How many times have your parents told you that choosing a major is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make? It sets you up for the rest of your life -- and your future career. Well, once that tough decision is finally made, another important choice you'll consider down the line is your car. To pick the ride that fits your future career, check out our list of top majors.
The art of business -- whether you start your own or are simply trying to impress your boss -- is all about schmoozing. So it only makes sense that a business major should own a flashy, but sensible, ride. The Chrysler 300C, for example, features class-competitive back-seat space for clients along with a dramatic exterior and powerful acceleration that are sure to impress.
If you can't afford the 300C (or its dismal 18 mpg fuel economy) on an entry-level salary, try the Chevy Malibu. Clients will surely appreciate the roomy seating and comfortable suspension. Plus, the Chevy looks good without trying too hard. AutoWeek says, "When young people are checking out the Malibu and giving it their approval, you know Chevy might have a winner on its hands." The base Malibu nets 25 mpg combined, while the new hybrid model nets 27.
As a psychology major, you probably want to be at peace with your surroundings -- and that means your car, too. In a 2002 article called "Beyond Fung Shui," author Joe Queenan details a new phenomenon called "feng che," which means "wind" and "vehicle." Queenan writes that rounded automotive features are most important to a calm in-car experience, noting, "Basically, you want to go small and curvy, with nice scalloped headlights and fenders." The article cites the discontinued Toyota Previa as the only truly feng che vehicle.
However, by the curvy definition, several other vehicles may fit the bill, especially the new Smart Fortwo. Or, if you want more cargo space, the Honda Fit hatchback might do as well. Plus, on the off-chance that you're a therapist and need to hold an appointment in your car, the Fit has your back -- literally. The car's "Refresh mode" enables the front seatbacks to fold level with the rear seat cushions to create seats long enough for someone to lie down. The Family Car writes, "You can seat yourself in the back seat and have the feeling of sitting in a chaise lounge."
Science majors know the toll that gasoline-powered vehicles are taking on our environment. So, why not use that knowledge to reduce your own carbon footprint? According to J.D. Power's 2006 Automotive Environment Index, the most environmentally-friendly vehicles include the Ford Escape Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius. Non-hybrids on the list even include sportier options such as the Mazda3, Acura RSX and Mazda MX-5 Miata.
Another way you can display your smarts is by picking a car that is less hazardous to your own health. The Ecology Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit known for its work on environmental health issues, explains that "chemicals that off-gas from parts such as the steering wheel, dashboard, armrests, seats, and carpet" of new cars "become part of the air we breathe, contributing to 'new car smell' and a variety of acute and long-term health concerns." According to the Center, the healthiest new car is the Acura RDX, with the Smart Fortwo coming in a close second.
If you're an English major, you might end up writing for a living, which means journalism is a likely career. That means you'll need a vehicle that can get you quickly from lead to lead and help you stay under the radar. The Mazdaspeed3, Volkswagen GTI and Subaru Impreza WRX all provide quick acceleration along with relatively tame exteriors. Plus, their affordability should mesh nicely with a reporter's salary.
For tech geeks, a high-tech car isn't just a way to get from point A to point B -- it's part of a lifestyle. Have trouble driving at night? For those of you who snag high-paying jobs with late hours, BMW's 5-Series and 6-Series feature a night vision system that can detect humans, animals, and objects on the road ahead using thermal imaging. Want to know if a traffic jam is ahead? The Acura RL features AcuraLink, a service that integrates real-time traffic information with the navigation system.
If you're on a budget and still want some high-tech gadgets, Chrysler's new MyGIG multimedia system is available in the Sebring sedan. The system stores music and photos on a 20-Gigabyte hard drive and features a high-speed USB port for data transfers. There's also Ford's Sync system, which features smart voice recognition and integrates your cell phone and digital music players. It's available in the Focus and Taurus sedans.
For those who plan on running for public office, it's best to have the most politically-correct car possible -- which means it needs to be American-made, and more importantly, environmentally-conscious. A perfect example is presidential candidate Barack Obama's ride of choice, the Ford Escape Hybrid. Not only is it manufactured by a storied American automaker, but at 32 mpg combined, it's the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market.
If you're not into SUVs, there are plenty of politically-correct sedans. Though it's not American-made, the most fuel-efficient car on the market it the 46 mpg Toyota Prius. It's become the car of choice for celebrities who want to flaunt their environmentally-correct beliefs -- most notably Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz.
For a closer look at these career-friendly cars, see our slideshow.