The Top Ten Back-to-School Cars According to Kelley Blue Book®


It's almost that time of the year again, and parents are helping their kids prepare for back to school. Aside from the usual Laptops, Books, Clothes and Accessories, some High Schoolers, College and University Students will be in need of some transportation. Kelley Blue Book has listed 10 of the best back to school vehicles of 2019 based on their market research and data.

The research considered several different factors while compiling the list such as: current market availability, model demand, seasonal buying trends, and of course the starting price which needs to be around $20,000 or less. (according to Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price).  Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor for Kelley Blue Book says “We’ve chosen ten new cars for students that are a great mix of safe, reliable, cool and affordable.”  

You'll find the fuel-efficient and sporty 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback at the top of the list, however, Honda takes the count win with 3 models that made the list. “While parents and young drivers may not always agree on the ideal car for going to school, there are some great choices out there that can serve as common ground,” said Matt.

We suggest you do some research in advance, and if you require financing Many students will qualify for a First Time Buyers program, which will provide the student with a lower interest rate, and may not require the parent to co-sign. This is one of the best ways the students can begin to build credit and establish healthy credit as well as combat student debt, bringing down their credit scores. 

Disclaimer: Prices listed reflect the Kelley Blue Book ® Fair Purchase Price

Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Starting at $19,205

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Highlights: Topping off the list is this inexpensive hatchback from Toyota. It’s got fun features like adaptive cruise control and cool kid styling. It handles well on the road and is a safe & smooth ride parents can feel comfortable with. By far the best price for its class, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback is poised to be this school year’s standout.

Kia Soul. Starting at $16,138

Kia Soul

Highlights: This is a car staying true to itself that should have a lot of appeal for young drivers. The Kia Soul is roomy and loaded with special features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a five-inch touchscreen radio. For the student who wants to stand out among the crowd, this is a great value first car.

Honda Civic. Starting at $18,505

Honda Civic

Highlights: The Honda Civic takes home Kelly Blue Book’s “Compact of the Year” award. It also comes first in the class in safety: the Civic was the Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It’s a quality, reliable car that keeps getting better each year. New in 2019 models is a few subtle styling changes, available sport trims and a volume knob.

Mazda 3. Starting at $20,913

Mazda 3

Highlights: Whether you go with the sedan or hatchback, the Mazda3 is all-new this year. And though it’s got the highest price on this list, the Mazda3’s upgraded safety, premium features, and exceptional steering more than justify the cost. Just in case you need one more ace to sell the Mazda3 to the parents: this iteration has all-wheel drive available.

Volkswagen Jetta. Starting at $16,749

Volkswagen Jetta

Highlights: Forty years old and in its seventh generation, this European compact sedan got a remake this year. A little larger than past incarnations, the 2019 Jetta is comfortable, updated and boasts a new, 6-year/ 72,000-mile transferable, bumper-to-bumper warranty. Throw in its low price tag, and you’re on your way to school.

Honda Fit. Starting at $16,080

Honda Fit

Highlights: Space efficiency + fuel efficiency = a winning car equation. This compact hatchback is great for city drivers on their way too and from school, and the roomy cabin and cargo will make it a hit with young drivers on the go.

Hyundai Kona. Starting at $19,638

Hyundai Kona

Highlights: Young drivers will love the Kona’s sportiness, and parents will love the many safety features and their great standard warranty. The Kona EV, Hyundai’s first electric crossover, also boasts best in class for range – 415 kms.

Honda HR-V. Starting at $20,538

Honda HR-V

Highlights: Sub-compact car with an SUV feel, the HR-V got a nice update in 2019 with two new trim options (Sport and Touring). Not only that, but the HR-V got safer too, with Honda Sensing for EX and higher trims, so parents can feel confident sending their child out on the road.

Subaru Impreza. Starting at $18,141

Subaru Impreza

Highlights: Subaru EyeSight driver assists, big back seat, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. While the Impreza isn’t as fast or sporty as other cars, it’s got a neat personality and equally neat price tag. It’s an especially good choice for first-time drivers in colder regions thanks to its all-wheel drive.

Nissan Kicks. Starting at $18,290

Nissan Kicks

Highlights: Going into its second year, there isn’t much new for the 2019 Kicks model–but that isn’t a bad thing. This subcompact-crossover SUV is safe, efficient, and affordable. The car comes standard with automatic emergency braking and other advanced features. For a teen driver on a budget, this is a great starter car mom and dad can get behind.

*Fair Purchase Prices for base models were sourced on July 27, 2019. Prices are updated weekly and vary based on region.

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