Summer is here; for most of us this is one of the most exciting times of the year not because it's the time to go on a vacation and show off your hard earned beach bodies, but it's the time when high school students end an important chapter in their lives after the graduation march.

What to give your beaming graduate who's ready to begin a new chapter in college, then? Holding that diploma may be a great feeling, but holding the keys to a brand new car could very well be greater.

Receiving a car as a graduation gift could not just be all about rewarding a teenager, but it could very useful for the added convenience when going to college.

If the budget permits, here's our very own honor roll of the cars we think befit your child once he/she completes the graduation march; choices that revolve around cars that are practical, versatile, safe, comfortable and stylish.


For the graduates: Toyota Vios or Mitsubishi Mirage

The new Toyota Vios

The Mitsubishi Mirage (hatchback)

We all know the sacrifices of the valedictorian, the salutatorian, and the honor students are exceptional and deserve to have a car as graduation gifts, but how about the regular graduates who also studied hard to graduate?

We suggest two of the best selling vehicles in the market: the Toyota Vios or the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback (or the G4 sedan). Both are powered by compact, practical engines, and come with plenty of features that are a cut above what their price tags suggest.

They may be relatively basic compared to the others on the list, but it's the first step in the car ownership ladder, not to mention an incentive for them to study harder in college.


For the Honorable Mention: Ford EcoSport

The Ford EcoSport

For students who are graduating with honors, they deserve to have the Ford EcoSport urban crossover SUV as their vehicle for a job well done. It may not be as prestigious as, say, the Tucson or the CR-Z, but your kid won't feel left out. Quite the contrary, actually.

At PhP 975,000 for the top spec Titanium version, the EcoSport stands as a great choice and very well specced. Voice control, Bluetooth, space for 5 and economical to drive to and from college make it a proper choice for a hard working graduate.

If that's not enough, you won't have to worry about the flash floods common in the metro as the EcoSport can wade through waters 550mm in depth; about knee high.


For the Salutatorian: Hyundai Tucson

The 2014 Hyundai Tucson

Offering a good balance of style, space, practicality, usability and economy, the Tucson from Hyundai is a very good choice for a high achieving graduate.

While the CR-Z may be for sport, the Tucson is a great daily driver to and from college. The new versions (2014 update) come with a DVD navigation system so your new college student shouldn't get lost, and it also comes with a rear view camera for easy parking. Whether you opt for the diesel or gasoline variants, the Tucson is a befitting vehicle for your salutatorian.


For the Valedictorian: Honda CR-Z

The Honda CR-Z

Your kid has obviously been making many sacrifices in his or her social life to be able to top the class, so it's only fitting that they receive something befitting their efforts like this Honda CR-Z.

We bet you're thinking why not the Toyota 86 or the Hyundai Genesis Coupe? The reason behind that is that we think a rear-wheel drive car that makes 200 PS or more could be a bit too much power for a high school graduate, even though your child has proven that he/she is responsible. The CR-Z is the best compromise of the sports coupes.

Powered by a 1.5 liter engine with Integrated Motor Assist, the CR-Z is the most responsible of the bunch given its low emissions, outstanding fuel economy. It's also the most good looking of this group.

Your kid will be the envy of the college parking lot for sure because, after all, they've certainly earned it.