Sunday, September 4, 2016’s 10 Best Back-to-School Cars for 2016

Parents of kids 16 and older know how much they want a car.  Kelley Blue Book recently put together a list of the top 10 cars that are perfect for your kids. All the cars listed are under $20,000 ranging from Kia, Ford, Chevrolet and others. If you are looking for a new car for your teen or college kid, I would recommend taking a look at this list.

With the 2016-2017 school year right around the corner, many students and parents of teens are considering their transportation needs to and from campus and activities.  To help shoppers narrow down their choices, the editors at Kelley Blue Book, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, have named this year’s 10 Best Back-to-School Cars of 2016.’s 10 Best Back-to-School Cars for 2016



Kelley Blue Book

Fair Purchase Price


2016 Honda Fit



2016 Kia Soul



2016 Honda Civic



2016 Honda HR-V



2016 Mazda Mazda3



2016 Nissan Versa Note



2016 Subaru Impreza



2016 Mazda CX-3



2016 Ford Fiesta



2016 Chevrolet Spark


*The Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price (FPP) is updated weekly to show shoppers what others have been paying for this car recently.  

FPP data in chart is for base model and was sourced from on July 14, 2016.  

“Safety is the paramount decision when it comes to back-to-school cars, and practicality and affordability are also high on the list of desirable characteristics, at least according to parents,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s “The kids involved also prefer to have a car they’re happy to be seen in, which suggests that style is part of the equation too.  Our 2016 list of the 10 Best Back-to-School Cars addresses all of these wants with an array of cool cars that has something for just about any returning student.”


To see’s full coverage of the 10 Best Back-to-School Cars for 2016, including vehicle photography, pricing details and editorial reviews, please visit

While you are looking at cars it can be hard to know what is right, wrong and everywhere in between. I have worked with Kelley Blue Book a few times and visited their corporate office. I know just how hard they work and how much time they put into their recommendations. Here are some great tips car shopping.

Car Shopping and Buying Tips for Students and Parents:

To help ensure driving and ownership satisfaction into the coming school year and beyond, follow these guidelines for getting the right car at the right price and check out’s 10 Tips for First-Time Car Buyers:

·         Do Your Research:  All the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision is available at, including both expert and consumer reviews and ratings, Price Advisor information including Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price, side-by-side comparisons, safety and reliability ratings and more.  

·         Know What It Is Going to Cost You:  Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few models that you are interested in, be sure to check out not only what it will cost you up front to buy the car, but also what it will cost you over time to own the vehicle.’s 5-Year Cost-to-Own information for new cars can help you determine both.

·         Drive At Least Two or Three Different Models:  It’s easy to enjoy a test drive in the vehicle at the top of your list, but without driving one or two others to compare, you might easily miss out on something you’d like even more.

·         If Buying New:  Always use a vehicle’s Fair Purchase Price, not Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, as your basis for comparing vehicles and negotiating with the dealer.  Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price reflects the prices people are typically paying a dealer for a new car, based on new-car transactions and adjusted regularly as market conditions change.  Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price may be hundreds or even thousands of dollars less than MSRP.

·         If Buying Used:  Whether buying from a private party or a dealer, it’s always a good idea to have any used vehicle checked out by a reputable independent service shop.  When purchasing from an individual, check out the private-party value from as well as Kelley Blue Book's Quick Condition Quiz.  These items will help you determine the “actual” condition and value of the vehicle.  

·         Consider Certified Pre-Owned (CPO):  When you buy a CPO vehicle, you get the value of buying a used car with the peace of mind that comes from getting new-car-like features, such as a manufacturer-backed vehicle warranty, full vehicle inspection and more.  Learn more about buying CPO, compare all manufacturer CPO programs and even search for CPO vehicle inventory in your local area on here:

·         Shop Online:  Use the Internet to find the exact vehicles local dealers in your area currently have on their lots.  You can check out inventory in the ‘Cars for Sale’ section on to save time and hassle of driving around from dealership to dealership.  This way you can choose wisely which models you want to go test drive.

·         Parents:  Don't buy a car for your teen without driving it yourself, as your experience can help you identify problems or shortcomings that your teen may not notice.  Also, trust your own judgment and don't let your teen talk you into buying a vehicle with which you’re not fully comfortable.

·         Teens:  Do all of your homework before you meet with mom or dad; show them you are responsible and ready for a car, and make it easy for them to say “yes” to your well-researched choice.

Are you looking for a new car for your teen? Do you think any of these are a contender?

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  1. Great list and lucky kids who get a car paid for by their parents! I would've loved one of these instead of the one I paid for.

  2. Great selection of cars and very useful tips! I think this is a post to be bookmarked for when I get my first car!!