We have reached the height of graduation season, and many college graduates are off to start their first "real" jobs. Life as a young professional often demands regular access to your own car. With this in mind, the editors over at Autotrader have put together a list of vehicle recommendations for recent college graduates.

Car Recommendations for Recent College Graduates

Because of all of the options out there, Autotrader wanted to identify some cars that fit both the lifestyle and average budget of recent college grads. This should help make the process of buying a car less complicated and intimidating.

They picked nine vehicles based on affordability, fuel economy, practicality and style. The options include both new and certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles. Here are the nine models, in no particular order, that Autotrader thinks recent college grads should consider.

*All MSRPs include destination charges.

recent college graduates

  • 2017 Chevrolet Cruze - Starting MSRP: $17,850
  • 2017 Ford Focus ST - Starting MSRP: $25,650
  • 2017 Honda HR-V - Starting MSRP: $20,405
  • 2017 Jeep Renegade - Starting MSRP: $19,090
  • 2017 Subaru Impreza - Starting MSRP: $19,215 (2017 Impreza Sport pictured)
  • 2017 Toyota Prius - Starting MSRP: $24,360
  • 2015-2016 CPO Acura TLX - KBB Fair Market Range: $20,427-$25,650 (2015 CPO Acura TLX base sedan with typical mileage of 38,415)
  • 2016 CPO Hyundai Tucson - KBB Fair Market Range: $16,925-$19,900 (2016 CPO Hyundai Tucson SE with typical mileage of 21,732)
  • 2014-2016 CPO MINI Cooper - KBB Fair Market Range: $17,769-$20,128 (2016 CPO MINI Cooper Hardtop two-door automatic with typical mileage of 17,298)

For those dealing with tighter budgets, it isn't a bad idea to explore some recent model used versions of these vehicles.

Car-Shopping Tips for Recent College Grads

Since this will likely be your first- or second-ever car purchase, we've put together a few tips.

  • Know Your Credit
    If you are going to finance a car, you need to know your credit situation before applying. You can get free copies of your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com, which you can look over to get a better feel for your situation.
  • Set Your Budget
    If you have a job lined up, you could be a salaried employee for the first time. The last thing you want to do is overextend yourself right off the bat with your car purchase. So, sit down and crunch the numbers to figure out what you can afford to spend on a car each month. Don't forget to include room in your budget for all of the expenses that come with car ownership. These include insurance, gas, maintenance, and repairs.
  • Figure Out What You Need In a Car
    Consider what you need out of a car. For example, if you are going to have a commute, we suggest that you place extra importance on fuel economy. Consider what you are going to ask the car to do every day and make a list of all of the features you'll need. From there, use your list of "must haves" to identify some choices that will work.

The ultimate goal is to find a vehicle that meets your needs and fits your budget. Remember, it's okay to take your time and take it slow to make sure everything goes according to plan.

The Bottom Line

If you are a recent college graduate with little or no credit history, it can be harder to get the car loan you need. But Auto Credit Express can make it easier. We assist car shoppers by connecting them to local dealerships that specialize in helping people in unique credit situations.

Our service is free, fast and doesn't put you under any obligation. Get started by filling out our secure car loan request form today.