CarGurus Names 10 Best Rides for College Graduates

These Practical Cars Offer Great Value for Shoppers on a Starter Salary

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--With graduation approaching, CarGurus, the fastest-growing car shopping website in the U.S., released its recommendations on best used cars for grads. According to a recent survey most college graduates expect to spend $15,000 or less on a car, and 67 percent of those getting a car plan to purchase it used.

To arrive at this list, CarGurus parsed its vast used car inventory for automobiles that have an average list price of less than $15,000 and return at least 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in combined highway/city driving. Within those criteria, CarGurus looked for high safety ratings, above-average technology, and impressive driving dynamics. The varied list includes environmentally friendly cars, sedans, hatchbacks and an SUV.

Environmentally friendly

  • 2014 Nissan Leaf ($10,500-13,500)
    • The Leaf gets around a 75 mile range and is a great option for graduates living and commuting in the city.
  • 2010-2011 Toyota Prius ($12,000)
    • The earlier Prii have excellent mileage at 50 mpg.


  • 2010-2012 Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen ($9,500-14,000)
    • These German-made cars provide impressive cargo space and offer the only wagon option on this list.
  • 2011-2014 Chevy Cruze ($11,000-15,000)
    • The Cruze has tons of great tech features like Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen, USB port, Internet radio, and Siri Eyes Free technology.
  • 2012-2013 Mazda 6 ($12,000-15,000)
    • The Mazda 6 is known for superior driving dynamics and offers very direct steering and quick acceleration. It is a great value and boasts high tech features like an optional 10-speaker Bose audio system.
  • 2010-2015 Hyundai Elantra ($8,000-14,000)
    • The earlier Elantra models are not only cost effective, but also receive great reviews from the CarGurus experts.


  • 2010-2013 Honda Fit ($11,500-14,000)
    • The Fit is a practical purchase with 20.6 cubic feet of cargo room, has great mileage with a combined 31 mpg, and performs well in safety ratings.
  • 2010-2012 MINI Cooper/Cooper Clubman ($11,000-15,000)
    • These BMW-made cars give a premium feel and unique styling, with a value price.
  • 2010-2014 Kia Soul (as low as $9,500)
    • The Kia Soul features technology like Bluetooth connectivity and Sirius satellite radio.


  • 2011 Ford Escape ($13,500)

About CarGurus
Founded in 2007 by Langley Steinert, co-founder of TripAdvisor, CarGurus is a leading online automotive shopping destination focused on bringing transparency and efficiency to the car research and shopping experience. The site uses technology and market data analysis to help millions of automotive shoppers search for cars and quickly identify the best deals from top-rated dealers in their local area. Today, the site serves more than 20 million unique monthly users and more than 15,000 car dealerships, and ranks #1 among car shopping websites in the U.S. by daily unique visitor traffic. CarGurus also has sites in the UK and Canada.


Brian Kramer, 617-949-2826


Brian Kramer, 617-949-2826