It's a really tough question. Part of the problem is that "college car" isn't describing a specific type of car, just the stage of life the owner of the car is in. Some people may have a Mercedes-Benz SLK as their college car, while some might be stuck in something more along the lines of a Chevette. Also, when people are looking for a car to use in college they generally have one purpose in mind. They just want "something that gets me from point A to point B." They will probably end up in a used Hyundai Elantra, never knowing what a great car is.
Then again, for a lot of people, something that will never break down and always get them from point A to point B is the ultimate college car. Let's be honest, the cheaper it is to run the car the better.
You know what? Let's ignore all that point A point B humdrum and live in a fantasy land for a while. Out of all the cars in the world, what car would make the ultimate college car? For me, only one car comes in to mind.
Ah yes, the classic Mini. The ultimate college car, because in a way it already has been... just not in the States. If you listen closely to many TopGear celebrity interviews, a large handful of them have admitted they had a "Mini phase" at a younger point in their lives. Chances are this phase took place around their college years, due to the Mini's handling characteristics that have been worshiped for decades, and the relative cheapness of the Mini back in the day.
"But this is AMERICA!" you might be shouting at the screen. Why would anyone on this side of the pond want a diminutive noisy little hatchback that was conceived in the fifties? The answer is simple, and it is the answer to so many things the average college student does. It is cool! Think about how rapidly the new Mini took off. So many people loved it for its tiny size and cute looks. Now, make it smaller. BOOM! Coolest thing on the planet.
Plus, for those of us in big city colleges there is one obstacle when driving that makes walking almost worth it: parking. Ever come across a space that is in a great place, but you just can't fit into? Chances are, in the Mini you would fit into that space, and everyone would watch in amazement as this strange little gumdrop of a car squeezes between a Suburban and a 4 Runner.
The greatest thing about the Mini doesn't really have to do with how it drives. Any college student will know that if you strive to be "cool" on campus, you have to be unique. You have to stand out by having things or characteristics that no one else has. Imagine being the only Mini at your school.
So, in alternate universe fantasy land, the Mini would be the ultimate car to have at College. In all reality, any working car is the ultimate college car.