Buying and driving a first car is a significant milestone and it’s important to choose the right vehicle. Learn which vehicles could be the best first car for young adults and teen drivers making their debut on the road.
Getting a first car is an exciting step and there’s a lot of research that goes into a final buying decision. Whether you’re a parent looking for the best starter car for your teen driver or a young adult looking for the best car for new drivers, you want to be certain that your choice is the right one. To help make that easier, we’ve researched the best first car options to buy right now. Read on to learn which cars for new drivers made the list.
12 Best First Car Buys for Canadian Drivers
- Honda Civic
- Mazda3 Sport
- Toyota Corolla
- Toyota Camry
- Subaru Legacy
- Volkswagen Jetta
- Kia Forte
- Chevrolet Cruze
- Kia Soul
- Ford Fusion
- Hyundai Elantra
- Honda Fit
1. Honda Civic
The Honda Civic offers a combination of solid safety ratings and affordability for parents who might be looking at cars for 16-year-olds or young adults ready to buy their first car themselves. The 2020 Civic Sedan starts at $18,390, which is great for drivers who are looking to buy a new vehicle for under $20,000. The somewhat sportier Civic Coupe starts at $21,690 and features a sleek two-door design. In terms of safety, the Sedan includes features like controlled braking and Vehicle Stability Assistant, which can be helpful for younger drivers who are still learning to maneuver on the road.
2. Mazda3 Sport
The Mazda3 Sport is one of a handful of hatchback sedans that include all-wheel drive, making it a great choice for navigating different driving conditions on Canadian roads. That’s reassuring for new drivers who are looking for the best first car to help them handle ice, snow and rain as the seasons change. The 2020 model starts at $23,126, putting it at a slightly higher price point compared to the Civic. Though a little less flashy, the 2019 Mazda3 four-door sedan starts at $19,826 and seats up to five, which is great for taking road trips with friends or commuting with classmates back and forth to school.
3. Toyota Corolla
The 2018 Toyota Corolla is one of the best used cars for new drivers in 2020 who want a vehicle that’s both reliable and budget-friendly. Depending on the condition and features, used models for this manufacturer year typically sell for between $18,000 and $20,000. The 2020 Corolla also starts at $18,990 for the basic model, though you’ll spend a little more to upgrade with add-ons or swap out the standard model for a hybrid. In terms of features, the 2020 Corolla is designed for drivers and passengers who want to ride in comfort, while still prioritizing safety. Plus, young adult and teen drivers will appreciate having Apple CarPlay so they can stay focused on the road while navigating or listening to music.
4. Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry joins the Corolla as one of the best cars for young adults and best starter cars overall for drivers who are new to the road. Pricing for used Camrys can vary widely based on the model year and the included features. The 2015 models typically sell for around $15,000, though you might pay as much as $30,000 for a fully-loaded 2018. The 2019 and 2020 models will cost a bit more, with typical manufacturer suggested retail prices of around $26,000. Newer Camrys include the Toyota Safety Sense package, which has safety features like pedestrian detection, lane departure alert and automatic high beams to help newer drivers stay safe behind the wheel.
5. Subaru Legacy
Subaru is almost synonymous with safety, which can be reassuring for parents who are looking for the best first car for their child. You might pay a bit more for that reassurance but it could be worth it to reduce the risk of an accident. Used Subaru Legacy models are priced in the $15,000 to $30,000 range, with the 2015s being a particularly good deal. The newly updated 2020 Legacy has a starting price of $26,395 and comes with features like EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, heated seats and symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive for better handling.
6. Volkswagen Jetta
The 2019 Jetta is a turbo-charged sedan and it was voted the Motoring TV Family Car of the Year for 2019. Well-equipped models start at $20,995 and for a limited time, selected Volkswagen dealers in Canada are offering the 2019s with $0 down and low APR financing. That’s great for bargain hunters who want to get the best car for new drivers at the best deal possible. The Jetta also comes with a four-year, 80,000 km warranty which outstrips the three-year warranties offered by some of its competitors.
7. Kia Forte
If you’re looking for the best cars for young adults that are compact and reasonably priced, you can’t go wrong with the Kia Forte. The 2020 Forte starts at $17,695 and comes with a 1.6L turbo engine so it packs a punch on the road. Blind spot detection and collision avoidance technology are just some of the safety features that are included on these models. Used models can be even more of a money-saver, with prices for 2015 through 2018 models ranging from around $13,000 to $15,000, depending on the list of included features.
8. Chevrolet Cruze
The Chevrolet Cruze gives new drivers options since you can choose from the standard sedan or a sportier hatchback version. The suggested MSRP for 2019 models is $21,095 but if you’d rather pay a little less, you can find 2018s for under $20,000. The 2016 models go even cheaper, with suggested resale prices of around $14,000. In terms of safety, features like rear view cameras, rear park assistant and low-speed forward automatic braking make this car attractive for new drivers who are safety-focused.
9. Kia Soul
If you’re looking for a compact crossover as a first-time driver, the Kia Soul might be a solid choice for you. The Soul has a fun look that younger drivers will appreciate, along with fuel efficiency and plenty of power under the hood. If you’re buying new, you can expect to pay $21,195 and up for a 2020 Soul. You can find 2018 and 2019 models for under $20,000, while the 2017 models can go for under $18,000. Smart cruise control, lane assist technology and blind spot detection are just some of the features that come included to keep drivers safe.
10. Ford Fusion
Ford Fusion is a stylish vehicle that’s also safe — two things you might be looking for when comparing the best starter cars. The 2020 model is a little pricer than some of the other best first car recommendations included here–new models start at $27,985. But in exchange, you get excellent fuel economy and standard safety features that are designed to make you feel more confident as a beginner driver. If you’re looking to buy used for a first car, you can find deals on 2015 to 2018 models ranging from $15,000 to around $22,000.
11. Hyundai Elantra
The 2020 Hyundai Elantra is one of the best new cars to buy for first-time drivers if you’re looking for a great price on a vehicle. The new models start at $17,099, making it one of the least expensive options on the list. Used models are even more affordable, with certain model years selling for as little as $11,000. The Elantra looks like a sedan but it drives more like a sports car and includes a variety of safety tech such as driver attention warning alerts, forward collision assistance with pedestrian detection and a lane departure warning system.
12. Honda Fit
Last but not least, the Honda Fit is another best first car buy for young adults and teens. This compact vehicle is small in size but it’s a big deal if you’re looking for a money-saving option for new drivers. The 2019 model starts at $15,590 and these cars tend to hold their value well. The Fit is both efficient and safe while still being versatile enough to meet the needs of new drivers. Seating for up to five and fold-down seats also make it one of the roomiest compacts on the market.
Whether you’re shopping for a new or used vehicle when buying a first car, it’s important to find the right lender to work with when you need financing to complete the purchase. At Birchwood Credit Solutions, we offer an extensive inventory of vehicles priced at $20,000 or less. Visit us today to browse our selection of quality cars and SUVs or start an online application to find out what kind of financing you qualify for and how we can help.