September 05, 2012 09:31 ET

Big Car On Campus

autoTRADER helps students purchase used vehicles with essential first-time buyers checklist

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 5, 2012) -

Attention: Automotive/Lifestyle Editors

With thousands of young Canadians packing up dorm essentials and heading off to university this month, the temptation to turn up in a hot ride may leave them with more than tuition fees to fund. While buying a used vehicle can help alleviate the heavy price tag, a recent study conducted by showed that more than half of Canadians opted for style over safety when purchasing a car as students. This can be especially risky for those in the used car market where research is critical. While a new car may be ideal, many students cannot afford such a luxury. Used cars provide the much-needed transportation as well as the style – if they know what they're looking for.

Based on the revealing study, over half of surveyed Canadians strongly agree that having access to a car during university/college years allows students to do and accomplish more. Considering the tight budgets students live on, over 40 per cent of Canadians favored milk crates above furniture costs and would even surrender beer money to save for access to a vehicle. But the first mistake first-time car-buyers are making is not doing their homework before getting behind the wheel. In fact, 66 per cent of Canadians felt that style trumped safety when purchasing a car - discrediting looking for the features that can make a used car last. Fifty-eight per cent of first-time buyers also chose form over function, opting for a car that would increase their social profile on campus before a roomy or environmentally-friendly ride.

"In reviewing the search data, we can see that image is clearly an important consideration for young adults when it comes to buying a car," says Ian MacDonald, Director, Consumer Marketing, "We want to make sure that young Canadians are making informed decisions when it comes to first-time car-buying, helping them choose a vehicle that they'll be proud to drive, while being equipped with modern safety features that can keep them safe."


To help young Canadians buy their first used car and guide users through the process, the car buying experts at compiled a checklist that ensures no critical steps are missed when it comes time to making the big decision:

  1. First things first, establish a realistic budget and take care not to be carried over it. Students should take care to have a close look at living expenses including accommodation, food, clothing and miscellaneous fun. Once those are calculated, what remains can be spent on a car payment, fuel, car insurance and maintenance. autoTRADER's Car Payments Calculator can help make this process a smooth one.
  2. Identify and prioritize what you want and do the research. Although style if tempting, reliability is arguably the most important factor as you are likely to be buying an older car and the costs if something goes wrong could add up. Reading consumer and professional reviews on sites such as whilst determining transportation needs as well as fuel efficiency, seats for carpooling, safety features, and yes, style, will help buyers pinpoint the right car faster and easier.
  3. Take a good look at the car. Ensure the fluids are fresh, the lights and brakes are in excellent working condition, and check the frame isn't rusted. If you can get it to a trusted mechanic for an inspection, it's worth the time. If not, make sure you cover the basics using autoTRADER's Used Car Buying Tips section. Used cars can feel just as modern as new ones if they've been looked after.
The team recommends these cars as a starting point for those needing inspiration. Each achieves a good balance of style, safety, affordability and reliability.
Subcompact Car: Honda Fit
Subcompact SUV: Scion xB
Compact car: Mazda3
Compact SUV: Kia Soul
Compact Sporty Car: Acura RSX

By helping students identify their wants and needs when purchasing a car, ensures that they will find a vehicle that is not only affordable, practical and safe but stylish, as well. With more cars than any other website available on, first-time buyers are able to choose the car most suited to their requirements and start the school year off right.

TRADER Corporation is a trusted Canadian leader in online media, managing automotive consumer marketplaces and publications. The company's primary online destinations include:™,™, and offers The Most Cars in One Place™, with the largest inventory of new cars and inventory of used cars in Canada, available via our website and mobile applications. Visitors buy or sell cars, trucks or other motorized vehicles quickly, easily and conveniently. Buyers can search based on vehicle model, make, colour and geographic location to find the deal that is right for them. is the online destination for auto enthusiasts, featuring car news and car reviews from well-known automotive journalists. Follow on Facebook at or on Twitter at

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