It’s time to welcome the new and returning students of Boston. All 250,000 of them. In Boston, the first week of September is a very important (and crazy busy) time of year. It’s the beginning of true orientation for new arrivals (and reorientation for returning students) as everyone settles into their new locations and prepares for the year to come. One thing many students may find useful in the Boston area (or anywhere, really) is a car. So why not pick a car that will accommodate the needs of your school, your neighborhood and your future career (if you’re thinking longish-term investments)?
In a city with as many schools as Boston, each school has its own unique feel, and we have a list of cars we believe represents the best fit for some prominent Boston-area colleges. We’ve picked a dozen Boston-area schools we believe to be well-known, and we sincerely apologize if we left your institution out. With hundreds of schools in the Greater Boston area, we had to draw the line somewhere, and we drew it at 12.
Bentley University: If you’re a student going to Bentley University, you’re attending one of the most renowned business schools in the U.S., so you’ll want a car to fit your professional needs. The BMW X5 offers a great balance of practicality and professionalism. With the X5 you’ll have the style and luxury that are very popular in the business world. With it also come space, power and comfort for your drives around close-to-the-city suburbs like Waltham.
Berklee College of Music: Berklee students love music, and so does the Volkswagen Beetle. Back in 2013, Volkswagen introduced a new Fender Edition Beetle, equipped with a sunburst dashboard, 400-watt Fender Premium Audio system and a 10-channel Fender amplifier. Since then, Fender audio systems have been offered in the Beetle, guaranteeing that you won’t have to sacrifice sound quality just because you’ve left the studio. Thanks to the Beetle’s hatchback design, there’s also plenty of space for guitars, keyboards, trombones and any other instruments your education may require you to cart to class.
Boston College: When thinking of the vehicle fit for an Eagle, the Chevrolet Suburban definitely comes to mind. Boston College takes pride in its sports accomplishments, and it’s one of the few schools in the city that has a big football market. The Suburban makes an excellent tailgating vehicle. It’s extremely roomy and can hold all the grills and speakers you would need for the area around Alumni Stadium. The Suburban can also get you around Newton and Chestnut Hill pretty handily. Its large size may make it difficult to park in the city, but with the B, C and D lines all converging at Cleveland Circle, you’d be better off taking the Green Line into town anyway (and soon-to-arrive GPS tracking will make the Green Line all the more bearable).
Boston University: If you’re a Boston University student, there’s no better ride than the Subaru Impreza. It’s small and nimble, so you’ll never have a problem getting around and parking on Commonwealth Ave. Heading north to watch the Terriers take on the Black Bears, Catamounts or Wildcats? No problem—the Impreza’s impressive Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system laughs at snow (which will be super convenient when snow inevitably shuts down the B Line and you need another way to get down to Conte Forum for the next installment of the Battle of Comm Ave). Not only that, but the hatchback version of the Impreza even has enough room for a couple of hockey bags, meaning you won’t need to trek from your dorm to Agganis Arena with your hockey bag. Just toss it in the Impreza, and you’re off.
Brandeis University: Brandeis has a beautiful campus, one that possibly rivals the beauty of the Chevrolet Impala. That’s saying something. Of large sedans on the road today, none is anywhere near as good-looking as the Impala. Not only is the Impala a looker, it also fits life at Brandeis well, with plenty of space for all your friends to pile in and head off to Boston for the day, while still being practical enough to use as a daily driver in Waltham.
Harvard University: Harvard students may enjoy the luxury of the newly introduced Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. It’s a versatile and small sedan, and with a $30,000 base price tag, it’s an affordable introduction to the luxury brand. The new, luxurious, and powerful CLA is nimble enough to bounce around the streets of Cambridge and Allston. It also has a small frame for a sedan (advertised as a 4-door coupe), ideal for weaving through Harvard Square and parking around Harvard’s campus.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Despite being the brainchild of a Penn grad, the Tesla Model S fits MIT perfectly: It’s sleek, sophisticated and full of tech. Ride height not quite right? No worries, Tesla will send out a software update to fix it. Getting too much drag from your door handles? No problem, they retract when the car is in motion. Tired of fossil fuels powering your ride? The Model S doesn’t even know what fossil fuels are. With a 17-inch touchscreen display offering drivers complete command and control over the car, the Model S is proof that the future has arrived, a future driven in no small part by developments made at MIT.
Northeastern University: Bills are some of the worst things college kids have to worry about. Thankfully, if you’re a Northeastern student and drive a Volvo V60, you’ll never have to worry about paying for scheduled maintenance while you’re in school. Thanks to Volvo’s Safe + Secure Coverage Plan, new V60 owners receive 5 years/50,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance on their cars, fitting perfectly with Northeastern’s 5-year program. Not only that, the V60 is also quite the looker, and seeing you pull up in one will impress any co-op boss. Don’t think Volvo’s exciting enough for a college student? Think again—Volvo makes some of the most exciting cars on the road today, especially in the form of the V60 Polestar. With 345 hp and a 0-to-60 time of 4.8 seconds, you’ll never have trouble making it to an interview (or just keeping up with Boston drivers). Advantage: Volvo.
Suffolk University: Located in the heart of Beacon Hill, Suffolk University calls one of America’s most historic neighborhoods home. So what car should also call it home? The Volkswagen GTI, of course. Historic in its own right, the GTI made the hot-hatch segment what it is today. While there had been other hot hatches before it, the 1976 GTI was the first to achieve massive success, and it helped to carve out a place in the auto industry for legendary cars like the Mazda Mazdaspeed3, Ford Focus ST and Fiat 500 Abarth. Thanks to the 2015 version’s small wheelbase, large cargo area and 210-hp engine, the GTI is also the perfect vehicle for Suffolk from a practicality standpoint, making sure to minimize your parking troubles on Beacon Hill while also giving you enough space and power to pack up and leave some of the country’s oldest streets whenever you want, thoroughly enjoying the roar of the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine as you do.
Tufts University: If you are a Tufts University student, you may find yourself interested in the smart fortwo to drive around busy Somerville and Medford roads. A little history lesson for you: A former president of Tufts was a French-American named Jean Mayer, and he is credited with transforming Tufts into an internationally renowned school (he put Tufts on the map). The school also has a satellite campus in Talloires, France. These along with many other French connections with the University make the smart fortwo (one of the few cars produced in France and available in the U.S.) a good choice for Tufts. It’s also a very fitting car for Somerville and will allow you to zip around the city without having to worry too much about wasting gas or parking.
University of Massachusetts: The Chrysler Town & Country is a great choice for a UMass student no matter which campus in the system you attend. It also works as a pun, with Town representing UMass Boston and Country representing UMass Amherst (sorry we couldn’t fit Lowell and Dartmouth in as well). Anyway, whether you’re in town or the country, the Town & Country is great—it’s a good car for sports fans and especially good for carpooling to Foxboro to watch the Minutemen play at Gillette Stadium. And while you’re there, the Town & Country will allow you to tailgate with the best of them.
Wellesley College: Wellesley College is one of the most prolific women’s colleges in the world, and so entering students may find the Nissan Rogue worth looking into. It’s easy to see why the Rogue is Nissan’s second-best-selling vehicle, offering stylish looks, storage capabilities, an efficient engine and superb handling. It’s also interesting to see that the Rogue has one of the highest percentages of women owners. Wellesley students will find the Rogue to be a great choice for a suburb like Wellesley. The Rogue is the perfect medium-range car: It’s not too big to bring into the city, and it still has the space to accommodate any of your needs.
What car fits your nearest college or university best?
-jharrington and zwaller
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Used BMW X5
Used Volkswagen Beetle
Used Chevrolet Suburban
Used Subaru Impreza
Used Chevrolet Impala
Used Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Used Tesla Model S
Used Volvo V60
Used Volkswagen GTI
Used smart fortwo
Used Chrysler Town & Country
Used Nissan Rogue