The initial act of learning how to actually drive a car is one that can be intimidating without a doubt. First-time drivers are faced with plenty of concerning aspects regarding driving on public roads with many other vehicles, as well as worrying about the maintenance required to keep a car running in tip-top shape.
Thankfully, not all models available are equally imposing in terms of upkeep, and some even offer features that aid new and potentially long-term drivers in their daily doings on the road. Here is a list of ten of the best cars available on the market for new drivers to really get a solid grip on exceptional driving.
10 Chrysler 200
The first vehicle to be mentioned is a serious value for its price. Coming in at the low $20,000 range, the Chrysler 200 is packed with features and nicely appointed amenities that would make you forget that it is the entry-level model in their lineup.
On every model excluding the base one, buyers can option in safety features such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alerts. Smartphone integration and an ample screen to minimize distraction also allow tech-savvy new drivers the opportunity to attain modern infotainment features at a truly modest price.
9 Honda Civic
The freshly redesigned Honda Civic is a fantastic option for a beginner driver because it quite literally offers the entire package.
With a base price that doesn't even break $20,000 and legendary reliability, the Civic is a no-frills daily driver with a peppy four-cylinder engine that still manages to deliver fantastic fuel economy. Honda's forward collision sensing system is standard on all trims of the Civic, as well as road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. A standard back up camera is also included.
8 Subaru Impreza
Furthering the aspect of legendary reliability is another vehicle that can withstand literally anything thrown at it, the new Subaru Impreza. The perfect time to start your automotive journey with a new Impreza is now, given that Subaru just did a proverbial facelift on virtually its entire product line, providing the Impreza amongst other models with a new global platform that offers a vastly improved interior in terms of technology and comfort.
With a base price starting at roughly $18,500, the Impreza is a compact four-door sedan with standard all-wheel drive that was named by IIHS as a top safety pick for 2019. This pick is valid, given so many standard options such as EyeSight driver assist technology, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, updated Subaru Starlink safety and security, LED steering responsive headlights and more
7 Toyota Corolla
The quiet and refined Toyota Corolla is a solid first vehicle for those that are looking to maintain the elements of those models previously listed, but with an extra air of refinement. The Corolla is a ridiculously smooth and quiet-riding car, with little to no road noise making its way into the cabin.
For new drivers, this extra level of comfort may be exactly what's needed to instill confidence on the road. Couple this with an impressive nearly 40 miles per gallon fuel economy, MSRP around $20,000, and a standard suite of safety features, the Corolla is an undeniably good first car choice.
6 Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai may not be the first brand to come to mind when looking for a robust first vehicle, but recent updates to their product line as well as increasing reliability of their engines put the reserved Hyundai at the same level as other Asian-import cars. Boasting the lowest MSRP of the group so far at barely $15,000, the Elantra is exactly what a budget-minded shopper is looking for in a new car.
This lower cost doesn't mean cutbacks on safety either, because the Elantra still rides with Hyundai's full safety suite, meaning high beam assist, forward collision warning, driver attention warning, lane keeping assistance, and safe exit assistance.
5 Volkswagen Jetta
Out of all of the cars on this list, the Jetta is undoubtedly the most well appointed. With a base MSRP starting around $19,000 but increasing with the countless options available for buyers, the Jetta is a great first car for those who aren't necessarily putting budget first. With a fresh redesign and plenty of tech courtesy of VW's higher tier brand, Audi, the Jetta does not feel like an economy sedan by any means.
On top of this, the Jetta does not slouch in terms of warranty either, showcasing one of the most enticing warranty availabilities of any standard manufacturer, 6 years or 72,000 miles and transferrable to a second owner, proving confidence in engine reliability from Volkswagen, as well as allowing owner confidence for eventual value retention of the vehicle should they choose to sell.
4 Nissan Sentra
The Sentra has never really been known for providing an outstanding driver experience, but for what it lacks in the fun category it makes up for in functionality. An ample back seat and taller ride height allow customers that feel restricted in similar cars in this class a less restrained take on a cabin.
Starting at $18,000, the Sentra also offers standard blind spot warning and rear cross traffic safety alerts, meaning you're not sacrificing safety by switching to a more spacious ride either.
3 Ford Fiesta
Although not technically in production anymore in the North American market, the Ford Fiesta remains a perfectly designed small car that allows new drivers ease of entry and maneuverability on the road.
Offered in both sedan and hatchback configurations and in almost a dozen colors starting at $15,000, the driver can truly make a Fiesta theirs. The Microsoft controlled SYNC program that powers the infotainment of the vehicle is powerful as well, offering Waze map and Amazon Alexa integration so that you never have to take your eyes off of the road.
2 Kia Optima
The biggest vehicle on the list in terms of wheelbase, the midsize Kia Optima is a stylish, tech-filled offering from the Korean manufacturer that doesn't break the bank.
Starting at roughly $22,000, the Optima houses a no-holds-barred safety suite, remote lock and unlock, and Apple Carplay/Android Auto. New drivers will appreciate its reliability and the ease of use of any and all of the vehicle's abundant features.
1 Chevrolet Cruze
The Cruze, like the Fiesta, is a small American vehicle offered in both sedan and hatchback configurations.
Starting at $18,000, the Cruze offers the same level of amenities as its Ford counterpart, so it is really a matter of preference when choosing between the American options. The Cruze does shine in terms of fuel economy though, with a reported nearly 50 miles per gallon highway economy when driven in eco mode. This aspect alone makes the small Chevrolet a fierce contender for the best ride for an inexperienced driver.