CARS FOR COL­LEGE

Stu­dents, par­ents may want to con­sider leases

Texarkana Gazette - - AUTO SUNDAY - Ed­munds By Matt Jones

If your col­lege kid is in need of a car, here are some ve­hi­cles with ex­cel­lent cur­rent lease deals that will fit both parental and col­lege-driver re­quire­ments. Ed­munds chose the cars to meet three key cri­te­ria: EX­CEL­LENT REVIEWS Ed­munds ed­i­tors chose these ve­hi­cles as among the best in their seg­ment. TOP SAFETY RAT­ING

Each ve­hi­cle on this list is a Top Safety Pick+, a des­ig­na­tion by the In­sur­ance In­sti­tute for High­way Safety (IIHS). To qual­ify as a 2017 Top Safety Pick+, a ve­hi­cle must earn good rat­ings in the five crash­wor­thi­ness tests, earn an ad­vanced or su­pe­rior rat­ing for front crash pre­ven­tion, and an ac­cept­able or good head­light rat­ing, ac­cord­ing to the IIHS. Cars with this des­ig­na­tion are the best ve­hi­cle choices for safety within size cat­e­gories, the IIHS says. Each car also earned an over­all five-star rat­ing in the 5-Star Safety Rat­ings sys­tem from the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Administration.

While sub­com­pact and com­pact cars are some­times touted for young, col­lege-bound driv­ers, this list focuses in­stead on mid­size sedans and small SUVs. Safety is the rea­son. Al­though new small cars are safer than small cars have ever been, larger, heav­ier ve­hi­cles are still safer than small ones. It's a mat­ter of physics: Big­ger and heav­ier is safer than smaller and lighter. Large ve­hi­cles weigh more and have longer hoods and big­ger crush zones, which give them an ad­van­tage in frontal crashes. And be­cause price also is of para­mount con­cern to

par­ents and stu­dents, the list skips the more ex­pen­sive large sedans, large SUVs and lux­ury ve­hi­cles. AF­FORD­ABLE LEASES

AND LOW COST OF OWN­ER­SHIP

This list focuses on leas­ing be­cause the monthly pay­ment for a leased new car is typ­i­cally lower than the monthly pay­ment for a fi­nanced car. Also, the car will likely be un­der war­ranty for the du­ra­tion of the lease, so par­ents and young driv­ers don't have to worry about the cost of up­keep or ex­pen­sive re­pair bills. Con­trast that with buy­ing an older, out-of-war­ranty used car for your son or daugh­ter. The car might have a low price, but its re­li­a­bil­ity and re­pair costs could

be hard to pre­dict.

The na­tion­ally ad­ver­tised leases shown be­low are all $1,999 to start and have a pay­ment of ei­ther $199 or $189 per month. All leases are for three years and 36,000 miles. With a lit­tle bit of ne­go­ti­a­tion, it may be pos­si­ble to shave a few dol­lars off the monthly pay­ment or due-at-sign­ing cost shown.

A fi­nal word about leas­ing: It's not for ev­ery­one. Leas­ing has con­straints that buy­ing doesn't. The driver-tobe needs to un­der­stand and abide by the lease's con­di­tions to avoid the high cost of ex­ceed­ing the mileage lim­its or the ex­cess wear-and-tear charges that come into play if the driver treats the car badly. It's a good idea to have a frank talk about those fac­tors be­fore sign­ing a lease agree­ment. SEDANS:

2017 Honda Ac­cord

RE­VIEW HIGH­LIGHTS: It's nearly im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore the 2017 Honda Ac­cord's across-the-board ex­cel­lence. Whether you're pri­or­i­tiz­ing in­te­rior space, fuel econ­omy, value or an en­gag­ing driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, the Ac­cord does it all.

THE DEAL: $1,999 due at sign­ing; $189 per month. 2017 Kia Op­tima

RE­VIEW HIGH­LIGHTS: The Op­tima of­fers lots of bang for the buck com­pared to ri­vals, in­clud­ing an easy-to-use in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. Blue­tooth, a backup cam­era, se­lectable driv­ing modes and a tilt-and-tele­scop­ing steer­ing wheel are stan­dard.

THE DEAL: $1,999 due at sign­ing; $189 per month. 2017 Mazda 6

RE­VIEW HIGH­LIGHTS: The Mazda 6 has great fuel econ­omy, han­dles well, and has a re­spon­sive en­gine and trans­mis­sion.

THE DEAL: $1,999 due at sign­ing; $199 per month. 2017 Toy­ota Camry

RE­VIEW HIGH­LIGHTS: The Camry is com­fort­able and easy to use. It also has a great rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing durable and re­li­able. Some ri­val sedans might be a lit­tle flashier or sportier, but the Camry re­mains an hon­est and wor­thy pick.

THE DEAL: $1,999 due at sign­ing; $199 per month. SMALL SUVS: 2017 Mazda CX-3

RE­VIEW HIGH­LIGHTS: The CX-3 is on the small side, but some­times less is more, es­pe­cially in places where park­ing is a con­cern. If in­te­rior space isn't a pri­or­ity, this is a good pick. It's stylish, fun to drive, easy to park, and gets an es­ti­mated 31 mpg in com­bined city/high­way driv­ing in most trim lev­els.

THE DEAL: $1,999 to start; $189 per month. 2017 Toy­ota RAV4

RE­VIEW HIGH­LIGHTS: For 2017, the Toy­ota RAV4 gains a host of driver as­sis­tance fea­tures as stan­dard equip­ment, in­clud­ing a for­ward col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion sys­tem, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, au­to­matic high beams and adap­tive cruise. THE DEAL: $1,999 due at sign­ing; $199 per month.

Photos courtesy of Honda

This photo pro­vided by Honda shows the 2017 Honda Ac­cord, a ve­hi­cle that might be just right for a col­lege stu­dent thanks to its high safety rat­ing, good gas mileage and low lease cost.

Photo courtesy of Toy­ota

n This photo pro­vided by Toy­ota shows the Toy­ota Camry, an ex­am­ple of a fam­ily sedan that also is per­fect for a col­lege stu­dent thanks to its many safety fea­tures, low cost and easy-to-use fea­tures.

Photo courtesy of Kia

n This photo pro­vided by Kia shows the 2017 Kia Op­tima, a car that might be the right choice for a col­lege stu­dent. It of­fers good looks, lots of safety fea­tures and ag­gres­sive lease spe­cials.

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