Here is our indispensable guide for the first time car buyer. We investigate and review the safest cars for teens as well as cars for first-time drivers. There are definitely some excellent options for good cheap cars out there that make for the best first cars around.
1. 2018 Honda Civic
While the Civic is small, it still packs a pretty good punch especially if you are buying a first car. There are a few engine options for the first time car buyer with both the 2.0 liter model and the 1.5 liter version providing excellent bang for your buck in terms of fuel economy. The turbo version predictably has a lot more power.
What many users like is that the Civic has a comfortable ride for the driver and passengers due to excellent handling and a spacious interior. The only small drawback seems to be the low design of the car itself – it isn’t always the easiest to get in and out, even for young legs.
2. 2019 Chevrolet Cruze Premier Sedan
The latest incarnation of the Chevrolet Cruze as the Premier Sedan is not only one of the safest cars for teens, it’s also a great option for those looking at cars for first-time drivers that want a good looking vehicle with all mod cons. The Sedan, as well as the hatchback, has had its looks updated which has extended to the interior with some great new technological features but also anti-collision features that will keep parents happy. These include automatic emergency braking and active lane control.
It’s a compact car that feels roomy on the inside, even for the back seat passengers. Additionally, handling is not only smooth but very secure.
3. 2019 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza is an incredibly functional and fuel efficient car for the first time car buyer. While not an SUV, which is often what teens may want when buying their first car, the Impreza still manages to handle much like one and it provides parents with some comfort as it is one of the most dependable cars out there, in any weather, given its All Wheel Drive.
Another attractive feature is simply how quiet the drive of the Impreza is on any road. Plus, it is very spacious inside, even for back seat passengers plus it has a very roomy boot. On the negative side, the engine is not particularly powerful, but it can still accelerate and at a decent pace and it offers excellent fuel economy – especially when you consider it is an all-wheel drive.
4. 2018 Mazda 6
The Mazda6 is an incredibly enjoyable car to drive, let alone when you are thinking about cars for first-time drivers or even good first cars for girls. It is very chic with a slightly sporty edge. Users will find it a little smaller than other good cheap first cars but the engine is responsive and able to provide 28 miles per gallon from the standard 2.5-liter engine that has a four-cylinder design. Users found the car to corner easily and the car seems to absorb all the lumps and bumps of a road, giving a very smooth, controlled drive.
For the worried parents looking for the safest cars for teens, the Mazda comes with a forward collision warning feature as well as city speed automatic emergency braking. Both come as standard and provide parents with some form of reassurance.
5. 2019 Toyota Corolla
The Corolla is a popular car for the first car buyer for good reason. It is a sedan model that has a quiet ride on the inside as well as providing passengers with smooth and comfortable journeys – whoever is driving. Some believe the SE version of the car is often deemed as having slightly improved handling to the standard model which does at least handle in one of the most secure fashions out there.
In terms of fuel, users can average about 32 miles per gallon, though highway driving can see users achieve about 43 miles per gallon which are attractive for those money poor teens. Other features they will like (though not all come as standard) are Bluetooth connectivity, climate control and a touchscreen radio that is very easy to use. Parents will like the forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems.
6. 2019 Ford Fiesta
There is a reason that the Ford Fiesta remains so popular when buying a first car. It is easy to drive and so is one of the best cars for beginners that you can buy. Now, it has MyKey, which is a way that parents can control or set limits in various things in the Fiesta. Obvious items include speed limits, a reminder to wear a seatbelt and even a limit on the volume that the radio can reach. MyKey works on a code basis – when the key is used that requires the limits, the car sets them. When a parent’s key is used, the limits are not enforced.
While the Ford Fiesta may be more pricey than many other of our best first cars, there is a good return on investment in terms of the space the car has and its practicality. It makes it exceptionally comfortable to drive for long periods of time, on the motorway or otherwise.
7. 2019 Hyundai Elantra
The Hyundai Elantra is not always an immediate thought when looking for good cheap cars, but with its spacious interior and excellent fuel economy, it deserves to be considered. It has a four-cylinder engine as standard. The 2.0-liter version is able to provide 33 miles per gallon though users do complain about the lackluster acceleration at times.
The most responsive version of the Elantra is definitely the Eco version, though this is obviously more expensive so this is a balance to find when looking at cars for first-time drivers, who often need a car that handles better. All Elantras provide a secure ride, however. One of the car’s biggest drawbacks is the engine and road noise during any highway journeys. That being said, this is still a great option for the first time car buyer.
8. 2019 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
The Nissan Sentra has been touted as an option when looking for good first cars for girls as well as simply looking for the best cars for teens. It is both responsive as well as secure though real driving enthusiasts may be disappointed by the stiff feel of the overall drive. Acceleration is also fairly slow. For those with the cash and the real determination, there are sportier turbo and NISMO versions available.
However, the Sentra sits tall on the road, which makes it easy for even parents to get in and out. Parents will also like how the taller position gives better sight of the road, while rear seat passengers won’t feel cramped in the roomy interior. Other excellent safety features include blind spot warning systems and rear cross traffic alerts. Additionally, the Sentra also touts forward collision warning as standard as well as automatic emergency braking.
9. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta
The Jetta is an excellent option for cars for new drivers. This is down to its fuel economy as well as user-friendly controls that make for an uncomplicated drive in its roomy inside cabin. Those that are not looking for at very cheap first cars will also like the choice of options available to upgrade this VW when buying a first car.
Users like the turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes in 1.4 liters as standard, though that can be a little slow at times, does provide a very quick acceleration when needed. Handling is secure making it one of the safest cars for teens and their need for speed coupled with their risky inexperience on the road. Other attractive safety features are the automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and blind-spot warning systems.
10. 2018 Kia Rio
While the KIA Rio may be exceedingly basic, it is at least one of the best cheap first cars out there, despite its sluggish acceleration and noisy interior. It touts a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that will get any first-time car buyers from a to b with no trouble, though perhaps not with the amount of fun that some best first cars can have.
Parents will like the front crash prevention systems while teens will love the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility that comes with the EX trim version. A good point to note is that the front crash prevention systems are not provided as standard on any of the Kia Rios bar the EX.
Cars for First Time Drivers
Buying first cars can be complicated affairs as often it requires finding the balance between safety and looks as well as cost. Cars for new drivers can be fun to drive however without scrimping on security or spending a great deal of money. It just takes a little time and effort, but given that cars are often a household’s most expensive asset, it pays to have some patience.