As a driver, you probably wish everyone drove a little older. Meaning, if everyone drove like a mature, experienced driver, the roads would probably be quite a bit friendlier, safer, and more efficient. Stress levels would be down, travel times would get quicker, and less accidents would occur. However, that’s not what we’re referring to when we say drive your age, because the perfect world of driving doesn’t exist.
What’s a good car for you at this point in life? Are you a retiree, a recent college grad, or a blossoming driver on your way to road-going freedom? With so many choices out there, how do you know what to choose? If you want reliability, there are cars for that. Sporty performance with good gas mileage in return, there are even choices for that. For our third and final installment, we’re going to focus on the lowest age bracket for drivers: those who are just starting to get their feet wet. The first few days, weeks, and months of driving can be overwhelming, sometimes scary, freedom inspiring, and downright enjoyable. For possibly the first time in your life, you don’t have to rely on someone else to bring you where you need to go. Whether it’s for work, school, dating, or traveling, having a car is one of the best experiences of young adult life. You have to consider many factors when purchasing a car to drive: safety, fuel economy, is it fun, and will it be reliable? We’ve already told you of the cars you should avoid as a first time driver, and now, we’ve narrowed down the decision to some of the best of what’s out there for new drivers.
The less you have to worry about stopping and filling up, the more you can concentrate on learning the ropes of road-going awareness. We live in a time when there are plentiful options for cars with great fuel economy based on exterior style, interior room, amenities, safety, and the most MPG bang for your buck. Probably the undisputed champ of this is the Toyota Prius. A car that has gotten better and better with each generation and continues to deliver impressive MPG.
However, if the Prius lifestyle doesn’t fit into yours, make sure to take a look at the Chevy Cruze Eco, which has under the radar sedan styling, but a bit more normality than your other eco-friendly choices. There’s also the Honda Civic, a staple in the world for reliability, good gas mileage, and a logical first choice for a car. Finally, if you have no budget, go for a Tesla. Sure, they’re pricey, but the fact that you don’t have to rely on gas to get around; technology is abundant; and it’s one of the safest vehicles ever produced is good enough reason to splurge if cost is no option.
We’re not saying you’ll have your fair share of dings and dents, but it takes awhile to figure out the dimensions of a car before you have it down pat. So instead of getting a costly German sedan, why not go the opposite way with something you can afford to patch up if it comes down to it?
Cars that are good for beginners are ones that have sold a lot and have had a big production run, which means parts are readily available should need them and they’re cheap. Again, Honda Civics are great for this because they sell so many. Toyota Camry, Chevy Malibus, Kia Optimas, Mazda 6, Ford Fusion, and Hyundai Sonatas are cars that are built in the hundreds of thousands and will have parts on parts for if, and when you need them. Most of the time, you don’t need something truly flashy for your first time on the road.
Not only are hatchbacks really cool and generally good-looking automobiles, but they’re also very useful for everyday life. With a generous partition in the back that verges on being a wagon, the hatchback is great if you’re not toting around hordes of people on the regular. Fold down the rear seats and the hatch becomes a place to store all the fun stuff in your life: skateboards, dogs, bikes, etc. Hatchbacks are also on the relatively cheaper side of the automotive spectrum, which makes them great first cars that you don’t have to splurge on.
One of the best and most recognizable hatchbacks has to be Volkswagen’s Golf. Sure they’ve been getting negative press with their diesels, but that doesn’t mean that all their products should be skipped over entirely. Mazda makes a killer hatchback with the Mazda3; Ford’s Focus and Fiesta are surprisingly agile and fun commuters; Subaru Impreza offers all-wheel drive if you need more capability; and the Hyundai Veloster offers the most unique exterior personality.
Every modern car has to go through rigorous safety measures in order to be approved for production. This means that you’re safer and cars are built stronger to hold up to higher speeds and more accident-prone transportation with more and more drivers on the road. The list of cars on the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) ‘Top Safety Picks’ and safercar.gov 5-star ratings—powered by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)—has been growing exponentially year over year. Not only are cars safer, but also there are more of them to choose from.
Some of our favorite choices for safety are the Audi A4, which is always at the top of almost every safety test, plus with its luxury overtones, it’s a wonderful car to own and drive. Subaru is consistently safe, as are Acura, the Chrysler 200, Volvo S60, Hyundai Genesis, and the even the Honda Civic. There are many choices (which is a great thing for today’s drivers) so make sure you do research to find the vehicle that is right for you and your budget.
Let’s be honest: getting a car is one of the most liberating things in a young adult’s life, especially if you’re smart and safe about your purchase. When you have access to an automobile, the world becomes a little bit smaller of a place and your opportunities to see new things expands gradually. So, if you’re going to become a bit adventurous and not be concerned specifically with the monotonous task of just driving from A to B, a car is the epitome of that freedom.
You don’t need to purchase a Lamborghini to have fun and excitement. Volkswagens are incredibly fun and quirky. Pickup trucks offer utility and are great for heading to the mountains or the beach for snow and surf. A Subaru WRX is safe, offers AWD, and is sporty enough to satisfy the sort of fun that comes with the twists and turns of the road. Driving doesn’t have to be serious all the time, so get something you can enjoy and it will give back to you in multitudes.
Not your typical used car salesman. Our team is here to provide honest and transparent advice about car buying and selling.