College Graduate | Whether you’re a student yourself or are evaluating vehicle options for your age kid, keep these considerations in mind. Each contributes to the overall cost of car ownership, and many vary considerably from model to model.
Your College Grad Deserves the Safest New Car or SUV
Here are the Things to Consider:
- Sticker Price
- Financing Options
- Features & Optional Add-ons
- Insurance Costs
- Efficiency Ratings
- Safety Ratings
- Fees & Taxes
- Parking Availability & Cost
- Size & Maneuverability
This Article Considers Sticker Price and SAFETY:
Many graduates are in the market for a vehicle to get them to interviews or a new job reliably. While there’s a vast selection of vehicles to choose from, important considerations like safety and affordability can help narrow your search.
Vehicle safety should be a priority when making a purchase decision, as it helps ensure you’re protected in the event of a collision. Many newer vehicles are equipped with technology like lane departure warning, blind spot information systems, and braking assistance technology to help prevent a collision or lessen its severity. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway evaluate vehicle safety based on crashworthiness and crash avoidance and mitigation.
Choosing a vehicle that’s within your budget will also impact what you ultimately decide to buy. Mercury’s research and development team examined model-year vehicles from 2015-2018 that received a 5-Star Safety Rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick from IIHS to come up with a top-10 list of the safest and most affordable vehicles to insure for college grads¹.
- 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
- 2015 Kia Soul
- 2016 Kia Sportage
- 2016 Honda CR-V
- 2016 Hyundai Elantra
- 2017 Hyundai Tucson
- 2017 Honda CR-V
- 2017 Kia Soul
- 2016 Kia Sorento
- 2016 Hyundai Tucson
Best of luck as you enter the next chapter of your life’s journey.
¹ This list was created based on Mercury’s price for full coverage – liability, comprehensive and collision. Other factors, such as a driver’s experience and accident history, can push the rate up or down but were not included in the rate calculations. Specific vehicles vary depending on where in the country the vehicle will be insured.
This is the single most important consideration for cost-conscious car buyers, whether they’re buying new or used.
Generally speaking, the new compact and subcompact cars with minimal add-on features cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 (MSRP). Midsize cars typically cost anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000, and sometimes more. Full-size cars, including compact SUVs and crossovers, typically cost $25,000 and up. Luxury brands are more expensive across the board. For example, the smallest, most basic BMW costs well over $25,000 new.
Remember that as new cars get more sophisticated — and therefore expensive — these ranges are subject to change. Used vehicle prices also vary considerably, ranging from 80% to 100% of new vehicles’ MSRP to as little as 10% to 20% of MSRP. Factors affecting used vehicles’ prices include make, model, age, condition, and accident history.
Many college students don’t have enough cash to afford the full sticker price of a new car, even after negotiating. However, those with substantial savings — or with parents willing to lend a hand — may be able to afford the down payment on a new car (typically 10% to 20% of sticker price, but usually negotiable) or a significant chunk of the cost of a used car (if not the whole thing).
All other things being equal, it’s best to put as much down as you can afford given interest charges on car loans can add considerably to your total lifetime cost of ownership. Make sure you know how to negotiate an auto loan. Alternatively, if you can’t afford to pay cash for a new car and don’t want to take on additional debt, consider leasing your vehicle instead of buying it outright.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for an auto loan, consider myAutoloan.com. Rates start at just 2.74% and lease terms can be as short as 36 months or as long as 84 months.
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