Top three affordable and fun vehicles for students

With the B.C. teacher’s strike officially over, the topic of back-to-school is finally again on people’s minds. Below, we’ve compiled a top three list of practical — and more importantly, fun — cars for students.

1. Mazda3

Winner of the coveted AJAC Best New Small Car Award, the Mazda3 entered its third generation in 2014 fully embracing the company’s Skyactiv philosophy of designing technologies revolving around increased fuel efficiency and engine output. The manual GX sedan can be had for $15,995 and comes with a 2.0 L four-cylinder engine producing 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque with a fuel consumption rating of 6.7 L/100 km (city) and 4.7 (highway). The Mazda3 has a whole host of new optional safety equipment as well including Hill Launch Assist that prevents the car from rolling backwards when accelerating up an incline; Blind Spot Monitoring that alerts the driver when there is an object obstructing a lane change; and Lane Departure Warning that issues a warning when the vehicle drifts out of its lane.

2. Toyota Yaris

Starting at $14,895, the Yaris is a great deal for anyone wanting a car that is easy on gas, handles well and can hold a ton of stuff, particularly in five-door hatchback form. The 2015 model features an exterior redesign with a completely new look for the front and rear bumpers. The body structure and suspension system have been upgraded to create a more comfortable ride with better control. The 1.5-litre engine makes 106 horsepower and every Yaris comes standard with a 6.1-inch display audio system with USB input and Bluetooth capability. Hauling sports equipment or instruments is no problem with this hatch — there’s 286 liters of cargo capacity even with the rear seats up. Both a manual and automatic transmission are available, with the five-speed stick getting approximately 6.6 L/100 km in the city and 5.2 on the highway (manufacturer estimate).

3. Hyundai Accent

The most affordable car of the bunch, the Hyundai Accent starts at just $13,549 for the four-door sedan with a manual gearbox. Also offered in a five-door variant, the Accent utilizes a 1.6-litre “Gamma” four-cylinder engine (138 hp/123 lb-ft torque) with Gasoline Direct Injection. By precisely controlling the injection of fuel, Hyundai says it can improve fuel economy, increase power and reduce emissions. In addition, the Accent is more aesthetically pleasing than in past years, thanks to the now-signature “Fluidic Sculpture” design that gives the vehicle its curvy, flowing shape.

To read more on the models, learn about financing and to book a test drive, visit  

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights