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What Makes a Good First Car?

3 November 2022 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

Deciding on the perfect first car is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. It can be a scary and intimidating time, but don’t worry we have got you covered!

This article will show you what makes a good first car and how to choose one.


Considerations for Purchasing a Good First Car


1. Purchase within your buying budget

The cost associated with buying your first car can be intimidating, especially if you’re a teen (or the parent of a teen) with limited funds. 

As most teenagers do not have a credit history, obtaining a loan to purchase their very own ride can be difficult. First things first, begin saving as much money as your can. The larger your down payment, the less outright, see if a family member can help with the initial costs, or if you can secure a good loan. The interest rate on a car loan is determined by a number known as the APR (Annual Percentage Rate). Some lenders offer loans with APRs of 3% or less - but only to those with a good credit history.

Plan on spending 10% to 15% of your total monthly budget on your car. Choose a model that is safe and/or is not frequently stolen. Insurance costs also vary not only by model but by city. To determine how well a vehicle performed in a federal crash test, go to 


2. Understanding your running cost

Aside from the sticker price, the real cost of owning a car is what follows after you have purchased your vehicle - including repairs, maintenance, insurance, and gas. Spend some time researching before you buy, as you will have a better understanding of what you can afford and what you need from your vehicle.

There are many things that you need to take into consideration before choosing your model. Good first cars should have a good fuel economy, which is cheap to insure and maintain. Cars with such characteristics have a high resale value - which is good, as they appeal to a wide range of buyers. 


3. Decide on the features you need

Before you make one of the biggest purchases of your teen years, consider what you will need your car for. The next step is to determine what features you may require.

Most teenagers don’t care about things like dynamic steering, automatic doors, or ample boot space. Opting for a car for yourself or your teen should be safe, reliable, and affordable. Concentrate on important features such as safety, fuel efficiency, comfort and convenience. This does not mean that you can’t have the extra features such as air conditioning and a few fun gadgets so you can enjoy some of the simple pleasures of driving.


4. Do a test drive

Purchasing a new car is both a big step and an exciting experience. A thorough test drive is essential with so many new features and technologies in today’s vehicles. After taking a test drive, a person can understand the features of the car such as safety, acceleration power, comfort, and noise. Take someone with you for a test drive because two are always better than one. 

You should also try driving the car on different roads to see how it performs. Also, check the car's interior space and see if has enough space for your needs.


5. Explore your options

There is nothing wrong with purchasing a used car as long as it meets your needs and requirements. However, you need to be choosey when purchasing a previously owned vehicle. Consider the ongoing expenses of maintenance, repairs, gas, and insurance. New vehicles have the most up-to-date safety features, are more likely to be reliable, and meet the most recent fuel efficiency standards.

One thing to note, new vehicles depreciate faster than used vehicles. The Federal Trade Commission recommends getting an independent inspection and a vehicle history report before purchasing a used car. Buying a used car allows you to get more value for your money - as most of the vehicle’s depreciation has already occurred by the time it reaches the used-car market. 

Most vehicles now come with a 200,000-kilometre warranty that covers the most expensive components of a car's drive train. In terms of repairs, a new car may be less expensive - depending on the model and brand, at least for the first few years. When the vehicle requires major repairs and maintenance, you might want to look at trading it in. Used cars are typically less expensive at first, but you may not receive all of the features that you desire. 


Final Thoughts

Other factors to consider aside from prices, such as fuel economy and reliability have been glossed over here. For some, the Honda Accord, the Volkswagen Jetta, and the Subaru Legacy may be sufficient for your first car needs. For those looking to impress their friends or attract a trophy girlfriend, a more expensive vehicle such as the Infiniti G35 or BMW 335i is something that you might want to look into.

The most important thing to look for in a first car is that it is dependable and safe. It makes no sense to get something new if you do not think you will be able to afford it. Following that, you must determine what type of vehicle is best for you and your needs. 


Let us help you find your perfect first car!

At Motor Matcher, we have a wide selection of brand-new and used cars for you to choose from. 

Visit to get started with your search.