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8 Cars to Help You Land Your First Job

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author photo by Autotrader May 2011

With college graduation on the horizon for thousands of students, many recent grads will soon be out interviewing for their first jobs. Undoubtedly a daunting process, you can nail one of the most important parts of any interview – leaving a good first impression – by simply arriving in the right car. So while we can’t help you prepare interview answers or pick out your clothes, we’ve compiled a list of the best used cars for around $20,000 that can help give you the confidence to land your first job.

2004 Audi A8L

Thanks to depreciation, the Audi’s luxurious flagship A8 sedan, which sold for more than $70,000 when new, can now be had for under $20,000. Maintenance may be costly, but you can enjoy the benefits of dual-zone climate control, massaging seats, a navigation system, and adaptive cruise control as you go from one interview to the next. Your interviewer may be impressed with the deal you got on your plush new ride, but you can just say it was all thanks to your well honed negotiating skills.

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle

AutoTrader Classics is full of exciting old muscle cars, but one of the most instantly recognizable is Chevrolet’s vintage Chevelle. Featuring a choice of big V8s and typical attention-grabbing muscle car styling, a nice late-1960s or early-1970s Chevelle can be purchased for $20,000. It may not be the most practical car around, but the Chevelle tends to bring out the muscle car enthusiast in all of us, and may be a helpful icebreaker with a potential employer. Just close your eyes when you go to fill it up – muscle cars aren’t quite as fuel-efficient as modern cars.

2007 Honda Accord Hybrid

Most employers want their personnel to be efficient, dependable, and hardworking – three vibes the Accord Hybrid sends out to just about everyone. Despite being the most powerful Accord sold until the release of an all-new V6 in 2008, the Accord Hybrid was also one of the most efficient Accords ever, achieving 37 mpg in the city. Of course, it also boasts typical Honda dependability, and its impressive acceleration figures (the 0-60 mph sprint is accomplished in under 7 seconds) prove that fuel-sipping cars don’t have to be dull.

2006 Honda Insight

The futuristically styled Insight may not work wonders if you’re interviewing at an oil company, but just about every other potential employer is sure to appreciate the impressive traits of one of the most fuel efficient cars ever made. Capable of more than 65 miles per gallon, the original Insight relied on a tiny 1-liter, 3-cylinder engine producing just 73 horsepower. The Insight demonstrates your willingness to make sacrifices for what’s important, which can put you on the fast track to getting a good position.

2007 Jeep Wrangler

It won’t go over well with every potential boss, but pulling up in a Jeep Wrangler says a lot about you. Most notably, it says you’re relaxed, and you’re not about to let a little rain bog you down – even if your vinyl windows fog up far too easily. Good interviewees could sell this trait to employers, waxing poetic about coolness under pressure and ability to dissipate stress, but there’s one more benefit offered by the Wrangler: its go-anywhere capability. Don’t be bashful about telling potential employers your Wrangler assures your presence at work, whether rain, snow, shine – or mudslide.

2010 Nissan Cube

Sometimes, it’s good to think inside the box. Sure, the Cube is an oddly-styled, rather boxy economy car, but if your interviewer is at the kind of place where employees wearing shorts and there’s a pool table in the break room, the Cube might fit right in. Giving off an air of practicality and creativity, the Cube’s asymmetrical rear end and shag carpeting dash strip put it above competitors like the Scion xB and Kia Soul on the funky list – but that’s a good thing, right? Best of all, $20,000 should buy just about the best Cube out there, featuring alloy wheels, a high-end stereo system, and brightly-colored ambient lighting.

2002 Porsche Boxster

Although there are a few 911s to be found in the sub-$20,000 range, you want to endear yourself to your new boss – not upstage him. That leaves the Boxster as the perfect performance car to take you to job interviews, scoring points with just about any interviewer who appreciates cars – and even some who don’t. And if you don’t think the interview went well, you’ll have a drive home in the beautifully-balanced, mid-engined sports car to melt away your troubles – and help you prepare for the next one.

2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Not everyone appreciates the Tonka-truck styling of Toyota’s expressive FJ Cruiser, but if your future boss is the kind of person who would like it, he’s probably the kind of person who would really like it. It’s not very fuel-efficient, but with four-door practicality and amazing off-road prowess, the FJ Cruiser is the car your whole office will want to take to lunch. That is, if you work in a national park. If you don’t, try to let the FJ’s commanding driving position and strong V6 give you the confidence to nail any interview that comes your way.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
8 Cars to Help You Land Your First Job - Autotrader