Buying a first car is a tremendously exciting experience if you take your time, choose wisely and spend conservatively. A first car is a car that is going to introduce you to the wonderful world of motoring, and it should be a car that is indeed used, cheap to run, and easy to drive.
If you are looking for a $10-20k used hatchback, a VW Polo seems like a great value for money. If you want a $10-20k used SUV, a used Hyundai Tucson is also a popular choice. A great used $10-20k sedan as your first car could be the Mercedes C-Class.
If you are willing to spend $20-30k for a used compact car, the Honda Civic is a great option thanks to its stout reliability and fairly modern technology. The Audi A6 also seems like a great option in this price category, and so does the Lexus RX 450H.
First used car considerations
Before spending your hard-earned money on your first car, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. First and foremost, a slight increase in your budget is always going to give you that bit more, and it’s the same story for sub or over $50k, so be sure about your budget and stick to it.
Furthermore, always do a pre-purchase inspection, if the seller is reluctant to inspect the car, you should just walk away because it probably means that the car is not as listed. Secondly, make sure that you take the car out for a test drive, and drive it as long as it takes for you to be sure you are making the right decision.
Thirdly, always ask for as much documentation as possible, and also verify it before making any decisions. Service history should also be available, and just take your time when buying a car. Being patient might save a lot of trouble, go through a bunch of different listings, talk to someone with more experience, gather as much info as possible.
Be honest with yourself about what you need the car for. If it’s your first car and you don’t have all that much experience, try considering something more sensible because of lower additional costs such as insurance and other running costs.
Best $10-20k used first car
A $10-20k first used car is more than enough, and this price region is the one to look out for when buying your first car. Consider your first car as a testing bed for future car purchases as you are able to learn what it takes to own and maintain a car, and all the little compromises you have to do down the line.
And for that very reason, a VW Polo is a great choice. A $15k 2016 VW Polo is a great first car because the Polo has always been an upmarket small car not far from the larger VW Golf. The VW Polo is great for city driving, and it also offers a comfortable and technology-packed interior.
If you want an SUV, the Hyundai Tucson is one of the most popular choices in this price category. And it’s easy to see why because you can source out a decently optioned out 2016 Hyundai Tucson for $15-20k. The Tucson offers excellent reliability, and the general ownership costs are also class-leading.
But if you want a more luxurious first car option, the 2015/2016 Mercedes C-Class seems like a great option. The C-Class offers mini S-Class luxury features, punchy and reliable engines, decent interior and cargo space, and excellent fuel efficiency which makes it a fairly commendable first car option.
Best $20-30k used first car
If you are willing to spend a bit more money, a $20-30k used car will offer you everything you need for a luxurious first car experience. Going above $30k for your first car is fairly rare, and some would consider it to be unsensible as well.
Nevertheless, a 2020 Honda Civic is a perfect first car because it offers modern-day technology, efficient and almost bulletproof engines, and a nicely balanced chassis. The Honda Civic has always been one of the best first car options out there, and the 2020 model is no different.
If you want a true executive sedan, a 2018 Audi A6 can be bought for under $30k in great condition. The 2018 A6 offers styling that looks fresh even after the newer model was released, and the number of engines on offer are also fuel-efficient and fairly reliable if maintained correctly.
The 2016/2017/2018 Lexus RX 450H is also a great option for anyone. This SUV offers class-leading reliability and fairly low running costs thanks to its hybrid powertrain. The 450H offers seating for 5, a robust build, and lots of plush leather and other luxury and technology amenities for under $30k.
What should I do after buying my first car?
After you have finalized the deal, you should insure and register the car and transfer the title. You should keep your regular maintenance in check and always do the necessary repairs immediately if possible. Take your time familiarizing yourself with the car’s features and try to understand all the necessary functions your car offers.
Test it out on higher and slower speeds, try to feel out the brakes and the clutch if you opted for a manual. Listen to your car whenever you start it up and drive it, and look for any weird noises. You ought to buy a proper set of tires when the time comes to replace them.
Should I consider a new or a used car as my first car?
It’s probably best that you buy a first car used because it makes much more sense financially. Plus, you are only starting to get into the world of car driving, and you have to experience a bunch of different scenarios to truly be sure about which car is perfect for you.
Used cars are not what they used to be because these days there are a bunch of pre-owned certified programs that are keen to ensure that all the used cars they offer are as dependable as they can be. Always consider buying used, no matter your age or experience.
Which car type is the best as a first car?
You should buy something smaller to start with, a car that offers great visibility and maneuverability should be at the top of your list. But if you already have some experience, go for the type of car you want.
But be sure to think beforehand, because buying a full-size baller machine sedan/SUV in crowded city centers can end up being extremely stressful. Balance out your needs and wants and always consult with someone you trust.