The 5 Best Cars and Trucks for First-Time Buyers

Key Takeaways

  • Reliability, safety, and affordable prices should be priorities for first-time buyers
  • Toyota, Honda, and Subaru offer the best cars for new drivers
  • The latest car market conditions highlight the best opportunities for fair prices

What vehicle are you interested in?

Last updated Jul 11, 2024

Choosing the right car as a first-time buyer can feel like a daunting task, but with knowledge and empowerment, it doesn’t have to be. What should first-time buyers and new drivers look for in a vehicle? Reliability, affordability, and fuel economy are key factors to consider. In 2024, several models stand out for their exceptional value for new drivers. Here are the top five cars for first-time buyers, with insights to help guide your decision.

1. Honda Civic

best cars for new drivers - Honda Civic

Why First-Time Buyers Love It: The Honda Civic has evolved over the years, offering more space while maintaining its compact and reliable nature. Renowned for its excellent fuel economy and attainable price point, the Civic is a popular choice among first-time buyers.

Starting Price: $25,045 (increasing to $25,345 for 2025)

Fuel Economy: 33 – 36 miles per gallon combined city/highway

Crash Test Safety Rating: 5-Star NHTSA Rating

Current Market Conditions: The average selling price of a new Honda Civic is $27,568 in 2024. There’s a 34-day supply of new Civics, which is below normal. Work with a car-buying Concierge to avoid dealer markups!

See local Honda Civic listings with the power of market data

2. Toyota Corolla

best cars for new drivers - Toyota Corolla

Why First-Time Buyers Love It: The Toyota Corolla is synonymous with affordability and reliability. Known for its proven track record, the Corolla offers peace of mind to first-time buyers looking for a durable and economical car. It’s safe, fuel efficient, and low-maintenance. What more could you want? Perhaps more room? Toyota has brought the Corolla Cross to market for that very reason.

Starting Price: $23,145

Fuel Economy: 35 miles per gallon combined city/highway (50 MPG for the Corolla Hybrid)

Crash Test Safety Rating: 5-Star NHTSA Rating

Current Market Conditions: The average selling price of a new Toyota Corolla is $25,484 in 2024. There’s a 35-day supply of new Corollas, which is below normal. Work with a car-buying Concierge to avoid dealer markups!

See local Toyota Corolla listings with the power of market data

3. Toyota RAV4

best cars for new drivers - Toyota RAV4

Why First-Time Buyers Love It: If you need something slightly larger than a sedan with a higher stance on the road, the Toyota RAV4 is an excellent option. This crossover combines size with ease of driving, making it perfect for first-timers. With a 5-star safety rating and a large market presence, getting a fair price in 2024 is quite doable. The Honda CR-V is also a great option for all the same reasons.

Starting Price: $30,025

Fuel Economy: 30 miles per gallon combined city/highway (39 MPG for the RAV4 Hybrid)

Crash Test Safety Rating: 5-Star NHTSA Rating

Current Market Conditions: The average selling price of a new Toyota RAV4 is $37,721 in 2024. There’s a 29-day supply of new RAV4s, which is below normal. Work with a car-buying Concierge to avoid dealer markups!

See local Toyota RAV4 listings with the power of market data

4. Subaru Crosstrek

best AWD car for new drivers - 2024 Subaru Crosstrek

Why First-Time Buyers Love It: Subaru is known for being more pro-consumer than many of its competitors, making it easier to find a fair price. The Crosstrek stands out with its all-wheel drive capabilities, ideal for those needing extra traction. It’s a versatile and reliable choice for new drivers.

Starting Price: $26,540

Fuel Economy: 29 miles per gallon combined city/highway

Crash Test Safety Rating: 5-Star NHTSA Rating

Current Market Conditions: The average selling price of a new Subaru Crosstrek is $32,047 in 2024. There’s a 77-day supply of new Crosstreks, which is near the market average. 

See local Subaru Crosstrek listings with the power of market data

5. Toyota Tacoma

best truck for new drivers - Toyota Tacoma

Why First-Time Buyers Love It: For those considering a truck, the Toyota Tacoma is a great option. If you don’t need a full-sized truck, the mid-sized Tacoma offers durability and practicality. In 2024, it’s more likely to find a new Tacoma closer to the $40,000 price point compared to larger truck competitors, making it an accessible choice for first-time truck buyers.

Starting Price: $32,995

Fuel Economy: 23 miles per gallon combined city/highway

Crash Test Safety Rating: 4-Star NHTSA Rating

Current Market Conditions: The average selling price of a new Toyota Tacoma is $46,407 in 2024. There’s a 65-day supply of new Tacomas, which is close to the market average today.

See local Toyota Tacoma listings with the power of market data

There’s a Better Way to Buy

Finding the perfect car as a first-time buyer involves balancing cost, reliability, and overall value. The Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Crosstrek, and Toyota Tacoma excel in these areas, making them the best choices for new drivers today. It’s a buyer’s market in 2024, and no buyer should pay for markups on these value-packed models.

Tired of car shopping hassles? Let us do it for you with our CarEdge Concierge service. Our experts can find the perfect vehicle for your needs, negotiate the best price, and handle all the details, saving you time and money. Learn more about CarEdge Concierge, the #1 car buying service in America.

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