College Students Dream of Teslas, But Drive Toyotas and Hondas

According to a new survey of College students and their cars from ValuePenguin by LendingTree, 56% of undergraduate college students have a vehicle with them while attending school, and while many of these undergrads might dream of Teslas, most drive around campus in Toyotas or Hondas, and drive dangerously.

  • The Most Popular College Student Cars are Toyotas (16%) and Hondas (15%). Rounding out the top five most common car brands for college students are Chevrolet (10%), Ford (10%) and Nissan (8%).
  • 79% of College Students Drive Used Cars But Dream of Teslas. 47% of students drive a car 10 years or older. And Men drive older vehicles than women. However, it doesn’t stop them from dreaming about owning a Tesla (15%) BMW (6%) or Mercedes (6%)
  • The Majority (31%) of Students Spent Under $10,000 on their Cars. 28% said their car cost between $10,000 and $19,999. Less than 1% of College students say they spent $50,000 or more on their cars.
  • Here’s how Students are Paying for their Cars. 22% of students paid for a vehicle on their own, and 10% say they split the cost with their parents. 69% of students with auto loans are at least partly responsible for the monthly payment, and 33% of this group say their monthly payment is $300 or more.
  • 77% of college students with cars admit to at least one dangerous driving behavior — some more unsafe than others. These include letting someone else drive their car (57%), cramming more people in their vehicle than the number of seats (26%) to the very dangerous habits of texting while driving (48%) or driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (9%).

ValuePenguin auto insurance expert Nick VinZant, says college students who drive dangerously baffle him. “Dangerous driving isn’t just dangerous to yourself and the people you share the road with — it’s also very expensive. On average, car insurance increases by 21% after a speeding ticket, 46% after an accident with injuries and 72% after a DUI. That’s on top of any fines, repair costs or potential jail time.” He adds, “College students need to understand the consequences of dangerous driving – especially if they’re struggling to afford their car expenses.”