The Best Choices for Your First Car
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By Aidan Brookes
Toyota Tacoma 2000-Present
For the most part, everything th
at can be said about the Toyota Tacoma goes for any mid-size pickup, regardless of the brand. It’s a practical, affordable, daily driver that happens to have a bed for when you need to haul your friend’s barbecue. It’s also one of the least expensive four-wheel drive car you will find outside of a Jeep. The Tacoma in particular is known for being the most focused on off-road capability. Maintenance costs tend to be low, though fuel costs will be significant at around 15/20 mpg, especially for older models. The 2004 iteration can be found for around $10,000, costing an extra $2,000 for the four door version.
Honda Civic 2001-2005
The Civic gave Honda its reputation in America. It perfectly symbolizes the trend toward compact, efficient foreign cars during the 70’s and 80’s. Today, It’s still the perfect car for getting from point A to point B. Probably the most cost effective car on this list, a 2006 Civic will cost around $4,500, while a 2010 model is just $1,000 more, and a current gen 2012 lists for around $6,000. You can expect great reliability, and given how common they are, parts and service should be cheap. What more needs to be said about America’s favorite economy-oriented sedan?
Jeep Wrangler 1997-Present
The Jeep Wrangler may have a stigma in Hopkinton, but it hasn’t become one of the most popular cars in town for no reason. If you can get past the disgraceful fuel economy, they’re very fun and relatively affordable. They’re known for being extremely tough and reliable and as such tend to hold their value well over time. A 2003 base model costs around $8,000.
Ford Mustang 2005-2009
In the early to mid-2000’s, the Mustang made muscle cars cool again, putting an end to their suffering through the ‘80s and ‘90s. The Mustang may never be the legend it once was, but this car’s sleek body lines combined with V8 power and sound should have a hard time disappointing owners. The V6 base model version, though equally practical, is considered less desirable and can save you up to $2,000 below the GT style, .
Toyota RAV4 2001-2005
No one seems to be able to match the reliability and practicality of a Toyota RAV4. A 2005 model can be found for around $6,000 making it one of the most popular choices for first time car buyers (and anyone in the market for an affordable daily driver). It pushes a respectable 160 horsepower from the inline 4 cylinder, 2.4 liter engine while maintaining 27 mpg highway, whether you opt for the automatic or manual.. The RAV4’s no-nonsense styling may not have the sex-appeal you’re looking for, but it’s timeless without drawing unwanted attention.