The 13 Most Dependable, Affordable & All-Around Best Cars for Teachers

WeAreTeachers readers name the best cars for teachers, including the Subaru Outback, Toyota Sienna, and more.

Best Cars for Teachers

The WeAreTeachers team asked our readers to share the best cars for teachers and then our editors went to work researching each and every one. The result? Thirteen automobiles—all under $30,000—that teachers and car experts recommend.

If You Get Tough Winters…   


Try the 2016 or 2017 Subaru Outback (starts at $25,000)…

…or the 2016 or 2017 Subaru Forester (starts at $25,000)

These Subaru models show up on many best-of lists. Consumer Reports says that the 2017 Forester hits “the sweet spot among small SUVs” and that it “delivers a spacious interior, impressive safety equipment and crashworthiness, and outstanding visibility in a right-sized, affordable package.” Ask anyone: these cars are good enough to buy even if you live in California and have forgotten what “winter” means.

Teacher Review: “Love my Subaru Forester. 103,000 miles and still going strong, safe and reliable in all kinds of weather (I’m in western N.Y.), and lots of storage space!”—Ashley M.

Educator Discounts?:  Possibly. While Subaru doesn’t offer a national discount for educators, some local dealers do. Be sure to ask. What Subaru of America does offer is special financing for recent college graduates and a Subaru Customer Loyalty program.

If You Want to Spend Less on Gas…  

Try the 2016 Toyota Prius, $24,200 -$30,000

…or the 2016 Toyota Prius V., $27,540 – $31,800.

The Prius is on the Consumer Reports list of best cars of 2016. They say the car got lots of improvements in 2016, including 18% better fuel economy and “sharper handling.” And it was already great.


Car and Driver says that the Prius V “might be the ultimate utility vehicle,” because of its great fuel economy and station wagon design.

Teacher Review: “I love my Prius. [They’re great] especially if you have a little bit of a commute. Also, I feel hatchbacks are a must for teachers. All those bags and crates…”  —Jaime B.

Teacher Discount? Depends. There’s no national teacher discount program at Toyota, but check your local dealer, which may very well offer an educator discount.

If Your Commute Is Long…   

Try the 2017 Ford Fusion (starting at $22,610)

…or the 2017 Chevy Cruze (starting at $18,525).

The Fusion is attractive, solid feeling, and fun to drive. Consumer Reports says that it “ranks among the best-handling midsized sedans we’ve tested, making it rewarding and fun to drive.” The Chevy Cruze is also a good buy. Car and Driver notes that the Cruze is “great for long-distance trips with well-shaped front seats, a quiet interior, and a huge trunk.”

Teacher Review: “I got a Ford Fusion recently, about six months ago. I got $700 off for being a teacher. No kidding. Great car. Super light on gas, huge trunk, nice seating space. I feel safe in it too.” —Nicole W.

Teacher Discounts? Yes. Chevrolet and Ford both offer teacher discounts, although the Chevrolet program is more straightforward. Check out the Chevy Educator Discount program. To find out if you qualify for a Ford discount, ask your school or district if they have a member number for the Ford Partner’s program, which has 4,000 member organizations, including some schools.

If You Crave Luxury…  

Try the 2017 Buick Verano (starting at $21,056)

 …or the 2016 Lincoln MKZ (starting at $26,000)

…or a 2015 Kia Cadenza (starting at $21,775)

…or a 2017 Toyota Sienna (starting at $29,750).

The feel of luxury in a smallish car, the Buick Verano rates pretty high with the experts and is noted for its extra quiet interior. Last year’s Lincoln MKZ is also a good bet if you’re looking for smooth beauty. And a two-year-old Kia Cadenza is a large, luxurious sedan for a great price. Finally, the Sienna is the most reliable minivan you can buy, comfortably holds 8 passengers, is beautiful, and has all-wheel drive. So, while it’s not really classified as a luxury vehicle, it is so roomy and smooth and there are just so many cup holders that you might feel pretty fancy in it.

Teacher Review: “Years ago, I had an Infinity i30. Loved that car … The best thing about the Infinity was a quote by one of my students: ‘Ms. Schuler has the coolest car in the WHOLE parking lot!’ Stephanie S.

Teacher Discount: Mixed. There’s no Kia discount for teachers, and no national teacher discount at Toyota either, but Lincoln and Buick, both part of Ford Motor Company, offer discounts to participating institutions, including some schools. Check with your school to see if they have a Ford Partners X-Plan program ID number.

If You Just Wanna Have Fun…  

Try the 2016 Fiat 124 Spyder (starting at $24,995)

…or the 2017 Mazda 3 (starting at $18,680)

…or the 2011 Porsche Cayenne (starting at $27,975)

Consumer Reports says that the Fiat is more comfortable, more powerful, and turns better than the Miata. But the Miata is also fun to drive, reliable, and inexpensive.

Teacher Review: “After driving a minivan for ten years, I just purchased a Porsche Cayenne. Why do teachers have to be practical?!? It’s fast and fun!” Courtney C.

Teacher Discount? Mixed. Through the Chrysler Affiliates Rewards Program teachers are eligible for discounts on new Fiats. On the other hand, Mazda doesn’t offer national discounts especially for educators, but they do have a loyalty program worth $500 for return buyers. Porsche doesn’t offer teacher discounts.