If you're son or daughter is heading off to college, and they are ready to buy their first new car, then you are going to want to help them out choosing the vehicle. They might want to get a flashy new sports car, but odds are they probably don't have the budget for that particular luxury. Also, the insurance rates for a young driver who has a sports car capable of doing 0-6 in 3 second is going to be very high. So, they should stick to something more modest and practical. Here are three different types of car categories besides a sports car that they should look into.
If they are going to be commuting to college, and putting lots of miles on the car, then you might want to look at a subcompact car. These are super small, and really get great gas mileage. Take a car like the Ford Fiesta, which has been a popular model in the subcompact category for many years. The car looks really cool, and it's also super easy to handle. As an added benefit, you can get into tight parking spaces. So, if you live in a city with parallel parking, and where there is high competition for spots on the street, then this sort of car is really great. Some new subcompact cars are even 4 doors, so if they are not keen on the two door hatchback models, they have another option to consider. The best thing about the subcompact cars is that they are very inexpensive to lease or buy, as well as operate (great gas mileage).
If your kid is really into the environment, then the obvious choice is to get a hybrid. The market now has several different options when it comes to hybrid, including diesel conversions that run on vegetable oil, but for the sake of simplicity, you should choose a production run model that has lithium ion batteries, such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid. These also provide great gas mileage. The one thing to consider is that your child will need to have access to a charging station if they want to take full advantage of the hybrid function. Once the lithium battery looses it's charge, it needs to be recharged. Many major cities have charging stations, but if they are attending a small liberal arts school in the a rural area, they might struggle to find a charging station.
If they are attending school in a rural area, then they might be better off with a large SUV such as the Ford Explorer. These cars are great in snowy areas. So, even at a big school like Cornell or Syracuse, where the cites are well maintained, there is tons of snow in the winter. If they don't have a powerful SUV with 4wd, then it won't be safe for them to drive, and that includes taking trips home during winter break.