What to Consider when Looking for a Student-Friendly Car?
5 Things to Consider when Choosing their Vehicle
For many parents, one of the toughest decisions to make when sending their young ones to college is whether to send them with their own car. And while some colleges will have restrictions and limitations for incoming Freshman, by the time they are Sophomores most students have the flexibility to bring a car to college. So how do you know if you are picking the right one for their needs…and your family’s budget? We are going to offer you five important things to think through when choosing the best cars for college students.
What Features Are Most Important?
With an increasing number of bells and whistles added to vehicles every year, it is sometimes hard to determine what items are a “NEED TO HAVE” and which fall under the category of “WANT TO HAVE”. While your student may “want” a sunroof, the cost of the additional feature may not work with your budget. But that doesn’t mean all additional features and options are equally unnecessary. It is important to first identify what is important to YOU and your student. If you know they will be traveling in heavy traffic, you may feel they need the latest safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and active braking system. If they will be traveling through heavy winter weather, looking for a vehicle with all-wheel drive is sensible, not frivolous. Have a set list of items that the vehicle MUST have before you even move to our second thing to consider when choosing your college-student’s vehicle.
How will the vehicle be used?
Before you start looking at the best deals on cars for college students, it is important to do a vehicle use assessment. Ask yourself,
- How many days a week will the vehicle be driven?
- How many miles a month are going to be driven?
- What are the road conditions?
- What are the weather conditions?
Based on what this assessment reveals, you will be able to reduce that list of MUST HAVES you developed in Step 1. If your student has a very long daily commute, for example, fuel economy and reliability will suddenly be an additional factor you will want to consider when finding the best cars for college commuting. If however, you realize the vehicle is not going to see a lot of time on the road, you may be able to save money by looking for cars affordable for college students within the certified pre-owned car market. The next question is will the sole purpose of owning this car be to transport your college student to school and back…or do you see it as part of your child’s life beyond college?
How long do you plan on keeping the vehicle?
Knowing how long you plan on owning your college student’s car is as important as knowing how they plan on using it. In many families, the “college car” is a vehicle that is handed down to other family members as each progress through school. In others, the vehicle a student takes to college becomes their “first car” after school is finished. Knowing how long the vehicle will be in the family will help you decide if it makes more sense as to choosing the right vehicle from the best new or the best used cars for college students.
New vs Used?
While many would say choosing between a NEW or USED vehicle should be the FIRST question to ask, we disagree. By knowing what is important to you and how you plan to use the vehicle, you can narrow down if your NEED TO HAVE features are available on a NEW and/or USED model. And while your budget wants you to look for the cheapest cars for college students, your brain might understand that the used cars for college students doesn’t have all the features you NEED. This will certainly mean a higher price tag for new cars and SUVs, but it also ensures the vehicle has the state-of-the-art safety features that you’ll NEED to have in your child’s vehicle.
If you are looking for the best of both worlds, a smart choice would be selecting a Factory Certified Used vehicle that will offer you a lower mileage, younger vehicle with the backing of the manufacturer’s limited warranty.
What is the bottom-line cost of ownership?
Finally, we need to talk money. While most people are fixated on the price tag of the cars for college students, they need to look at the complete cost. For example…How much will car insurance cost a college student? According to wallethub.com, “Students should also consider joining their parents’ policy if they share a permanent address, as this can be the cheapest option for many. Alternatively, students who do not drive frequently but need their own car insurance policy can opt for usage-based insurance, which could significantly reduce how much they pay for coverage.” On top of insurance, when shopping for the best cars for college students you should always include the cost of gas and general maintenance of the vehicle. With annual cost of maintaining a vehicle ranging from as little as $4,000 to upwards of $11,000 according to KBB.com, it should not be taken lightly.
Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your College-Bound Student
So now that you have made it through our five steps, what models should you be considering? If you are searching for the best cars for college students under $15,000 our team has a variety of Factory Certified Used models that can fit the bill. If your budget is bigger, consider that we carry some of the best Used Cars and SUVs for College Students under $20,000. And if a new vehicle is more in your budget, with our family of brands, we offer a wide selection of new models available from Subaru, Ford, Lincoln, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, INFINITI, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. So no matter what your college student is looking for, Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Brands serving NJ and PA has the right vehicle for your college-bound student.