17 Best First Cars for New Drivers

Best First Cars for New Drivers
Photo by Simon Stratford

As any new driver knows, there are many factors to consider when buying your first car.


If you’re looking for your first car and are nervous about choosing the right one, don’t worry.

It’s not as hard as it might seem! There are lots of options out there that might be perfect for you.

We’ve got some tips on what to look for so you can find one of the best first cars for new drivers.

Here are some of our favorites!

1. Honda Civics

The Honda civics is first on our list of best first cars for new drivers. The Honda Civic has been a benchmark of reliability for years, and it’s easy to see why. It offers impressive fuel economy, quick acceleration, and fun handling.

Most importantly, Civics are very safe cars that have received excellent crash-test ratings. These are all essential qualities in a first car. Civics also comes equipped with standard airbags and antilock brakes. 

Remember that you’ll likely get a few speeding tickets while learning how to drive a stick shift! You can never go wrong with Honda civics.

2. Volkswagen Up

If you want to buy a new car, you choose one with a low likelihood of breaking down. The Up is small, cheap, and unlikely to encounter issues.

It also looks cool, which will make up for its less-than-stellar performance and handling. Furthermore, VW claims it does 0–62 mph in 11 seconds, but don’t worry about that.

With just 51 horsepower under the hood and front-wheel drive, you won’t be doing any racing anytime soon. Which do you consider suitable among our list of best first cars? Let us know!

3. Skoda Fabia Estate

The Fabia Estate is one of the great best first cars that are affordable and reliable. It’s also known as one of those cars that seem to be worth more than they cost. It also has good performance, with a top speed of 110mph (177km/h).

Being one of the best first cars, it can go from 0-to 60 in around 11 seconds. You can be sure it won’t get left behind on country roads. The interior isn’t spacious. 

However, there is enough room to take four people out comfortably on road trips. There is just enough boot space left over when you have filled it up with all your luggage and shopping.

4. Nissan Sentras

Nissan offers three models of Sentras, a compact car that is available as either a sedan or hatchback. With a starting price of $16,820, it’s one of the least expensive entry-level cars you can buy new. Several Sentra models come equipped with an all-wheel-drive (AWD).

Furthermore, they can be handy if you live in an area that snows or frequently rains during the winter months.

All Nissan Sentras have some features standard on every model. If you’re looking for one of the budget-friendly best first cars, Nissan Sentra S is for you.

For example, traction control and stability control along with front side airbags. All except for base-level models also come with antilock brakes and six airbags overall.

5. Mazda Miatas

Known as one of America’s classic sports cars, Mazda Miatas can be an affordable option for new drivers. If you have a few thousand dollars in savings Mazda Miata is your pick among the best first cars. These vehicles are known to provide both performance and reliability.

Performance and reliability are essential components when learning how to drive. They also come in four colors that typically appeal to younger generations: white, blue, yellow, and red.

If you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on your first car, it’s okay. Just check out a Miata! You’ll still get something fun and safe.

In addition, they’re commonly sold used as well, so if you have enough money saved up, you can check it out. If you like their style but aren’t ready to buy yet, try looking at an auto trader online. It is possible to find some great deals there!

6. Subaru Imprezas

A solid choice with a reputation for reliability. Subaru Imprezas are also reasonably good on gas and generally have low maintenance costs. They have standard all-wheel drive and provide significant traction in poor conditions.

Plus, they look nice. No beater cars here! On top of that, they’re safe. Thanks to its array of driver-assist features, the 2018 Subaru Impreza was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

So that you know, a 2018 Subaru Impreza model starts at $19,195. We had to add its unique features to our list of best first cars, just for you!

7. Mitsubishi Lancers

This family of cars from Mitsubishi has been around since 1970. This makes it one of the oldest names on our list of best first cars. It’s gotten mixed reviews, but new models have generally improved.

Although It’s called a Lancer, all are sold in sedan form. Some hatchbacks and wagons can be had elsewhere.

The 2013 Lancer is available as a 2-door or 4-door sedan, with two engines and multiple trims. 
All models feature antilock brakes and traction control. Rear disc brakes are also standard on some trims.

8. Chevrolet Cavaliers

When you’re looking to buy a new car and learn how to drive, you have quite a few options. With that in mind, it’s not always easy to pick out which car will serve as your first set of wheels. Most people go with something simple but reliable.

There is, however, no doubt that a Chevrolet Cavalier makes a solid choice. This popular model delivers excellent fuel economy and value at an affordable price.

This feature makes it ideal for new drivers to learn how to operate a vehicle while still on their learner’s permit.

However, if you don’t mind dealing with repairs often, you would be able to get good resale value if you choose to buy one of these cars used. It is one the fantastic best first cars you should consider buying.

9. Pontiac Sunfire

The Pontiac Sunfire is one of those cars you either know about or never heard of. These are some of the best first cars because they provide excellent fuel economy. They also have enough room to carry all your friends and their stuff.

Sun fires can also be had in a 2 door version—the Pontiac Solstice. The Pontiac Solstice is a sports car manufactured by GM. Although it looks like a convertible, it is a sports car.

10. Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is one of our best first cars for new drivers. That’s because it’s tiny and inexpensive but still drives like a real car. The 500 has just enough torque to be fun to move.

However, it’s not so much that you’ll give up your learner’s permit in fear of crushing pedestrians in a collision. It is nimble and has decent gas mileage (31 miles per gallon city / 40 highway). By far, its best feature is style.

In addition, if you like cars with character, there aren’t many as unique as a Fiat 500. The only downside? It’s been discontinued. You can still find used ones online or through local dealerships if you have one nearby.

11. Volkswagen Polo

The Jeep Cherokee has been a safe and reliable family car since it was introduced in 1974. The first Cherokee, also known as a Wagoneer, looked like any other SUV of its day. However, it came with boxy proportions and round headlights.

An early advertisement boasted that it was so safe you could drive it off a cliff and survive. The 1984 model had an optional electronic rollover-prevention system. It featured sensors that would apply brakes if your vehicle started to tip over.

It’s arguably one of the safest SUVs ever made. If you can find one of these best first cars, they’re worth about $5,000 on average today.

12. Seat Ibiza

Driving off-road is a massive benefit for learning how to drive. The Cherokee provides an accessible, entry-level version of that. Cherokees are all-wheel drive vehicles, so it’s one of the best first cars for a new driver.

Furthermore, drivers will be able to learn how different traction controls work. They also test their knowledge of what it feels like to drive under challenging conditions.

The Jeep Cherokee may not be a luxury car, but its durability and ability are great qualities for new drivers. Finally, If you’re looking to gain experience in all kinds of terrains, the Seat Ibiza is for you.

The Jeep Cherokee is also known for being affordable and reliable. This makes it a good choice if you’re buying your first car as a learner.

13. Ford Escorts

The Ford Escort has a great history of being a very safe and reliable car. The 1994-2002 models are often cited as one of America’s best cheap cars, and they have superb safety ratings. They do tend to be a bit cramped inside.

However, even old Escorts are reasonably comfortable cars to drive with modern technology. As long as you don’t need lots of space in your trunk, Ford escorts a good one. You’re on track for new drivers looking for an affordable car with low insurance costs.

A used Escort is an excellent choice amongst the best first cars. It won’t break any land speed records or wow passengers with its performance. Rest assuredly. It’s safe.

It will get them from A to B safely and reliably. A ford escort will save them money on repair bills and fuel costs along the way.

14. Jeep Cherokees

The Jeep Cherokee is one of those reliable vehicles and offers plenty of comfort. It’s great to choose from our list of best first cars, and it’s also very affordable. The Cherokee has multiple rows of seats.

No need to worry; there is plenty of space if you need to transport passengers or extra cargo. All Cherokees are equipped with a four-cylinder engine. There are two different trims available, Sport and Limited.

These two trims add leather seating, backup cameras, lane departure warnings, heated seats, etc. The Jeep Cherokee can fit five people. However, it can feel smaller than other SUVs because it has lower ground clearance than larger SUVs in its class.

15. Nissan Micra

The Micra is a nice car to start with because it’s easy on gas and cheap. It also gets decent mileage, so you won’t spend too much money on fuel. It’s also a great size and super light.

Don’t fret. If you do have an accident, you might walk away relatively unscathed. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite cars to drive in my free time! If you’re thinking about getting your license, I recommend getting a Nissan Micra as soon as possible! 

Plus, there are plenty of aftermarket options available for them at every price point imaginable. In addition to being cheap to buy and fun to drive around in, they’re surprisingly safe. The Nissan Micra made a list of the best first cars for a good reason!

16. Dacia Sandero

I would recommend a Dacia Sandero to first-time drivers or anyone looking to save money. These cars have a large storage capacity and are comfortable enough that you’ll still feel relaxed on longer journeys. They are also very cost-effective.

Furthermore, running costs will be low, although you might want to consider pay-as-you-go insurance. This would help keep your premiums down. A Dacia is cheap but good.

However, it won’t win any races, but it should get you from A to B with no problems at all. This is one of many great best first cars available.

Don’t worry if you can’t find a Sandero. It doesn’t mean you need to settle for something else. Of course, I hope my recommendation helps!

17. Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe is a popular compact electric car well-liked among drivers.

The car has safety features like six airbags and technology features like Bluetooth capabilities. It also has a large touchscreen dashboard.

It’s one of the most affordable electric cars on today’s market. This makes it an appealing option to new drivers looking to save money on gas and car insurance payments.

Additionally, if you have limited driving experience, you do not have to worry about running out of battery.

If it’s your choice on our list of best first cars, you might appreciate its long-lasting battery life. You can drive up to 230 miles before needing to recharge. Amazing!


Before you start shopping, know that what’s suitable for one new driver might not be right for another. Choosing between unique first best cars depends on age and driving experience.

Your car should match your lifestyle, needs, and, most importantly, your budget. We recommend talking to a few trusted friends or family members.

They would help you decide which type of vehicle is best suited to your personality and needs. Think about this before getting started with any shopping. Happy driving!

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