Consumers' Favorites: 2012 Best Cars for College Graduates


Proving that one needn't leave the fun days behind once college is over, the top spots here were dominated by spirited sport coupes and hot hatchbacks. Offering plenty of practicality along with its sprightly, well-rounded personality, the Volkswagen GTI took 1st place with 12.9 percent of the vote. The athletic Scion FR-S sports car took 2nd, with 9.5 percent while 3rd went to the performance packed Hyundai Genesis Coupe with 7.3 percent.

See how the rest of the field did in the full results below and make sure to exercise your right to vote in our next Consumers' Favorites poll.



What Edmunds.com says:
The 2012 Volkswagen GTI might not make top performance numbers, but overall, it's one of our top picks for a sporty hatchback.

What Edmunds.com says:
The FR-S is not your friend's boxy Scion. Thanks to sleek styling, rear-wheel drive and sharp handling, the FR-S is one of the most appealing performance cars of 2013.

What Edmunds.com says:
With more power under the hood and added features, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe furthers its already favorable standing.

  • Ford Mustang

    4. Ford Mustang (V6)

  • What Edmunds.com says:
    In any of its iterations, the 2012 Ford Mustang lineup represents the best pony car you can buy today.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    For tire-burning power and Hollywood flash, it doesn't get much better than the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2012 Dodge Challenger might look and move like a muscle car, but its ability to double as a grand touring coupe confirms its status as the most livable of the reborn muscle cars.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    With its energetic personality, rewarding handling and thoughtful features, the 2012 Mazdaspeed 3 is a top pick for budget-minded driving enthusiasts.

  • Toyota Prius

    7. Toyota Prius (Tie)

  • What Edmunds.com says:
    With a bevy of new high-tech features for 2012, the Toyota Prius enhances its appeal and status as the quintessential hybrid.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2012 Kia Optima is one of our top picks for a midsize sedan. With evocative styling, a long list of features and enjoyable driving dynamics, it's easy to see why.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The all-new 2012 Honda Civic remains a strong contender in the compact car category, but other new models now effectively match the Civic and threaten its traditional dominance in the marketplace.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    Thanks to British character and German engineering, the 2012 Mini Cooper is a great pick for a small coupe or convertible.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    With its fuel-efficient engine, engaging driving experience and daring styling, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is a good pick for those seeking a sporty yet thrifty crossover SUV.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The Honda CR-V has long been one of our favorite compact crossover SUVs, and a redesign for 2012 makes it even more appealing.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    Thanks to plenty of interior room and available turbocharged power, the 2012 Subaru Forester is a top pick in the highly competitive small-crossover-SUV segment.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2012 Chevy Equinox is a stylish and comfortable entry in the highly competitive small-crossover segment. RAV4 and CR-V shoppers should take notice.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2013 Ford Escape is a winner in the segment of small crossover utility vehicles thanks to athletic driving dynamics, an inviting cabin and plenty of useful high-tech features.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    Spacious, comfortable and easy to drive, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 is good choice for a small-to-midsize crossover SUV, especially if you want a V6 or a usable kid-size third-row seat. Yet newer competitors are definitely worth a look.

  • Hyundai Tucson

    18. Hyundai Tucson (Tie)

  • What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2012 Hyundai Tucson might not be as big as its main rivals, but it makes amends with a handsome cabin, an ample list of features, sporty handling and a low price. It's a top pick for a small crossover.

  • Kia Sportage

    18. Kia Sportage (Tie)

  • What Edmunds.com says:
    Thanks to a fun-to-drive nature, the 2012 Kia Sportage is a realistic alternative to other top small crossover SUVs on the market.

    What Edmunds.com says:
    The 2012 Suzuki Kizashi is one of the best among midsize sedans, but a limited dealer network has kept it out of the spotlight.