Affordable cars for young people…an oxymoron, right? Not necessarily. Car companies are now manufacturing lower-priced vehicles with all the bells and whistles that our generation has grown to expect in this technological era. An intense marketing campaign has been launched and Toyota, Pontiac, Ford, Saturn, and Honda are introducing hot new cars for the young adult market.
- The Toyota Scion is designed to “grab the attention of the teenyboppers, young adults and first-time buyers,” says Darryole Banks, a sales consultant at University Toyota in Durham, N.C. Toyota is promoting the Scion as a complete new generation of vehicles, but will only be releasing two models as of 2003.
The two models, CCX and BBX, are futuristic self-transforming vehicles. The CCX coupe has a hard, closed top, which can completely open up to accommodate four passengers as opposed to two. The BBX appears as an SUV and station wagon-type car featuring power windows and locks, plus a CD player with six speakers. Prices have not been finalized for either model, but Toyota anticipates that pricing will be well under $18,000.
- The Pontiac Vibe is an all-wheel drive, four-door hatchback car with room for five passengers. The Vibe’s base price starts at $16,340, running around $19,540 with all the gadgets. This vehicle features a power outlet on the dashboard that takes standard household plugs. The navigation system will help steer you in the right direction around campus while blasting music from the CD player that comes standard in every model. All models come with a 36,000 mile or 36-month warranty and get about 30/36 city/highway miles per gallon (MPG).
- Ford has revamped its Focus for 2003, which comes in two different models: the hatchback and the sedan. With a base price running at $13,295 and 26/34 city/highway MPG, the Focus gets a lot of mileage for the buck. It also has a CD/MP3 player standard in its ZX3 and ZX5 trims. Some even come with a standard single-disc CD player, like the hatchback ZX3 model. High performance SVT models cost about $19,100.
- The Saturn Ion is the replacement for the S-Series and comes available in the sedan or quad coup. Jeff Lovingood, a sales consultant in Durham says that the personalization, larger engine, and center-mounted display board are three of the most popular features of this car. The display board, which includes the tachometer and speedometer, is turned to face the driver. Instead of looking over the steering wheel, the driver can simply see it without having to adjust in his seat. The engine is the same as in the regular Saturn sedan, with 140 horsepower.
The interior and exterior also come with personalization opportunities. A trim kit comes with different colors and designs that can be added to the center console and on the top rails of the exterior. Leather seats, more interior room, better handling on the roadways, and rear access doors are just some of the new features in the Ion. Ion prices start at $11,510.
- The Honda Element could soon be termed the perfect college student car. This vehicle has ample space in the back and is designed to be a “dorm room on wheels,” according to PARADE magazine. The Element is a hybrid of an SUV and compact car featuring doors opening from the center out, a CD player, MP3 player and video game system outlets. A four-cylinder engine combined with the option of front-wheel or four-wheel drives makes this car a safe, gas efficient vehicle with a price starting around $16,000.
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