan Cube. However, a certain Honda may be a more sensible "Fit."

  5. Scion xD

    5. Scion xD

    What Edmunds.com says:
    A stylized exterior and an impressive features list should attract buyers to the 2009 Scion xD, but some competing models offer more utility and fun.

  6. Kia Forte

    6. Kia Forte

    What Edmunds.com says:
    Unlike the bargain-bin Spectra that it replaces, the new 2010 Kia Forte is good enough to compete against perennial segment stars from Honda and Toyota.

  7. Toyota Yaris

    7. Toyota Yaris

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2009 Toyota Yaris boasts a variety of body styles and a solid track record for reliability, but there are better choices for an economy car.

  8. Hyundai Elantra

    8. Hyundai Elantra

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2009 Hyundai Elantra is often overlooked, but it's a roomy and well-built small sedan with surprisingly sophisticated road manners. It is a must-drive if you're in the market for an economy car.

  9. Suzuki SX4

    9. Suzuki SX4

    What Edmunds.com says:
    While the 2009 Suzuki SX4 might not be your top pick if gas mileage is your chief concern, it's worth a look -- particularly in hatchback form -- if you're very tall or in need of an affordable all-weather vehicle.

  10. Nissan Versa

    10. Nissan Versa

    What Edmunds.com says:
    It's a snooze to drive and isn't as handy as some competitors, but the 2009 Nissan Versa offers comfortable transportation and some high-tech features that should appeal to those simply looking for a cheap commuting appliance.

  11. Hyundai Accent

    11. Hyundai Accent

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The enjoyable and value-packed 2009 Hyundai Accent proves that an entry-level economy car needn't be a penalty box.

  12. Kia Rio

    12. Kia Rio

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2009 Kia Rio offers a fair amount of value, yet there are better choices for a subcompact overall.

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