7 sensible used cars for college life

2009 Toyota Yaris Hatchback 3-Door

Mileage: 29 mpg city/35 highway/31 combined

The Yaris won't lay rubber when the light goes green, but its 106-horsepower four-cylinder engine has enough get-up-and-go to keep up with traffic. It's also an ideal size for shoehorning into those tight campus parking spots. We prefer 2009 models over previous years because that's the first year Toyota made side-curtain air bags and antilock brakes standard equipment. Base models come with air conditioning and a five-speed manual transmission, but you shouldn't have any trouble finding versions for sale in our price range with a four-speed automatic transmission, cruise control, and power locks, windows and outside mirrors. For a pipsqueak, Yaris also offers very decent front-seat legroom and as much backseat legroom as a new BMW 3 Series Coupe.