There's a reason everyone and their mother drives a Civic: It's a really, really good car. The turbocharged 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine is our top choice, available in the sporty Civic Si seen here, or in the still-quite-good base Civic models.
A Miata is always the answer, so we couldn't resist putting it on our list. It starts at $25,295, but we like the Club trim, which costs $29,155 and gets you Bilstein shocks, a limited-slip differential and optional Brembo brakes.
At some point in your life, everyone could use a truck, and we totally dig the Toyota Tacoma. A 2.7-liter engine is standard with 159 horsepower, but trust us, go for the 3.5-liter V6. The larger engine puts out 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet torque, all the better for hauling and towing.
If your post-academia plans entail convertible rock-climbing, you can't go wrong with the 2018 Jeep Wrangler. Even the lowest trim comes standard with four-wheel drive and a new electric soft top can easily bring in the sun.
If you know you'll be getting a big signing bonus (or have really generous parents), why not splurge on a Volvo XC40? And while you're at it, spring for the top-level Inscription trim, starting at $39,750.
The XC40's interior features sleek Swedish design, but it's way better than Ikea. A 9-inch touchscreen houses Volvo's Sensus infotainment system, and everywhere you look, the cabin is nothing but clean lines and lovely inlays.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are only available on the upper SV trim. Nissan's excellent ProPilot Assist lane-centering system with adaptive cruise control can be had as part of the SV Technology Package.
A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard, but we recommend upgrading to the 8-inch. Not only is it visually more pleasing, it also comes with Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit. VDC is a fully configurable dashboard that puts all information right in front of the driver. It's guaranteed to impress your Tinder dates.
Available with both front- and all-wheel drive, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, good for 147 horsepower. We recommending stepping up to a Limited or Ultimate trim, with 1.6-liter turbocharged engine putting out 175 horsepower.
The all-wheel-drive Subaru Crosstrek is great choice for adventure types who need to get to work, the hiking trails and nearly everything in between. A 2.0-liter engine puts out 152 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission in lower trims or a continuously variable transmission in higher models.
The Crosstrek gets Subaru's available EyeSight driver's aid technology, with lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control. The StarLink infotainment system now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.