Not everyone likes the facelifted look of Mazda's hot hatchback that appeared in 2010, but it's thought to be a bit more reliable than the 2007-2009 models, which are still quite reliable by the way. It has five-door practicality with a surprising amount of space to help haul goods for the annual move between dorms or apartments. It can pull 25 highway mpg, it's not crazy expensive to maintain, and the 263-horsepower turbo four with a limited-slip front differential makes the MS3 an absolute blast to drive.
The only downer might be insurance costs since this is the performance model, but the standard Mazda3 is always a viable option if that's the case. The best part is KBB's private party value of just $8,384 with 100,000 miles on the clock, or lop another 30,000 rounds off the odometer for a $10,000 price tag. That will get you a proper hot hatchback that should last all the way through grad school.
– Christopher Smith