Whatever the financial circumstances, young buyers will surely share the desire for a car that is economical to operate…

While some lucky students may have received new cars as high school graduation gifts, the odds are most will have scrimped and saved from part-time to buy that first set of wheels.

Whatever the financial circumstances, young buyers will surely share the desire for a car that is economical to operate.

Here are five picks available in Canada for under $15,000 – all prices quoted exclude taxes and delivery charges.

Nissan Micra 2015

1. Nissan Micra – $9,998

The Micra is back after a 21-year absence and it’s a more than welcome return. It has a European style, boasting 60/40 split rear seats and back seat heating ducts as standard fare.

A 1.6-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine matched to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic transmission powers it and the estimated fuel economy is 8.6/6.6 L/100km (city/highway).

2015 Chevrolet Spark

2. Chevy Spark – $11,945

The Chevy Spark is cute as a bug. Its list of standard safety features, which includes 10 air bags, helped make it an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick for 2014.

Extra dollars bring techy additions that transform it into a Wi-Fi hotspot and enable the downloading of useful in-car apps to aid navigation. An Ecotec 1.2-litre, four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed tranny, provides the Spark! Sips gas at 6.4/5.7 L/100kms (city/hwy).

KM 05 2015 Toyota Yaris

3. Toyota Yaris Hatchback – $14,255

At the time of writing, only the 2014 version is available but the new look 2015 is on its way, so look for deals on the outgoing car.

The proven 1.5-litre engine and five-speed manual transmission remain – currently offering a fuel economy of 6.7/5.5 L/100kms (city/hwy) – and pricing will likely be similar with added features. Power windows and a 6.1” display audio multimedia system with USB audio input and Bluetooth capability will be standard.

2015 Ford Fiesta

4. Ford Fiesta – $14,394

Shop around because I’ve seen discounted base models recently for the sedan and hatchback versions recently.

Ford is about connectivity and few extra dollars will add desirable tech features to the info/audio system, which already includes a USB port. The base engine is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine or the new three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is an option. Both are gas-miserly: 7/5 L/100kms (city/hwy) for the 1.6, 6.2/4.3 for the three-banger.

2015 Honda Fit

5. Honda Fit – $14,635

The very reliable Fit has been redesigned for 2015 and now include Bluetooth connectivity and a rear-view camera as standard equipment. It also gets a boost in power with a new 1.5-litre engine, matched to a 5-speed manual shift that pumps fuel at the rate of 7.1/6.5 L/100km (city/hwy).

**********

Five more notables worth a long look: Hyundai Accent sedan $15,169; Mitsubishi Lancer sedan $14,998, Kia Rio $15,480; Dodge Dart $15,995; Mazda2 $14,450.

Also today, Bob McHugh picks five used cars that sell for under $10,000 – all Driveway content can be viewed online at drivewaybc.ca.

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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