Commencement Cars: Autobytel Names Its Top Vehicle Picks for Graduates

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IRVINE, Calif., June 6, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The editors at Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL), pioneer of the automotive Internet and the company dedicated to connecting automotive consumers with dealers, recently selected their top new and used car picks for graduates – vehicles that offer the younger set plenty of style, practicality, and safety.

"Like graduation, getting your first car is a rite of passage," said Autobytel Editor-in-Chief, Michelle Naranjo. "Unfortunately, a kid's 'dream car come true' can wind up being a parent's worst nightmare. That's why we selected a list of vehicles that boast plenty of style and creature features to please the younger crowd, with safety ratings and price tags to put a smile on their parents' faces."

For new cars, Autobytel chose models priced under $25,000. For used cars, Autobytel chose three-year-old models priced under $20,000. Following are a few of the top picks. For the complete list, visit

Autobytel's 2014 Top New Car Picks for Graduates

(Starting Price Denoted)

Nissan Frontier, $17,990

These days, pickup trucks are as much about making a style statement as they are about being utilitarian. When viewed through this prism, the ruggedly good looking Nissan Frontier stands out. While sized for easy handling, the Frontier can take on pretty much any task you'd want a pickup truck to accomplish. What's more, you can get the 261-horsepower V6 engine option and still be under $25,000. The Frontier earned a "Good" rating in IIHS crash testing.

Fiat 500c, $19,695

Italian style, great fuel economy, and a convertible top, all in a brand new car for under $25,000? Yes, it exists, and is waiting for you at your nearest Fiat dealer. With a 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine capable of producing 101 horsepower, it isn't exactly fast, but it will get out of its own way. What's more, the EPA says you can expect some 34 miles per gallon on the highway. NHTSA gave it four out of five stars overall.

Jeep Cherokee, $22,995

The first Jeep model to emerge since Chrysler started sharing platforms with Fiat, the Cherokee shares underpinnings with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. You can see a bit of Italian styling in the newest Jeep's face too. Boasting 31 miles per gallon on the highway from the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine option, the Cherokee promises to be inexpensive to operate while still delivering a strong feature set. The IIHS awarded the Cherokee its highest rating.

Autobytel's 2014 Top Used Car Picks for Graduates

(Average Asking Price Denoted)

2011 Honda CR-Z, $14,900

The first two-seat hybrid model to offer a six-speed manual transmission, the Honda CR-Z brought a previously absent aspect of entertainment to the hybrid marketplace. While its sleek body and two-seat interior might lead you to believe the Honda is a sports car, it is most assuredly not. The Honda's just a very cleverly packaged automobile, offering plenty of car for the money, with a 160-watt audio system, automatic climate control, the top safety rating from the IIHS, and four out of five stars in most of NHTSA's testing.

2011 Mini Cooper, $19,800

Squeaking in at just under the $20,000 Autobytel used price cap, the 2011 MINI Cooper Convertible is a highly desirable car with good build quality, very entertaining driving characteristics, and strong fuel economy. Admittedly, its safety ratings are just a notch below the absolute best, but that doesn't mean younger drivers shouldn't own one. Meanwhile, it boasts an eclectic interior treatment, up to 37 miles per gallon on the highway, and a commendable level of standard features.

Access the full article to learn more about the rest of the vehicles on the list, including the Ford Fiesta; the Kia Soul; the Honda Civic; the Nissan Altima; the Volkswagen Jetta TDI; the Hyundai Tucson; and the Toyota Tacoma.

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About Autobytel Inc.

Autobytel Inc. provides high quality consumer leads and associated marketing services to automotive dealers and manufacturers throughout the United States and offers consumers robust and original online automotive content to help them make informed car-buying decisions. The company pioneered the automotive internet in 1995 with its flagship website and has since helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers; and helped every major automaker market its brand online.

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CONTACT: Autobytel Inc. Media Relations Splash Media Jennifer Lange 949-916-4820 or Autobytel Inc. Investor Relations Curtis DeWalt Chief Financial Officer 949-437-4694 or PondelWilkinson Inc. Roger Pondel/Laurie Berman 310-279-5980

Source:Autobytel Inc.