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Toyota Corolla is a simple fuel-efficient small car with a soft ride and comfortable roomy interior. Pros: Fuel economy, reliability, holds value well, easy to maintain, comfortable ride, roomy interior, easy to sell. What to look for when buying a used Toyota Corolla: Checking a used car history report is a good first step, as it may show some previously reported accidents and other issues. Maintenance: Toyota recommends changing oil every 5,000 or 7,500 miles depending on the driving condition. With a rear-engine, rear-drive setup, the Renault Twingo (like its Smart cousin) has the opportunity to be a real firecracker. Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline.
HomepageThe Car Guide is the benchmark of excellence for the Canadian automotive landscape. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive by email weekly reports on the contents published on The Car Guide. Halfway between the excellent Z51 and the hyperbolic Z06, the Grand Sport is the purist's Corvette and a future classic. The college student budget is stretched thinner than ever with rent, tuition, books, meal plans and beer soda expenses.
When shopping for a Metro keep in mind that 1989 to 1997 models are under the Geo brand and 1998 to 2001 models are Chevrolets, thus horsepower and mileage can range. Why: The Honda Insight was ahead of its time, becoming the first hybrid on the market, preceding the Toyota Prius by 7 months.
While the 70-ish horsepower engine is underwhelming, it’s perfect for the college student that wants to save the planet and conserve resources (namely, cash).
Why: The Ford Explorer was the poster child of the SUV surge, but as gas prices went up, soccer moms found more efficient alternatives. Why: Minivans may not be the coolest thing to be seen in around campus, but Dodge Grand Caravans are cheap and plentiful.
Many Caravans were family owned and properly maintained so its not hard to find an older model in good condition, crayon stains aside. Why: Subaru has built their brand on making cars that are as capable in rough terrain as they are practical in everyday life.
Skip the turbo since the added power is not worth the extra maintenance and choose the 2.0 liter model. Why: This may seem like an odd choice, but there are two very good reasons why the Ford F150 is perfect for a college couple. Most models have a center console that can be flipped up to create a middle seat in the front row, allowing you to snuggle up to your lover on those long drives back to your hometown. Why: The BMW E36 generation is too old to be modern, yet still too new to be considered classic, which puts it right into the budget car category. Toyota Matrix and its mechanical twin Pontiac Vibe could be a good choice if you need a utility of a wagon; both cars are based on the Corolla platform.
If available, have a look at the service records to see if the car was regularly maintained.


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So even if that new car smell is long gone and the odometer is closer to 200k than 100k, these are the trusty companions we recommend most during the best four years of your life. The body is designed to reduce drag and built out of aluminum to save weight (it won’t rust).
The original Honda Insight came with a standard 5 speed transmission, which we suggest because the succeeding CVT transmission is notoriously expensive to repair when something goes wrong.
Gas prices seem to have leveled off, making the Explorer a great option for a college student with a lot to haul. The great thing about the Ford Explorer is that you can find one that fits almost any budget. Like most cars on this list, the price varies on an array of factors including miles, condition, etc. It is hard to believe that these cars have been around for so long, but 15 years puts the Beetle within arms reach of a penniless flower child. Before Hyundai began making cars to compete with mid-market companies (and even some luxury brands), the Accent was the budget car from the budget brand.
Civics hold their value better than the average used car so prepare to spend at least $2000. The price of a pick up truck can range depending on if it’s loaded or a stripped down work truck. The 2001 turbo models put out a respectable 180hp, a 30hp increase over the previous iteration. Its technically not a V6 because the staggered configuration of the cylinders allows Volkswagen to use a single head, so it fits snuggly under the hood of the Jetta. There are plenty of Camrys to be had so wait for a good deal to come along and you will have reliable transportation for years.
That being said, it’s almost a guarantee that any car you buy for this price is going to need some sort of maintenance almost immediately. The sporty Corolla XRS (available only for 2005 and 2006) offers a 170-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder VVTL-i engine and a 6-speed manual transmission borrowed from Toyota Celica. When inspecting a car, check the oil level; low oil level could be an indication of excessive oil consumption, which is a fairly common problem with the Corolla. But when we spoke to Renault's engineers at the Twingo's launch in France a couple of months ago, we were told a strategy was being worked out for a performance model. The Metro comes in a variety of body styles including a hatchback, four-door sedan and even a convertible. If you’re up to sacrificing some reputation points to get a better car for your money, the Caravan is the way to go.
The build quality rivals that of German luxury with reliability comparable to Japanese brands. The majority of Hardbodys came with 5 speed manual transmissions, but they can also be found in automatic.
Body rot is a common problem on the D21 Hardbody and should be expected, but beware of frame rust.


The 2.0 liter will last as long as the timing belt and water pump gets replaced every 60k miles, so make sure to check that last time it was serviced. The reliability, affordability and overall feel of the Focus makes it a competitor for any Japanese brand.
The Civic is the go-to car for consumers who are tight on cash and need reliable transportation. The 325i (later called the 323i) and the 328i provide more power and offer more features but sacrifice fuel efficiency. The consumer benefit comes when you hit the gas pedal, releasing a generous 172hp and an exhaust note that is legendary in the Volkswagen community. While the Camry may not be the most exciting piece of machinery, it’s nearly indestructible. You can’t go wrong with either car, so buy which ever one you can get a better deal on. They’re incredibly reliable (after all, its a Honda) and its not uncommon to see one with 200k+ miles.
For $3000, you can get an Explorer from the early 2000’s that still looks fairly modern.
Make sure to get underneath with a flashlight and take a good look before purchasing a Hardbody. The Focus can be found as a four door sedan, station wagon, or a hatchback with two or four doors.
The Accent is a great car for someone who doesn’t expect more than A-to-B transportation.
Equipped with the same 2.0 liter 8-valve motor as the Beetle, the appeal of the Cabrio comes from the styling, not the speed. Check the last time it was done, you can leverage this during price negotiation if its coming close to the next service. The 2 door versions are excellent cars as well but tend to demand a higher price than the sedans.
Other than small quirks, they’re pretty reliable as far as sports cars are concerned.
The Jetta’s styling may be severely dated, but the crisp handling and sharp acceleration are a worthy trade-off. If you feel that Civics and Corollas are just too mainstream for you, this Swedish gem is the solution. You’ll be glad you did the extra work when you come home with a reliable car for less that the cost of a meal plan. You and your sweetheart can share the best four years of your life together in one of these for a reasonable cost.
The same website offers access to how-to videos and an electronic copy of an owner's manual.




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