Everyone remembers their first car. Maybe it’s an old family wagon handed down from father to son. Maybe you can pick a used car from the local lot. Maybe you want a new car packed with safety features. Take your pick – every aspiring driver needs a good first vehicle. When searching for your first vehicle, most people don’t want to spend too much money. After all, you may have a limited budget. Even if you didn’t, you likely haven’t been driving long enough to feel confident about which features matter the most to you and might not want to risk a brand new car in an accident. All of the following used cars have good reputations for reliability so even a used model will last you five, ten, or even more years with regular upkeep. They include a range of models from multiple brands and spanning prices, so no matter what you want out of your first vehicle, you should find a good choice.
1. 2012 Ford Focus
While any used Ford Focus is a good choice, the 2012 model year is our top pick. This is the year that American drivers finally got the same version of the Focus as the Europeans. Most Focus models use a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower, but you should be able to find the 252-horsepower Focus ST if you know where to look and want more power. Overall, drivers who want class-leading technology and design character will appreciate the Focus.
The 2012 model was offered as a sedan or hatchback with standard features that included a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, and AdvanceTrac stability control. All but the base version also had power rear windows, Ford MyKey, fog lamps, and a trip computer. You may want to look for a model with the Ford SYNC infotainment system, navigation, or the Technology Package that includes Active Park Assist, a rearview camera, and parking sensors in both the front and rear.