Car Gifting for Grads

By Don Armstrong

As parents or grandparents, we love all the hubbub graduation brings with it and the perfect gift may be at a nearby dealership right around the corner. In this edition of Bay Area Houston Magazine, we look at a couple of top “gifting” contenders.

Hyundai Elantra
Packaged in a nicely re-sculpted metal jacket, the 2019 Hyundai Elantra comes with a pretty good reputation for reliability. And let’s face it, we want our grads to get wherever they’re going without being stranded in the middle of nowhere in the old family hand-me-down.

Pricing, of course, plays a huge part in this selection process, so with a sticker starting at $17,200, we can already hear the bell ringing.

Even the base SE model has those the “must-have” features such as power mirrors, a rearview camera, height-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with a 5-inch display and USB port.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter, 147-horsepower 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 29 MPG-city and 38-highway. I taught my 16-year old how to row the gears of a manual transmission so you may consider it too, it could come in handy someday. Add a few dollars to the base price and get the automatic transmission, if you must.

Another “persuader” is its warranty. The 2019 Elantra comes with a 5-year, 60,000-mile certificate.

2018 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

Mitsubishi Mirage G4
The new Mitsubishi Mirage compares nicely to the Elantra on many levels, including mileage, amenities and warranty, but in the affordability category, this Thailander wins hands-down. Starting at a mere $14,795, the G4 gets into pre-owned pricing territory. Do we have your attention?

The Mirage G4 – what Mitsubishians call the sedan – gets several upgrades in 2019, including a touchscreen interface, rear view camera and Bluetooth connectivity, all necessary items for our generation “Z”ers.

Powered by a tiny 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine, the Mirage is rated at 35 MPG-city and 41-highway. A continuously variable transmission maximizes its lowly 78-horsepower output.
The interior is stark compared to what most of us are used to but think how it will be used and abused.

Safety should also be a major consideration and the Mirage passes in all 5 categories.

From someone with experience in “gifting” autos, don’t get anything other than the base model. Your grad won’t know the difference and you can spend the money you saved on a nice, little presentation party.

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