Best-Used Car Options for College Grads in 2020

There are a lot of nice and affordable, brand new car options ideal for college grads but saving even more money is always appealing. Recent college grads that are looking to get a great car at an even more discounted price, buying used is the way to go. Here are some of the best-used car options for college grads as they navigate new crossroads. 

2015 Hyundai Tucson

Electric blue 2016 Hyundai Tuscon on the road
2016 Tuscon | Hyundai

When it was new, the 2015 Hyundai Tuscon was celebrated for being an affordable SUV that featured a classy-looking cabin, agile handling, and also boasted a perfect reliability score. There are two engine options on this model: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that creates a 164-horsepower and a 182-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Both engine options make for a smooth ride but the larger four-cylinder is better for frequent highway trips.

2016 Volkswagen GTI

Owners love their 2016 VW GTI because it offers refined handling and excellent acceleration. Some say this model feels even more sophisticated than the BMWs they have tested.  Along with its fun driving dynamics, the 2016 GTI also offers comfort and great value.

2016 Mazda Mazda3

Bright red Mazda in drive mode.
2016 Mazda3| Mazda

Mazda has made an even bigger name for itself over the last few years by offering luxurious elements in a cheaper package. With the 2016 Mazda3 specifically, you get lively handling and a plush interior.

The 2016 Mazda3 also is a great option for commuters because of its excellent fuel economy rating and top-notch safety scores. Features that were new for 2016 included a rearview camera, cruise control, and standard touchscreen infotainment system

2017 Chevy Cruze 

The 2017 Chevy Cruze is a good compact car that comes with a long list of ideal connectivity features. These include a superb infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. This compact car’s lighter frame makes for easier handling and its standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers on fuel-efficiency.

You should know that the Cruze’s standard turbocharged option is decent for everyday rides but its acceleration is sluggish. Although, there is also a turbodiesel option that’s more agile.

2017 Honda Civic

Grey sporty 2017 Honda Civic parked outside of a brick building.
2017 Civic Touring | Honda

Exceptional comfort, high safety scores, and reliability are what make the Honda Civic a good buy. The year 2017 was an exciting year for the Civic because it was when the new hatchback option was introduced as well as the Civic Si and Type R models.

The Civic is a great used car option because it’s fun to drive, fuel-efficient, and dependable. Only really downside on the 2017 Civic is that the infotainment screen can be a little tricky to use. 

2017 Kia Soul


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If you are looking for a compact vehicle that also provides tons of passenger and cargo space, then you might seriously want to consider the 2017 Kia Soul. It has outstanding safety scores and predicted reliability scores too. The base model isn’t as fun to drive as the VW GTI or the Mazda3, but the Soul still provides a smooth ride quality.

For a more exciting driving experience, there is an available turbocharged engine in the lineup. Also, 2017 is when infotainment features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available on the Soul.