College Car Guide: Picking a Winner in the Battle of the Subcompacts

2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta

The small hatchback is the ideal car for the college student. It gives you everything you need, no more, no less. There is enough space to carry a dorm room's worth of belongings, and you won't break the bank on gas on your way there. Plus, they're easy to park, cheap to maintain, cheap to repair and can be unexpectedly fun to drive. 

However, choose the wrong one and you can end up in a miserable situation. 

So, let's roundup some of the offerings for 2010-11 in the small hatchback segment to see which one is ideal for the college student. 


Scion xD

With a name that is an emoticon (XD=someone laughing really hard) the target market for Scion is completely obvious: the young and trendy. However, the styling on the xD is a bit dated... although it wasn't entirely interesting to begin with. You do get Toyota reliability, which means the xD is an investment that will last.

The Car Connection Rating: 7 out of 10


Toyota Yaris

A car that thrills absolutely nobody, and irritates others. The center-mounted gauges can be a bit frustrating, and the lack of excitement and passion everywhere else leaves a dry taste in the mouth.

The Car Connection Rating: 6 out of 10


Hyundai Accent

Hyundai has made some great strides in performance and quality while maintaining bargain-basement pricing. However, those strides were made with other cars. The Accent is still lackluster. Come on, you can do better.

The Car Connection Rating: 6 out of 10

2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

In terms of style, the Fiesta is a clear winner. This little hatch can turn heads wherever it goes, especially if you select one of the available bright metallic paints. There's tons of tech and safety equipment too. Watch out, because the performance is just a bit saggy. The PowerShift gearbox isn't quite powerful enough, and the five-speed (the better choice out of the two) doesn't cash the sporty checks that the styling writes. 

The Car Connection Rating: 8 out of 10


Chevrolet Aveo

This boasts one of the lowest starting prices in America. You get what you pay for.

The Car Connection Rating: 5.2 out of 10



This happy little guy is one of the newest entries into the segment. It may not boast much in terms of horsepower, but much like any Mazda the chassis is set up well. So, this tiny little car promises to be a hoot through the twisties. If you're a real driver, that is all that should count. 

The Car Connection Rating: 8 out of 10


Honda Fit

If you're hauling anything at any point in time, the Fit has to be your best bet. It might be small, but the cunning fold-flat rear seats offer tons of space for whatever you're carrying. It might look a bit odd, but it's a Honda. You couldn't kill it if you tried. 

The Car Connection Rating: 8 out of 10

Well, its a three-way tie when it comes to top honors. So really, it is all about taste. The drivers can have the Mazda2. The ones that have to haul lots of gear can have the Fit. The tech nerds can have the Fiesta. 

Me? I think I'll wait until the Fiat 500 comes out before making any choice.

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