10 great used cars under $15,000 for college graduates

The list from CarGurus includes cars that fit a recent grad’s budget and get strong safety ratings.
The list from CarGurus includes cars that fit a recent grad’s budget and get strong safety ratings. –AFP / Getty Images

A recent survey by Cambridge-based car search company CarGurus indicates college students are already demonstrating some smart financial habits.

The survey of 300 college students who intend to graduate this year found almost half planned to spend $15,000 or less on a vehicle and two-thirds planned to buy a used vehicle.

In an effort to help recent grads find a practical used car, CarGurus selected 10 vehicles that can be found for less than $15,000. The vehicles also offer a strong combined fuel economy of at least 25 miles per gallon, strong safety ratings, strong technology offerings and a powerful driving experience.

“These are cost-effective, safe, and recent cars that we think will be great for recent college grads as commuter cars,’’ said CarGurus editor Steve Halloran in a phone interview with Boston.com.

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(Disclosure: CarGurus is a Boston.com technology partner, powering the Cars section search functionality.)

See the CarGurus picks here:

The CarGurus survey also revealed many college graduates aren’t completely realistic about how much owning a car can cost. About 25 percent of respondents believed auto insurance would cost $250 or less per year. However, the average annual cost of auto insurance for recent college grads is closer to $2,000.

CarGurus also advises college graduates to be aware of “hidden’’ used car costs that can surprise them if they are unprepared. In addition to insurance, these costs can include taxes, fees and maintenance expenses.

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