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Cars for grads

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 10:49am

May means graduation time, and most young people hope that means new wheels.

Now unless your last name is Rockefeller or Buffet, you’re probably not looking at this $68,000, 550-horsepower Caddy.

But it also doesn’t mean you have to look at a rusty Vega with an 8-track and no AC.

How about something in between.?

What you are probably thinking in terms of a car for a high school or college grad probably involves 3 words…old, cheap and risky.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Let’s set a target of around $15,000 dollars. That includes some truly nice machines, both foreign and domestic.

The Mazda 2 and Mazda 3 hover on either side of that 15-grand mark. The Hyundai Elantra and Accent also bracket the north and south end of the mid-teens in price.

At the Honda store, the Civic and Fit subcompact would be the models to look at. Domestically, at Ford, you’ll see the lovely little Ford Fiesta on the low end, and moving upmarket, the new, sleek Focus is a terrific choice.

Your Chevy dealer now has the hot new Sonic subcompact, and an even smaller car the Spark is coming. Moving upscale, the Chevy Cruze has wowed autowriters nationwide.

Kia has the affordable Rio sedan, and the funky little Soul.

And of course, there’s the tres cool Fiat 500.

You can even get into a base model Jeep Patriot in the high teens.

Now, good, clean used cars are wonderful alternatives, but if you want a warranty and fewer worries when Junior is away at school, this list is a good starting point.

My first college car, for the record, was a $550 1964 MG, and I had to pay dad back for it.

These kids today.

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