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Top back-to-school cars: Suzuki SX4, Hyundai Accent

John Egan

Puzzled by which new or used car your high school or college student should drive to campus this fall? The editors at Kelley Blue Book think they have the answers.

The 2007 Suzuki SX4 is the No. 1 used car for students heading back to school this year, according to editors at automotive website, and the 2012 Hyundai Accent is the No. 1 new car.

“Choosing the right kind of car can be a difficult process, especially when parents and their children are at odds with what they need versus what they want in a set of wheels,” according to “While features such as reliability, safety, affordability and practicality are important to any parent, how quickly their car accelerates, how tech-savvy it is and how cool it looks when cruising to the school football game are often bigger concerns for students.”

Vehicles on’s list were chosen based on safety, affordability, versatility, reliability, cost of ownership, fuel efficiency, the “fun to drive” factor and the “good looking” factor. Each new car on the list costs $18,000 or less; each used car is valued at $12,000 or less.

Keep in mind that car insurance for a new vehicle generally costs more than car insurance for a used vehicle.

Behind the 2012 Hyundai Accent on’s new-car list are:

2.  2011 Honda Fit.

3.  2012 Ford Focus.

4.  2011 Fiat 500.

5.  2011 Chevrolet Cruze.

After the 2007 Suzuki SX4 on the used-car list are:

2.  2008 Chevrolet HHR.

3.  2007 Kia Sedona.

4.  2007 Ford F-150.

5.  2007 Nissan Sentra. offers this advice to parents shopping for cars for kids who are heading back to school: “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.”

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