The vehicles spotlighted as the Top New Back-to-School Cars for 2011 are the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LS, 2011 Ford Fiesta S Sedan and the 2011 Nissan Cube 1.8 S. Each of these new vehicles offers outstanding safety equipment and features, the latest in driver comfort and communications technology, versatility and excellent gas mileage, all for a reasonable price.
Several used vehicles also achieved a high rating within the selected criteria according to NADAguides analysts. The three Top Used Back-to-School Cars for 2011 include the 2010 Kia Soul, 2010 Nissan Cube 1.8 S and the 2010 Toyota Corolla LE. All are the previous year’s models, but earned a place on this year’s NADAguides Top Back-To-School list.
Troy Snyder, director of product development at NADAguides, said parents who want a safe car for their driving-age children motivated the company to do this research.
"This time of year parents and teenagers alike are (eagerly) researching the best vehicles for getting to and from school safely and economically. There is an overwhelming amount of information online and we know spare time is a luxury for parents who need to find a suitable vehicle that fits the wants and needs of the family. Our analysts have reviewed hundreds of thousands of data points to help narrow down the research process and provide parents with a range of vehicles that will make both parents and students happy and safe, all while not hitting the wallet too hard."
Best 2011 vehicles
2011 Chevrolet Cruze LS: The all-new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is an excellent pick starting with an MSRP of only $16,525 and offering 31 mpg combined. The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze total cost of ownership over a five year period averages $35,076, or roughly $7,015.20 per year, and with one of the lowest maintenance costs per year on the market, roughly $396, this is a great vehicle option for a working student. With a five-star safety rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze would make any parent feel at ease watching their child pull out of the driveway in this vehicle.
2011 Ford Fiesta: The 2011 Ford Fiesta (pictured) is practical for a first-time driver with a starting MSRP of $14,520 and averaging 32 mpg combined. The 2011 Ford Fiesta is comfortable, has a lot of fresh technology and received a rating of “good” from NADAguides regarding total cost of ownership over a five-year period – averaging $31,872 over five years, or roughly $6,374.40 per year. With a four-star rating from NHTSA and selected as a Top Safety Pick by the IIHSm the 2011 Ford Fiesta is a great vehicle for any new driver.
2011 Nissan Cube 1.8 S: The 2011 Nissan Cube starts at $17,100 MSRP and offers a combined mpg of 29. The 2011 Nissan Cube offers ample cargo space for those students with extracurricular activities and is excellent for carpool. It received a rating of “good” from NADAguides regarding total cost of ownership over a five-year period – averaging $34,959 over five years, or roughly $6,991.80 per year. With a four-star rollover rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS the 2011 Nissan Cube has a lot to offer first-time drivers.
Best used vehicles
2010 Kia Soul 5 : The 2010 Kia Soul has a starting MSRP of $14,974 and offers 28 mpg combined. Based on NADAguides total cost of ownership over a five-year period, the 2010 Kia Soul averages $33,794 over five years, or roughly $6,749.80 per year, and with one of the lowest average insurance costs per year, just over $880, the 2010 Kia Soul 5 offers additional value. The 2010 Kia Soul received a five-star rating from NHTSA and is a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Offering lots of options and a cool vibe, lots of new drivers will flock to the 2010 Kia Soul.
2010 Nissan Cube 1.8 S: Not only did the 2011 Nissan Cube make the cut, but also making the final cut is the 2010 Nissan Cube. The 2010 Nissan Cube has a starting MSRP of $16,500 and offers 29 mpg combined. The 2010 Nissan Cube received a rating of “good” from NADAguides regarding total cost of ownership over a five year period – averaging $34,372 over five years, or roughly $6,874.40 per year. With a four-star rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, the 2010 Nissan Cube offers the same great value that the newer 2011 model offers to drivers.
2010 Toyota Corolla LE: The 2010 Toyota Corolla is priced at $17,400 MSRP and offers 30 mpg combined. Based on NADAguides total cost of ownership over a five-year period the 2010 Toyota Corolla LE averages in cost $35,212 over five years, or $7,042.40 per year, and with extremely low average annual maintenance costs, just over $390.00 per year, the 2010 Toyota Corolla LE is a great option for new drivers. The 2010 Toyota Corolla received a four star rating from the NHTSA and is a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. With safety, value and great MPG the 2010 Toyota Corolla is a great option for new drivers.
NADAguides analysts compiled the following criteria to rate vehicles suitable for first-time drivers: Price (MSRP under $17,500), miles per gallon (25 or more combined mpg), safety ratings from both the NHTSA (four star or above) and IIHS (Top Safety Pick) and NADAguides’ Total Cost of Ownership over a five-year period (rating of average or higher). NADAguides total cost of ownership takes into account depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost and repairs. NADAguides provides a total cost of ownership rating of excellent, good, average, below average or poor.
You can reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected]. Follow Hawke on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.
Image source: TN Ford Motor Co.