The title of this article, “Good First Car for Girls,” isn’t very PC. Yes, I’m doing a bit of stereotyping here but, after all, auto manufacturers gear some cars toward women. So, why not acknowledge the cars that appeal to women? Think: Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, and Toyota Corolla
Things to Consider
- Auxiliary port for smartphone
- Good stereo
- Performance? What’s that?
- Can be parked easily
- Backup camera
- Automatic transmission
- Lots of storage, especially if this will be the car taking them to college
- Reliable/cheap to maintain
- Ample amount of cup holders
- Cheap to insure
- Good on gas (never do a diesel as it’s easy to forget to put diesel in and putting gasoline in a diesel vehicle can cost ~$500-1,000 to correct)
- Convertibles are nice but are usually too small to be practical
- Wheels not too large that they will be curbed
- The list for guys would be way longer…
You just can’t go wrong with a Civic. They are cheap, reliable, and they hold their resale. When buying one of these, find one in stock form. If someone has heavily modified the car (think Fast and Furious), chances are they drove it hard and put it away wet. Any year Civic will do. When searching for the most reliable Civic model years, it’s a toss-up. All years are good. Just find a stock model that is your preferred color and has a service history.
While the Civic is a single person’s car, the Accord is a family car. But it’s nice to have a backseat, regardless. For a good first car for girls, a backseat is nice because car insurance will likely be cheaper and there’s more room to store things like basketballs and cheerleader outfits. But having a backseat is also sort of a liability. It means friends will want you to drive them places. Research shows the more people in a car, the more likely a teen will drive recklessly. Any year Accord will do.
This is one of the best-selling cars in history. And it’s a perfect first car for girls. The Camry’s reliability is legendary. Compare this car with the Honda Accord. Both are great. Again, the specific year does not matter.
It’s a Toyota. Much like a Honda, Toyota’s are reliable and always worth considering. A Corolla is the cheaper version of a Camry. Just avoid the 1998-2002 models, as they had poor quality piston rings. (This causes blue smoke and a relentless need to watch oil levels as the engines burn about one quart every 1500 miles.)
The Prius is no longer the new kid on the block. It has been around since the turn of the century. A Prius is an excellent first car because it has fewer parts to break, it’s slower, and there’s plenty of storage. It gets the job done nicely. My 16-year-old cousin has one and she won’t drive any other car. She loves it.
A Honda Fit is a good buy, regardless of the year. Cheaper than a Prius but still with good fuel economy. It’s a good choice if a Prius is great but you want something cheaper and something not so polarizing.
If a small SUV is what you’re after, the Honda CRV has you covered. It even offers respectable miles per gallon — up to 25 mpg highway.
2007-11 Mazda CX-9
This car is the most technologically advanced of any of the cars listed. Opt for the Grand Touring model, which offers visibility-enhancing xenon headlights, a blind spot monitoring system, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. MPG is poor at just 16 city/ 22 highway.
Suggested next read: Can you drive a car without plates if you just bought it?
If you want to venture a little further out from these very safe bets, see the Consumer Reports list of best cars for teens.
Cars to Avoid
This list would be very long so rather than name each car, let’s just cover what you want to avoid:
- A car with a seedy past
- A car that has been modified
- A car with blind spots
- A convertible (Although they sound nice, it means little storage, more road noise, prone to leaks, if they are cloth they are prone to get slashed by a mean girl. They are also prone to water leakage and are noisy on the highway.)
- Anything on Consumer Reports’ used cars to avoid list