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Back to School: 10 Great Used Cars for High School Drivers in 2019

Most people get their driver’s license in high school, and many first-time drivers get a hand-me-down or the cheapest beater they can find, but who says your first car needs to be junk? We think a car for a high school student should be safe, affordable and at least somewhat modern. It should also have a low ownership cost that makes it easy to manage on a high schooler’s budget.

Here are 10 great used cars for high schoolers that can be found on Autotrader with 4-digit price tags.

2009-2013 Honda Fit

2009-2013 Honda Fit

The Honda Fit has a strong reputation as one of the most cleverly packaged cars around. It’s been carefully designed to maximize interior space for passengers and cargo, but it retains subcompact dimensions. The result is a small car that’s huge on the inside, which makes it both practical and easy to maneuver. It’s also quite affordable and good on gas, which adds up to a car that’s perfect for a high school driver. Find a Honda Fit for sale 

2010-2013 Mazda3

2010-2013 Mazda3

For a compact sedan or hatchback that’s a little more interesting than the mainstream offerings, the Mazda3 is a great choice. Performance is impressive for all three of its available engines, from the efficient base engine all the way up to the turbocharged engine in the high-performance Mazdaspeed3. Other virtues of the Mazda3 include a sharp look, a quality interior and great safety scores — all in an affordable package. Find a Mazda3 for sale

2009-2013 Subaru Forester

2009-2013 Subaru Forester

There are a lot of boring compact SUVs out there, but the Subaru Forester is not one of them. A used Forester is a great car for a young driver who’s looking for more off-road capability than your average crossover due to its generous ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive on every model. This Subaru also features composed on-road handling and roomy, comfortable seats. Find a Subaru Forester for sale

2010-2015 Toyota Prius

2010-2015 Toyota Prius

Full disclosure: You might not get a lot of looks driving a Toyota Prius in high school, but the vehicle more than makes up for this with its practicality and outstanding fuel economy. Gas money can be difficult to scrounge together on a high school student’s income, and getting up to 51 miles per gallon in the city and 48 mpg on the highway makes this hatchback extremely affordable to refuel. Find a Toyota Prius for sale

2014-2019 Kia Soul

2014-2019 Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is practical, affordable, efficient and just plain cute. It has a ton of interior space for such a small car due to its boxy design, and it gets good safety scores. The second-generation Soul also has a generous list of standard features, including satellite radio, Bluetooth, an aux jack and steering wheel audio controls. If you can afford it, we recommend opting for a model with the awesome UVO infotainment systemFind a Kia Soul for sale

2015-2017 Chrysler 200

2015-2017 Chrysler 200

The short-lived final generation of the Chrysler 200 has depreciated to a level where it is surprisingly attainable for less than $10,000. It’s a good midsize sedan with a sleek exterior, a nice interior and some attractive available features, including AWD. If you can manage to find one on the cheap in the higher trim levels, you can get yourself a pretty luxurious sedan for not a lot of money and have one of the nicest cars in the high school parking lot. Find a Chrysler 200 for sale

2011-2016 Scion tC

2011-2016 Scion tC

The Scion tC is an often overlooked sporty coupe that was specifically designed for younger drivers. It’s surprisingly roomy for a compact coupe and offers lively performance with good fuel economy. It’s also big on safety, with great crash test ratings and a driver’s knee airbag that comes standard on every trim. Other standard features include a sunroof, Bluetooth, auxiliary and USB ports, and 8-speaker audio. This Scion is a great blend of sporty and practical. Find a Scion tC for sale

2011-2017 Nissan Juke

2011-2017 Nissan Juke

The Nissan Juke has been around for a while now, but it has an aesthetic that’s just as unique today as it was when it first came out. This subcompact SUV will clearly get you noticed, and it has some of the strongest performance in its class due to its standard turbocharged engine and available AWD. Unfortunately, it sacrifices a bit of interior space for that unconventional look, but when you’re in high school, do you really need that much room? Find a Nissan Juke for sale

2008-2013 Cadillac CTS

2008-2013 Cadillac CTS

You can drive a modern luxury sedan more affordably than you might have thought. The second generation of the Cadillac CTS has a classy look that’s aging nicely, and it’s depreciated to a point where it’s a sweet luxury car value. It has strong performance and a premium interior, and it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick when it was new. It’s also available with AWD, which is good for snowy climates. The CTS is so nice that it might even make your parents jealous. Find a Cadillac CTS for sale

2005-2014 Ford Mustang

2005-2014 Ford Mustang

Ah, the Ford Mustang. It was an instant American icon when it first came out in the 1960s, and it still is to this day. If you want an undeniably cool car for high school, you can’t go wrong with the S197 generation of the Mustang, which is in a sweet spot of value right now. You can even get a V8-powered GT model (if your mom lets you) for less than $10,000. But if you’re shopping in the sub-$10k range, most of the Mustangs you’ll find will be V6 models. That’s not such a bad thing when you consider how they can make gas and insurance cheaper and are still a blast to drive. Find a Ford Mustang for sale

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