The Top 10 Cars College Students Actually Drive

Female college student driver
What defines the best cars for college students? One, they’re cheap to buy. Two, they’re cheap to drive. Three, they’re cheap to insure. (Notice a pattern?)

Here are the top 10 cars driven by college students who search for insurance quotes on Compare.com.

Which Cars Do College Students Really Drive?

We analyzed thousands of car insurance quotes on Compare.com to find the cars most often driven by college students, along with the average model year and quoted insurance rates. Keep in mind that your insurance quotes will look different because rates can depend on the state you live in, your driving history, your ZIP code, your age, your gender and a ton of other factors.

So if you’re trying to find cheap car insurance for college students, you need to run the numbers. Compare personalized quotes on Compare.com. It’s free, it’s fast and it works!

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1. 2003 Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is one of those cars that can last almost forever — a good number of them hit 200,000 miles and just forget to quit. That’s probably why so many college students drive an older Accord. While it’s not exactly sexy (and after 15+ years on the road, the upholstery may be a bit funky), the Accord checks all the boxes. It’s safe. It’s fuel-efficient (up to 26 mpg combined). And it’s cheap to insure, costing the average student $1,336 in premiums per year. That makes it one of the top cars for college students.

Average Honda Accord Insurance Premium: $1,336

When you graduate, you might upgrade to a brand new Accord, this one with a 2.0L turbo engine.

2. 2004 Honda Civic

You gotta love those Hondas. The Civic is the little engine that could: a reliable, tough car that gets up to 32 mpg. The average Compare.com car insurance quote for a college student with a Honda Civic is $1,360 per year. Insurance savings + gas savings = a lot more money to spend on fun stuff.

If you drive an older Honda, you should search the VIN on SaferCar.gov to find out if it’s part of the Takata airbag recall. Many Hondas (Civics, Accords and other models) were manufactured with defective Takata airbags that can explode, seriously injuring or killing the driver. If yours has been recalled, you can get it fixed for free.

Average Honda Civic Insurance Premium: $1,360

When you graduate, you might upgrade to a Sports EV Concept – start saving!

3. 2004 Toyota Camry

The name Camry is derived from the Japanese word kanmuri, which means “crown.” A ’04 Camry may not feel like a royal ride, but it’s still a pretty sweet car. In our data, it’s the third most popular car driven by college students, beloved for its reliability, good safety ratings and fuel economy (up to 24 combined mpg). The average Compare.com car insurance quote for a college student driving a Camry is $1,430.

Average Toyota Camry Insurance Premium: $1,430

When you graduate, you might upgrade to an Audi A3.

4. 2004 Toyota Corolla

The ’04 Corolla is pretty cute for its age, with that jaunty little antenna sticking up in the back. It gets up to 28 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. Best of all, the Corolla is the cheapest car to insure on our list of the top cars for college students.

Average Toyota Corolla Insurance Premium: $1,313

When you graduate, you might upgrade to a Toyota Prius or the New Toyota C-HR.

5. 2007 Nissan Altima

The Altima is really easy to love. With sporty styling and handling, it’s more fun to drive than a Camry or Accord. “Light steering, good feel, and… light on its feet,” Motor Trend wrote back when the Altima got its 2007 makeover. The only negative is that the Altima can cost a little more to insure.

Average Nissan Altima Insurance Premium: $1,493

When you graduate, you might upgrade to a new Nissan Maxima.

6. 2007 Ford Focus

A hatchback Ford Focus is a great car for college students because you can jam a ton of stuff into the back on move-in day. The Focus is fun to drive, too, and even feels a little bit Euro (even if the plastic interior is not très chic.) Its crash safety ratings, like many of these sedans, are good for moderate front overlap collisions, but poor for side impacts. The average Compare.com insurance quote for a new driver with a Focus is $1,322 — the second-cheapest on our list, after the Corolla.

Average Ford Focus Insurance Premium: $1,322

When you graduate, you might upgrade to a Volkswagen Golf GTI.

7. 2006 Ford Mustang

Motor Trend named the fifth-generation Mustang (2005-2009) to its list of the most underrated sports cars in recent history: “Along with a boost in performance, this Mustang also featured improved ergonomics and higher quality interior materials.” And out of all top 10 cars for college students, the Mustang is definitely the sweetest ride. They aren’t that expensive to insure, either. A college student with a Mustang gets an average Compare.com insurance quote of $1,460.

Average Ford Mustang Insurance Premium: $1,460

When you graduate, you might upgrade to a New Ford Mustang Bullitt.

8. 2007 Nissan Sentra

In 2007, Nissan introduced a longer, wider, quieter and better-looking Sentra that could finally compete with the Corolla and Civic. It has proved to be a reliable vehicle that gets great gas mileage (29 city/36 highway), making it ideal for college students. The one downside: it costs, on average, $1,505 for a college student to insure, which is more than any other car on this list.

Average Nissan Sentra Insurance Premium: $1,505

When you graduate, you might upgrade to a Nissan 370Z.

9. 2008 Hyundai Sonata

If you drive a roomy, comfy Sonata, you’re going to be the one driving on your next road trip (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The Sonata has a ton of safety features, too: electronic stability control, traction control and active head restraints. It makes it easy to find affordable car insurance for college students, too; the Sonata, on average, gets an insurance quote of $1,335.

Average Hyundai Sonata Insurance Premium: $1,335

When you graduate, you might upgrade to a new Mercedes Benz E 450 4MATIC Sedan.

10. 2007 Hyundai Elantra

Like its big sister Sonata, the Elantra has good safety ratings, attractive styling, and good gas mileage. It’s super cheap to buy one, too; a used ’07 Elantra costs just $3,000-$4,000, according to Edmunds. Surprisingly, it costs more to insure than the Sonata. A college student with an Elantra gets an average Compare.com insurance quote of $1,456.

Average Hyundai Elantra Insurance Premium: $1,456

When you graduate, you might upgrade to a new BMW X6.

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