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10 Best Back-to-School Cars Named by KBB.com

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10 Best Back-to-School Cars Named by KBB.com

With the 2014-2015 school year right around the corner, many students and parents of teens are considering their transportation needs to and from campus and activities. To help shoppers narrow down their choices, the editors at Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, have named this year’s 10 Best Back-to-School Cars of 2014.

This Year’s Top New Cars for Students Determined by Kelley Blue Book, All Priced Below $20,000

As a new semester opens, KBB.com’s expert editors hand-picked a selection of new cars they recommend for students that score high marks for being both practical and affordable, while also giving extra credit for style, features and personality. This year’s wide-ranging Back-to-School Cars list includes a small SUV, a 50-mpg hybrid and an all-wheel-drive option.

Each of the KBB.com editors’ new-car recommendations starts below $20,000 according to Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price. Updated weekly and based on current market conditions like vehicle availability, local demand and seasonal buying trends, the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price shows shoppers what others have been paying for a new car recently and is included in KBB.com’s Price Advisor tool, which provides range-based market pricing.

“Regardless of a student’s interests or style, there is a stellar new-car option for them on our diverse 10 Best Back-to-School Cars list for 2014,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. “The redesigned 2015 Honda Fit came to the head of the class as our No. 1 Back-to-School Car this year with the most flexible interior you’ll find in a subcompact car, boasting an affordable price while simultaneously offering the same sporty fun and refinement for which the Honda brand is well known.”

Car Shopping and Buying Tips for Students and Parents

To help ensure driving and ownership satisfaction into the coming school year and beyond, follow these guidelines for getting the right car at the right price and check out KBB.com’s 10 Tips for First-Time Car Buyers:

  • Do Your Research: All the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision is available at KBB.com, including both expert and consumer reviews and ratings, Fair Market Range including Kelley Blue Book® Fair Purchase Price, side-by-side comparisons, safety and reliability ratings and more.
  • Know What It Is Going to Cost You: Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few models that you are interested in, be sure to check out not only what it will cost you up front to buy the car, but also what it will cost you over time to own the vehicle. KBB.com’s 5-Year Cost-to-Own information for new cars can help you determine both.
  • Drive At Least Two or Three Different Models: It’s easy to enjoy a test drive in the vehicle at the top of your list, but without driving one or two others to compare, you might easily miss out on something you’d like even more.
  • If Buying New: Always use a vehicle’s Fair Purchase Price, not Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, as your basis for comparing vehicles and negotiating with the dealer. Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price reflects the prices people are typically paying a dealer for a new car, based on new-car transactions and adjusted regularly as market conditions change. Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price may be hundreds or even thousands of dollars less than MSRP.
  • If Buying Used: Whether buying from a private party or a dealer, it’s always a good idea to have any used vehicle checked out by a reputable independent service shop. When purchasing from an individual, check out the private-party value from KBB.com as well as Kelley Blue Book's Quick Condition Quiz. These items will help you determine the “actual” condition and value of the vehicle.
  • Consider Certified Pre-Owned (CPO): When you buy a CPO vehicle, you get the value of buying a used car with the peace of mind that comes from getting new-car-like features, such as a manufacturer-backed vehicle warranty, full vehicle inspection and more. Learn more about buying CPO, compare all manufacturer CPO programs and even search for CPO vehicle inventory in your local area on kbb.com here: www.kbb.com/certified-pre-owned/
  • Shop Online: Use the Internet to find the exact vehicles local dealers in your area currently have on their lots. You can check out inventory in the ‘Cars for Sale’ section on KBB.com to save time and hassle of driving around from dealership to dealership. This way you can choose wisely which models you want to go test drive.
  • Parents: Don't buy a car for your teen without driving it yourself, as your experience can help you identify problems or shortcomings that your teen may not notice. Also, trust your own judgment and don't let your teen talk you into buying a vehicle with which you’re not fully comfortable.
  • Teens: Do all of your homework before you meet with mom or dad; show them you are responsible and ready for a car, and make it easy for them to say “yes” to your well-researched choice.
About Kelley Blue Book

Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new and used cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com ranked highest in its category for brand equity by the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study and has been named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year for three consecutive years. Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. is a Cox Automotive company.

This article was originally published in Life with Teens Fall 2014. Read the whole issue here!

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