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Autotrader announces best cars for 2024 college graduates

Brian Moody, Autotrader's executive editor, stressed that recent graduates can find affordable options.

As the class of 2024 graduates and embarks on their next adventure, many will be looking for new vehicles to accompany them. Autotrader, a Cox Automotive subsidiary, has released its list of the Best Cars for Recent College Graduates for 2024 after thoroughly analyzing the automotive landscape.

Brian Moody, Autotrader’s executive editor, stressed that recent graduates can find affordable options, especially when the average price of a new car in the U.S. is over $47,000. Moody pointed out the potential of certified pre-owned (CPO) models as a smart choice for grads.

The selection criteria by Autotrader’s editors were stringent: vehicles had to have a starting price under $30,000, maintain a 5-star Overall Safety Rating from the NHTSA, and feature at least one standout element. These elements could be anything from practicality to design, all aimed at offering value and appeal to recent graduates.

Here are Autotrader’s top picks for the Best Cars for Recent College Graduates in 2024:

  1. 2024 Chevrolet Equinox
  2. 2024 Honda Civic
  3. 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz
  4. 2024 Kia Niro
  5. 2024 Mazda3
  6. 2024 Nissan Versa
  7. 2024 Subaru Forester
  8. 2024 Subaru Impreza
  9. 2024 Toyota Camry Hybrid
  10. 2024 Toyota Prius

For more details on each vehicle’s standout feature, pricing information, photos, and available inventory, visit Autotrader’s dedicated page at

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