Fifth-best back-to-school car: 2013 Honda Civic
Base price: $17,965
Honda (HMC) gave its flagship Civic an unusually extensive update for 2013 after critics and consumers panned a 2012 complete redesign, and Allan says young drivers will love the revamped model's added technology.
For instance, the 2013 Civic comes standard with Pandora (P) radio and voice-activated text messaging, which many rivals offer only as options.The base Civic coupe also comes standard with manual transmission and a 140-horsepower four-cylinder engine that combine to produce a good 28 mpg/city and 36 mpg/highway (optional automatic transmission adds 3 mpg to highway mileage). There's also a $19,745 Civic HF sedan that gets 29 mpg/city and 41 mpg/highway and a $24,360 Hybrid Civic sedan that offers 44 mpg/city and 44 mpg/highway.