For some, buying an automatic as a first car is the preferred option as automatics are way easier to drive and navigate. For others, manuals are better as they will enable you to learn how to drive on a more difficult platform which should in theory make you a better driver overall.
The best first automatic car value-wise is a used VW Golf, especially the Mk7 generation. The newer Mk8 Golf is considerably better, but many car reviews deem it a bit too cheap feeling and basic. So it’s rather a good idea to check out a well-equipped used Mk7 Golf facelift.
Another great value proposition is a used Ford Fiesta. The Fiesta is an incredibly popular car, and many Fiesta owners regularly upgrade only when a new Fiesta model comes out. And with such a loyal customer base, the Fiesta certainly is a good car, and especially so as a first car.
If you are young, chances are that you are more environmentally conscious compared to the elderly generation, and in that case, you should consider the Toyota Yaris Hybrid as your first car. This Yaris model is rather affordable, reliable, and efficient.
An essential aspect to buying your very first car is the price because cars are expensive to buy, run and maintain. The insurance costs will be high because it’s your very first car, and you might face tons of unexpected costs down the line so you need to be price cautious.
And probably the best value proposition is a DSG Mk7 VW Golf as this VW Golf generation is arguably the best looking one out of the entire VW Golf family tree. As mentioned previously, Mk8 Golf is somewhat of a mixed bag a few months after it entered production.
To be clear, the Mk8 Golf generation is a certain upgrade from the Mk7, but the build quality and design are a bit non-Golf-like. But the best thing about the Mk8 Golf is that since the Mk8 has been released the used prices of the Mk7 generation are now way more approachable for younger customers.
The Ford Fiesta is similar to the VW Golf. It is a bit smaller and a bit less sophisticated, but the Fiesta is a very popular first car option for a reason. Smaller dimensions ensure the Fiesta to be incredibly easy to drive and see out of, and if you don’t want a bigger car, the Fiesta is the way to go.
Want to go green?
Traditional internal combustion engine cars are dirty, inefficient, and for some unsophisticated. We live in an environmentally conscious world, and that’s a good thing, and thanks to this we can now enjoy a bunch of interesting hybrid cars, and the Toyota Yaris Hybrid is probably the best all-around first car money can get.
The best first car is a bold statement to make, but when you dive deeper, it certainly does seem that the Toyota truly is a great option. Toyotas are primarily, and very importantly reliable, and reliability is always a thing to keep in mind when buying any car, especially a used one.
Furthermore, this Yaris version leaves a smaller carbon footprint compared to virtually 99% of ICE cars out there. Besides reliability and efficiency, the hybrid Yaris is competitively priced and a hybrid powertrain makes you eligible for many tax cuts and grants for hybrid vehicles.
Lastly, the Toyota Yaris hybrid is a good-looking car and is equipped with all the necessary equipment you might need on a day-to-day basis, including a fitting automatic transmission. Driving a hybrid might even also lower your insurance costs as a bonus if your country offers such a thing.
First car buying tips
Buying your first car can sometimes be stressful, especially so if you are doing it all by yourself. Try to consult your family and friends about the options you are interested in, and always try to gather as much information as possible to make the whole process that bit more enjoyable.
Firstly, be honest about your needs. What do you need a car for? Do you need a car for everyday commuting or just weekend adventures and field trips? Is buying a car at this point of your life inevitable, or you’d just like to own one regardless?
Take a good hard look at your finances, and it’s never unnecessary to overstate that overspending for your first car is never a good idea, try with something a bit more affordable, and later move up the ladder.
When you do decide on your budget, cross-shop as much as possible and try to find as many offers as you can. Be open about plan B’s and C’s, take a good long test drive and if you are satisfied and see yourself owning the car for a while, go ahead and close the deal.
Which types of cars are best for beginner drivers?
Usually, the affordable types, on the smaller side and efficient. Hatchbacks, compact sedans, compact SUVs. These are the segments you should look out for, and do go ahead and buy a 7-seater SUV as your first car, even though it would be cool to do so.
Sports cars are also a no-go for beginner drivers as lots of these are not as safe as other modern cars are. Modern cars tend to offer over-assisted steering wheels and brake pedals to increase safety and comfort. Sports cars are usually a lot more dynamic and are easier to slide and lose control of, and should also be avoided.
Should I buy an electric car as my first car?
EVs are incredibly popular with the younger generation, and it might seem like a good idea to buy an EV as your first car, but you have to be aware that EVs are not as easy to live with as regular internal combustion cars are.
You ought to get to know how ICE work and what it takes to own and maintain one. So buying a hybrid like the aforementioned Toyota Yaris hybrid might be the best idea.
Do I need a car?
One of the most important questions about buying your very first car is the need for a car in the first place. Most cities right now offer advanced public transportation and cycling from A to B is highly advisable. Owning a car is stressful in so many different ways, and if there is no need for it, don’t buy it.
Where to park, how to park, what to insure, how to insure… There are thousands of different questions, bills, and mood swings that can be avoided if you don’t buy a car at all.