Best Back to School Cars

Back-to-school season presents a dilemma for parents and kids: how do protective folks and their trendy children agree on a safe yet stylish ride? Take a look at our top picks for the best back-to-school cars that are sure to satisfy helicopter parents without causing their children irreversible shame.

Nissan Versa Note
back-to-school cars nissan versa note
If you’re in search of a car that can haul your tuba and hold down 40mpg on the highway, the Versa Note fits the bill. It’s got a sporty look, a surprising amount of cargo space, and fantastic fuel efficiency. Fold down the rear seats and take this truly versa-tile Nissan to school or work with ease.

Toyota Tacoma
back-to-school cars Toyota Tacoma
The Tacoma is a classic compact truck built for looking cool and doing fun things. It’s utilitarian, it’s safe, and it’s got plenty of style points. Handling is smooth, and new drivers won’t feel intimidated parking it like they would more beastly pickups.

BMW 328i
back-to-school cars BMW 328i
This entry level Bimmer is hip, timeless, and luxe without being extravagant. With its great looks, stellar performance, and respectable fuel economy, lucky kids and their proud parents will be happy to have the celebrated 3-series parked in their driveway.

Subaru Forester
back-to-school cars toyota tacoma
Sporting Subaru’s renowned “Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive,” this rugged wagon-SUV mashup is compact and capable. It fares the winter months with confidence, while offering excellent comfort and cargo space.

Toyota Sienna
back-to-school cars toyota sienna
The Sienna may just be the perfect hand-me-down. What was once the trusted carpool-mobile quickly transforms to accommodate your whole squad, plus a fleet of surfboards. This sleek, safe, and dependable hauler is fit for the whole family.

Hyundai Elantra
back-to-school cars hyundai elantra
The Elantra offers the ultimate package of style, performance, amenities, and economy. It’s a compact sedan that is easy to drive and looks great doing it. The 80s wishes it had a first car like the stylish Elantra.

back-to-school cars mazda3
The Mazda3 is the car that’ll take you to college, to your first job, and beyond. It’s good looking, fuel efficient, and spacious, especially in its hatchback incarnation. Plus, it’s got that sporty Mazda thing going for it—that translates to zippy handling and a uniquely styled presence on the road.

Honda Civic Si
back-to-school cars honda civic si
The Honda Civic Si is a decently powerful, fun-to-drive car that has the bones of a Civic (the most dependable compact that ever existed). It’s exciting and cool, but won’t get you into too much trouble.

Interested in more? Check out a great selection of safe, dependable, and reasonably-priced cars for back-to-school on