10 Best Cars For Beginners And Young Drivers

When you’re new to the world of driving, the choice of car that you make is very important. Although there are many options, and all models, it is important to know the basics of the cars that will suit your needs.

  • You are safe
  • It is affordable to buy, insure and run
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Simple to manage

These cars are perfect for inexperienced and young drivers. To give some concrete examples, we’ve prepared a solid list of 10 cars that we believe exhibit these qualities.

While there’s no real reasonable limit on what model year you should buy for a beginner or young driver, the criterion about affordability suggests strongly that you should go for a used car. 

Today's cars are all 2018-2020 models, so they are cheaper to insure and purchase. However, they are from 2018 to 2020 so that the safety and driver assist features available for novice drivers can still be used.

Índice de Contenido
  1. 1. Honda Fit
  2. 2. Chevrolet Cruze
  3. 3. Hyundai Ioniq (Hybrid)
  4. 4. Honda Civic Hatchback
  5. 5. Volkswagen Golf
  6. 6. Mini Hardtop
  7. 7. Mazda3
  8. 8. Nissan Versa
  9. 9. Toyota Prius Prime
  10. 10. Nissan Leaf

1. Honda Fit

Honda Fit

The Honda fit is a compact car — and not the only compact from Honda on our list — offering plenty of power with its 1.5L engine and 130-hp, as well as a 5-star NHTSA Safety RatingSuper efficient with up to 33 mpg in cities and 40 mpg highway.

It’s compact but has 4 doors for convenient access, and is large enough inside for 5 adults. It’s not the most attractive car in the world, but it’s well built with solid Honda genes.

RELATED: Are Hondas Good Cars? Can They Be Reliable?

2. Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet Cruze

The Chevrolet Cruze is a great value car even when it is new, but if you opt for a used one even from just the last 1-2 model years, then you’ll get an even better deal. Standard engine configuration is a 2.L unit that produces up to 137 horsepower. That’s all the power any beginner driver would really need to drive around town or out on the highway. It’s not a speedster with ultra-fast acceleration, that’s for sure, but that’s probably a good thing when you’re just starting out. 

Chevy Cruze is able to get about 30 mpg in cities and 38 mpg on highways, for a total of 33 mpg. That’s very efficient for a sedan, making it affordable to run as well as buy. Newer drivers will benefit from the lower horsepower ratings, which can help keep their insurance rates down.

RELATED: Are Chevrolets Good Cars? Is It Reliable?

3. Hyundai Ioniq (Hybrid)

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

We’re putting 2 hybrid models into today’s list, the first being the very pleasing and very affordable Hyundai Ioniq, which even brand new at the time of writing is under $24,000. You can find great deals on used models. The Ioniq Hybrid is expected to get 54-mpg city-wide and 56-mpg highway. Additionally, it will use electric power for low speed traffic.

It’s powered by a 1.6L Kappa II engine paired with a 1.56-kWh battery and 32-kW electric motor. The Ioniq Hybrid's combined horsepower with its electric motor is 137 hp. This compares to the rival Toyota Prius by 16 hp. It’s aerodynamically designed to reduce drag, but it isn’t a powerful acceleration machine. Once again, for a beginner driver, that’s probably a good thing. 

RELATED: Are Hyundais Good Cars? Is It Reliable?

4. Honda Civic Hatchback

Honda Civic Hatchback

You can get the Civic as a hatchback or as a sedan, but we’re recommending the hatchback model for beginner drivers simply for the better pricing and smaller frame. A 2.0L inline-4 gasoline engine with a simple continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available. Or, you can opt for a smaller 1.5L engine which produces up to 128 horsepower.

For new drivers, the Honda Civic offers a little more acceleration. This is a great option for those who want to be able to drive on highways safely and regularly. Honda is one of the most trusted brands, so any Civic beginner driver receives today could remain their car for at least the next 10 years. 

5. Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf

It’s a small and compact car, for sure, but the VW is perhaps the mightiest compact in the world. The VW Golf has never been better, with the latest generation packed with new technology, including VW’s prized direct shift gearbox (DSG) transmission that offers new drivers a choice in going automatic or retaining manual control. For new drivers, the Golf makes it easy to learn.

It’s also surprisingly spacious for a small car, with a comfortable and well-appointed interior. This car is comfortable, and performs as well on the road as it is on country roads. It handles well and is a great help for new drivers.

RELATED: Are Volkswagens Good Cars? Is It Reliable?

6. Mini Hardtop

Mini Hardtop

The Mini has long been regarded as “too small” for the US market, but since getting a bit of size and style upgrade from BMW, it has become a must-have for city-dwellers. The engine's 134-hp and 189-hp outputs are particularly appealing to new drivers. For those who want more power, the engine offers a choice of either 134-hp or 189-hp. You can get the Mini in all trims with great handling and comfortable interiors.

Mini Hardtop's main problem is its higher price tag than other similar-sized cars. There’s a luxury element to the Mini that adds a premium price point. The Minis are economical, returning at least 26 mpg city-wide and 37 mpg highway. 

RELATED : 10 Driving Tips For Beginners (Driving license Tips)

7. Mazda3


The Mazda3 is an affordable vehicle, considering its interior quality and the excellent equipment it offers for novice drivers. It comes standard with adaptive cruise control, driver attention monitoring and adaptive cruise control. These features are great for novice drivers.

The downside is mainly in the infotainment system with no touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto not being standard, but if you’re hoping they won’t be distracted by smartphone content, then this is also a good way to achieve that.

8. Nissan Versa

Nissan Versa

Similar to cars like the Chevrolet Cruze and the Honda Civic, the Nissan Versa is an affordable and “safe pair of hands” for a new driver to work with. Brand new cars start at well below $20,000 so used models can still be affordable. It has excellent fuel economy, with 32-mpg inside the city and 40 on the highway. The cargo area is 15 cubic feet. There’s only 122-hp to work with, but that’s more than enough for a new driver.

Nissan has a reputation for being generous with technology and safety features. Nissan Versas include automatic braking, rear automated braking (in the past few years), cross-traffic warning, blind spot warnings, lane departure warnings, and many other technology features. While you don’t want new drivers getting overly dependent on gadgetry, the Nissan Versa at least works actively to protect the driver and passengers. 

9. Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid) is our second hybrid, and it's the first. You can get up to 25 miles on electric alone, making it great for anyone who uses the car mainly to run simple errands. If you limit your driving to 25 miles per day, it will last quite a while.

The 1.8L engine produces just 121 horsepower. It is solid and reliable, however. The trunk space is a bit small, but feature highlights include a huge 11.6” touchscreen display, standard Apple CarPlay, intelligent parking assistance, cyclist/pedestrian detection, lane keep assist and more.

10. Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

You don't need to look far if you are searching for an electric car that is suitable for beginners. While there are many options, a new driver may think of the smarter Tesla Model S, while the Nissan Leaf works better for them. It has a solid range, with a maximum of 226 miles from a single charge. The vehicle also offers one-pedal drive, which allows drivers to move their feet from the accelerator to activate regenerative braking. It makes it easy to navigate in traffic.

The Leaf has all of the safety features and ADAS features we discussed for the Nissan Versa. It also offers 23.6 cubic feet of cargo room. To charge your Leaf from home, you can use DC fast charger to get 80 percent of the charge back in just 30 minutes. 

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