A lot of college students have probably faced or are currently facing the situation of automotive image envy. This condition is generally exacerbated by a hand-me-down automobile from parents or grandparents. These cars can take many forms from the old Buick to the cheap, yet reliable Hyundai. Either way, they aren’t going to win you points while trying to pick up your date or hit the town with you college buddies. So what can you do about this? Buy some reliable luxury on a budget.

2003 Acura CL

2003 Acura CL

As I was perusing the latest Consumer Reports Best & Worst article (read my Cars Under $4K article here), I noticed that quite a few luxury cars have made the reliable used car recommendation list for 2010. So what kind of marks can you get? How about Acura, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln and Mercedes. Sure they won’t be brand new, but it beats the Buick or Sentra.

According to C/R best bets in the $4-6K range are the Infiniti G20 from ’00 and ’02, 2000 I30 and the Lincoln Continental from ’01-02. If you can scrape together a few more thousand, then C/R recommends the following plentiful list:


  • Acura CL ’02-03
  • Acura RL ‘02
  • Acura RSX ‘02
  • Acura TL ’01-02
  • Infiniti I30 ‘01
  • Infiniti I35 ’02-03
  • Infiniti Q45 ‘00
  • Infiniti QX4 ’00-01
  • Lexus ES ’00-01
  • Lexus IS ‘01
  • Lincoln Town Car ’00-01
  • Mercedes Benz C Class (4-cyl.) ‘00
  • Mercedes Benz E Class (V6, RWD) ‘00


Be sure to check back often for more CollegeCarGuide.com articles, including helpful tips like the states with the worst auto repair reputations.