Head back to class with the best tech on wheels
Fiat 500, 500e, or 500 Abarth
Take your pick: The Fiat 500 is a perfect, parkable city car with plenty of space for people and things. The 500C and 500 Gucci offer a healthy doses of style. The turbocharged 500 Abarth is hot hatchback driving fun. The fully-electric 500e is one of the best zero-emissions rides this side of Tesla. There's a Fiat 500 for pretty much everyone.
Specialized Turbo electric-assist bicycle
Most of my college years were spent not in a car, but astride my trusty bicycle -- two wheels can be the best way to get around a crowded campus. Specialized brings the bike into the 21st century with an electric assist system that's fast and effortless while still retaining a natural feel.
GoGroove SmartMini BT
For those looking to add smartphone audio and handsfree calling to practically any car's stereo, there's the GoGroove SmartMini BT. With FM transmission, Bluetooth, and a pair of analog audio connections, the SmartMini is the swiss army knife of car connectivity kits.
Sony MEX-GS600BT CD/Bluetooth car stereo
It crams USB connectivity, Bluetooth wireless tech, and improved audio into a single-slot car stereo, but the Sony MEX-GS600BT's most impressive trick is its ability to take over a connected smartphone, launching audio streaming and navigation apps without fiddling with the handset. Looking for something a bit simpler and a lot cheaper? Alpine's CDE-141 is an excellent car stereo replacement that can be had for well under $100.
Bracketron Mi-T Grip
Using a combination of a tacky suction cup material and a firm gripping arm, the Bracketron Mi-T Grip will hold most smartphones firmly to pretty much any solid surface. This is my current favorite in-car phone mount and one is semi-permanently installed in CNET's own test car.
2013 Subaru BRZ
The tech's a little low, the dashboard's a little cheap, and it's a little light on power, but the 2013 Subaru BRZ is still an absolute treat: probably the most fun that you can have in a new car for under $25K. Alternatively, you can choose the mechanically identical Scion FR-S, if you really like orange paint, or the BMW 135is, if you've got money to blow.
Parents worried that all of these fast cars and tech will cause more trouble than good can get themselves a little something to put thier mind at ease. The Textbuster app and hardware combo locks teens' smartphones while driving to reduce distraction and improve safety.