10 Best Entry-Level Cars For New Drivers
- by David Chiodaroli
- – on
- in Car Culture
Buying a new car is already stressful enough for seasoned drivers, but for all the newbies out there, it can be overwhelming. With so many options to choose from, it’s hard for an inexperienced driver to know what they’re looking for. It’s almost enough to make a new driver want to tear up their provisional license in a fit of rage.
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Thankfully, there are plenty of great choices to choose from for the driver who’s just starting out. Here are 10 cars that every new driver should take a look at.
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10 Kia Rio
Kia’s entry-level car packs a whole lot of value at an extremely attractive price. Light, nimble, and fuel efficient, the Rio is perfect for drivers who want a compact car with the heart of a full sized option. Perfect for college kids and city drivers, the Rio is light and maneuverable, and handles heavy traffic with ease. And thanks to Kia’s quirky sensibilities, it’s also more fun to drive than most cars in its class. Truck space is generous, and despite its small looks, the inside of the car is more spacious than one would expect. If more space is a must, opt for the hatchback version that adds extra storage space.
9 Mazda MX-5 Miata
For the new driver who likes to lay back and have fun, look no further than the MX-5. Consistently listed as one of the best convertibles ever made, the Miata is a legend that makes the most of its fun-loving persona. One of the few cars that’s still sold with a manual transmission, the Miata is a great option for someone who wants to try their hand at a stick.
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And with an attractive starting price of $25k (USD), it’s great for those who are on a budget. For something a little more flashy, check out the Fiat 124 Spider, which is identical to the Miata but with distinctly European design ascetics.
8 Subaru Outback
The Outback is a legendary car that helped to bring all wheel drive to the masses. Durable, agile, and sturdy, the Outback has earned a reputation for reliability, safety, and longevity. Perfect for someone who loves to travel, the Outback has ample cargo space and plenty of room for passengers. And thanks to its high ground clearance and durable AWD powertrain, it’s perfect for areas that are prone to bad weather, particularly snow. For something smaller, opt for the Crosstrek, which Subaru markets as the Outback’s baby brother.
7 Toyota RAV4
It’s the best selling crossover for a reason. The car that made the crossover a household name, the RAV4 has built up a reputation as one of the most dependable vehicles ever produced. Like the Outback, it too is nimble and gets around in the snow and rain.
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However, the RAV4 is a better option for those who are new to SUVs, and want to try something smaller before choosing a bigger option, like the Highlander. That said, the RAV4 is perfect for small families or those who are just starting out, who want something compact but rugged enough to take whatever life has to throw at them. The RAV4 also comes in a hybrid for those who also want better gas mileage.
6 Hyundai Santa Fe
For those who want something bigger as their first ride, the Santa Fe is a good place to start. Big, but not too bulky, durable, but practical, the Santa Fe has everything one could want out of an entry-level SUV. With decent gas for a vehicle of its size, the Santa Fe also comes with available all wheel drive, plus a slew of premium features to spoil the new driver. A great family car, the Santa Fe is a safe bet for couples who are thinking of having kids. For those who want something a little bigger, check out the Santa Fe XL or Kia Sorrento, both of which have an added third row of seating.
5 Lexus UX
Yes, it’s a luxury crossover, but it’s also the least expensive model in Lexus’ lineup. The company’s entry-level car, the UX starts at a generous $32k (USD), which is priced even lower than some baseline Toyotas. While the UX may not have the same level of opulence that is expected from Lexus, it is the perfect foray into the premium market.
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Compact, yet with a decent cargo volume, it is perfect for city drivers, or those who want to make an impact with their first car. A hybrid option exists, which boosts the MPG to an astonishing 41 city/38 highway. For an even less expensive entry-level luxury crossover, check out the Buick Encore with available all wheel drive.
4 Kia Soul
Hatchbacks always make for good first cars, and the Kia Soul is one of the best on the market today. Introduced a little over a decade ago, the car made a splash with its head-turning add campaign that feature hamsters as its mascot.
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The Soul hasn’t forgotten its roots, and is still a quirky little car that’s perfect for young people. The Soul has nice cargo space, good seating, and a great street presence that strives to make an impression. And not only does a hybrid version exist, but the Soul also comes as an all-electric, perfect for new drivers who never want to deal with gas pumps.
3 Honda Civic
When Honda says there’s a Civic for everyone, they mean it. The car comes as either a sedan, coupe, or hatchback, each of which cater to different tastes. There are many people whose first, or second, or third car was a Civic, and for good reason.
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The Civic is reliable and long lasting, gets great gas mileage, and does well in any environment. While it lacks a hybrid version, the Civic Type-R, with its turbocharged engine, should be enough to disprove anyone who says that Hondas are boring.
2 Honda Accord
Owning an Accord is a sign of adulthood, though that doesn’t mean first timers can’t enjoy its benefits. Bigger than the Civic, the car is meant for commuters, who want something large enough to work as a decent family car, but something that can still get them comfortably to the office.
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Perfect for car-pooling, the Accord has good leg room in the back, so passengers don’t have to feel like they’re being squished. Higher models offer more luxury features, like leather-appointed seating, and a hybrid option also exists.
1 Toyota Corolla
There’s a reason why the Corolla is the best selling car ever made, and that’s because it’s an all around great car. A safe bet for anyone, especially new drivers, the Corolla is renowned for its gas mileage, affordability, and for being one of the longest-lasting cars in history. Chances are, a Corolla bought today will still work ten, twenty, even thirty years from now, and there are plenty of stories of Corollas breaking to 1 million mile mark. Corollas just last, and for new drivers, it could be the best investment they’ll ever make. Oh, and it now comes in a hybrid. Can we say more?
NEXT: 10 of the Coolest Classic Station Wagons
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