It’s that time of the year! College freshmen are leaving home to start their first adventure as adults. As a parent, you want to give them everything they need to set them up for success. In many cases, this includes finding safe, reliable transportation for the next four years.

Most parents are looking for the same things in a car for their new collegiate: safety, reliability, and affordability. Many students would add a cool factor to that list; whether it’s the look of the car or the technology inside it, they want to feel that their car will add to their reputation on campus.

It can be tempting to choose an older vehicle for your college student—after all, the price to buy it outright can be more attractive than a comparable new car. However, there can be a number of reasons why a new car is a better choice. A three-year-old car purchased for a freshman will be a seven-year-old car by the end of senior year. No parent wants to worry that their child’s car will break down on the road. Additionally, unexpected repair bills can be hard on a budget that already includes the high cost of college tuition.

New car warranties protect both parents and students from pricey repair bills. New cars also come with safety features that can help parents sleep better at night such as hands-free calling and texting and crash avoidance systems.

Leasing can be a great solution for parents who are looking to find a reliable car at an affordable payment. It gives them the safety and reliability of a new car without the higher payments of a purchase. Most college students will have very different needs when they graduate—leasing allows parents to purchase the car they need for the time they need it.

We’ve listed our top selling vehicles with MSRPs under $30,000 to help parents compile a short list of vehicles that will work well for their college-bound offspring:


10. Volkswagen Tiguan (Starting MSRP: $24,595)

Why we love it: The 2018 Tiguan brings a refreshed design with plenty of technology and safety upgrades including Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring, Apple Carplay and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $29,529.


9. Toyota Camry (Starting MSRP: $23,845)

Why we love it: Toyota’s 2018 refresh of the Camry boasts a class-leading fuel economy rated at 32mpg combined. Inside you’ll find an impressive amount of standard features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, a 7-inch Entune 3 touchscreen and forward collision warning with automatic braking. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $28,570.


8. Volkswagen Golf (Starting MSRP: $20,910)

Why we love it: Volkswagen’s release of the 2018 Golf brought a few new standard features including rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED taillights and a larger infotainment touchscreen. The vehicle comes standard with Apple Carplay and Android Auto and has options for blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $24,814.


7.  Honda Fit (Starting MSRP: $16,190)

Why we love it: Winner of the Car and Driver Editor’s Choice award, the 2019 Fit brings safety, reliability, and technology at a much lower starting MSRP. This vehicle offers options for Honda Sensing which brings a suite of technology to keep you safe, as well as Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $19,172.


6. Volkswagen Jetta (Starting MSRP: $18,545)

Why we love it: Volkswagen has redesigned the Jetta for 2019 with a sportier look. The vehicle now comes standard with LED lights and Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect which includes support for Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $23,282.


5. Mazda3 (Starting MSRP: $18,095)

Why we love it: The Mazda3 was lightly updated for the 2018 model to now include standard safety features such as a rearview camera and a low-speed frontal collision system called Smart City Brake Support. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $24,007.


4. Honda Civic (Starting MSRP: $18,940)

Why we love it: Offered as a sedan or a hatchback, the 2018 Civic remains unchanged from the previous year and continues to offer options for Honda Sensing and a wide array of engine and trim options including a newly reintroduced manual transmission. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $23,256.


3. Subaru Impreza (Starting MSRP: $18,595)

Why we love it: Also available in a hatchback, the 2019 Impreza stays true to the 2018 redesign and offers a few new options. Eyesight Driver Assist is now standard on the base models with reverse automatic braking and high beam assist added to the Limited trim models.  Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $26,760.


2. Toyota Prius (Starting MSRP: $23,475)

Why we love it: Toyota redesigned the Prius in 2016 and have offered some light updates for the 2018 model. The vehicle is packed with available safety features and has been upgraded to an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment.  Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $29,049.


1. Subaru Crosstrek (Starting MSRP: $21,895)

Why we love it: Subaru released an all-new Crosstrek in 2017 and have done a great job to update it for 2018. Subaru Eyesight is now available in the base model and offers the upgraded version with reverse automatic braking and high beam assist standard on the Limited. Average MSRP as configured by Cartelligent clients is $28,747.

Whether you’re looking for a new car for your college freshman or yourself, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888-427-4270 or get started today.