Best First Car to Buy in Canada

Buying your first car can be overwhelming as searching for cars is a long and exhaustive process. There are countless makes and models, and new cars come out every year. That leaves you with too many cars to choose from.

Buying your first car is a big and important purchase, so it’s important to have done proper research before buying a car. Whether the car is for a new adult driver or a first car for a teenager, you want to be confident in your purchase.

As a new driver or a teenager, buying a used car is typically the best option. It allows you to save money while still giving you an abundance to choose from. This means you can save a few dollars while getting a quality vehicle to last long.

How to Buy Your First Car

When you start looking for a car to buy, there are many things to consider. You want to look at gas mileage, the number of seats, safety features, past accidents, maintenance performed, and more. Different makes and models have years where the car had a lot of problems, whereas some years the cars were excellent. You need to test drive the car, and maybe have the car checked out by a mechanic before purchasing.

The best first car needs to be practical, fuel-efficient, stylish enough to be proud of, and have all the amenities you need. You must consider the cost of the car and the cost of car insurance as well.

At this point, you may be wondering, what’s a good first car to buy, so we have you covered. We’ve created a list of the 10 best cars, so you can find one to call “my first car”. In addition, we’ve found 4 other cars in different categories to give you further options. Although this list was created from thorough research, it’s still important for you to do your own research to find the best fit for you and your financial situation.

Here is your list of the best options!

1.     Honda Civic

The best first car to buy used is a Honda Civic. Specifically, the years 2006 to the present. Civics are known to be reliable, safe, fuel-efficient, and comfortable with enough space for luggage.

They may not be the most glamourous cars, but the Honda Civic has consistently been rated as one of the best-used cars in Canada. You can find two-door and four-door options as well as models with varying features.

2.     Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is another great option for a used car. We recommend 2008 to the present. Next to Honda, Toyota makes some incredible cars that are always highly rated in Canada. The Corolla is Toyota’s version of the Honda Civic.

The car is compact, easy to drive, fuel-efficient, safe, and reliable. With a history of being a top-selling car in Canada, the Toyota Corolla has built a reputation as being an excellent choice for a first-time car buyer.

3.     Honda Accord

Another Honda on the list for good reason. The Honda Accord is another quality car built to last long. Look at models between 2009 and 2017 as they are the best models. There are multiple options when buying a Honda Accord. You can find coupes and sedans, more luxurious options, but regardless, each model is a great first car to buy.

Honda Accords are known to handle well, have good safety features, and be fuel-efficient. The Accord is spacious, comfortable, and reliable—everything you want in your first car.

4.     Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai builds stylish sedans and coupes that look like luxury cars while still priced competitively. The Elantra from 2011 to the present is exactly that. It looks great, drives well, and has great safety features.

The Elantra is fuel-efficient, easy to drive and park, and is very affordable. Hyundai has built a name for quality build, stylish looks, and competitive pricing. The Elantra fits that reputation perfectly.

5.     Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 is a fantastic first buy. From 2014 to 2019 the cars have been known to be reliable, cost-efficient, fuel-efficient, and stylish. This makes the Mazda 3 an excellent first buy. In fact, many sites have named the Mazda 3 one of the best-used cars to buy.

However, as there are limited years compared to Honda and Toyota’s cars, the Mazda 3 has fallen on our list. Still, the Mazda 3 is good looking, affordable, and reliable.

6.     Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry has been another car that remains high on Canada’s list of best-used cars for years now. From 2011 to the present, the Camry has been reliable, affordable, and a great family car. Like the Corolla, the Camry is fuel-efficient, safe, and easy to drive.

The Camry is large enough for a family to be comfortable in and still offers good cargo space. The Toyota Camry has consistently ranked as one of the most popular buys in Canada for good reason.

7.     Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai Sonatas are excellent mid-size sedans. From 2011 to 2014, the car was one of the best options at its size. The Sonata looks great, drives well, and is extremely reliable.

There is also a Sonata Hybrid that offers even better fuel efficiency. The Sonata is a great used car option for anyone looking to buy a mid-sized sedan that needs to be fuel-efficient and reliable.

8.     Kia Forte

The Kia Forte was named one of the most reliable hatchbacks on the market by JD Powers back in 2016. Kia is still selling one of the best small-sized hatchbacks today in Canada. The Forte is rated as one of the most reliable cars as it has a basic build that’s meant to last.

The Forte is cheap, safe, and stylish if you’re looking for a hatchback. Overall, the Forte is a fantastic used car to buy.

9.     Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion comes in as another consistently ranked best-used car to buy. It’s been noted that 2011 to 2013 were the best years of the Fusion while the 2008 model is just a step below.

The Fusion is a stylish car with good fuel economy and safety features. It has plenty of room and great interior features and design. It’s a great beginner car to drive as it feels nice and is easy to handle.

10.  Nissan Altima

Nissan built a reliable vehicle that is a hot resale car. The best years are 2006-2012. The Altima has a more powerful engine than many on the list with a four-cylinder engine, but it still ranks well with fuel efficiency.

The Nissan Altima is known to handle and drive very well. It comes with good safety features and good reliability for the years listed.

Additional Cars

Now that you’ve seen a list of the 10 best cars for your first purchase, we have some more to consider. Most of the cars on the previous list were sedans, coupes, or hatchbacks, so here we have some other options for you!

What’s the cheapest to insure?

Using various car insurance quotes, the cheapest car to insure was found to be the Volkswagen Golf. The Golf is known to be versatile with good handling and great fuel efficiency. The car is small, making it easy to drive and park.

The Golf has terrific safety features and is very affordable which gives it cheap insurance quotes. Not only is the car cheap to insure and buy used, but it’s also a great all-around car to consider as a first-time car buyer.

Best First Electric Car

Now that there are many models of electric cars available on the market, the best one to choose might not be so clear. We have reviewed Tesla’s cheapest models in Canada, but there are also many options available from Ford, Nissan and Huyndai for the cheapest electric car Canada has and your first electric vehicle, although more should be becoming available used soon.

Best Pickup Truck: Toyota Tacoma

The Tacoma is known to be an excellent truck to buy, new or used. However, the best years for this truck are 2005 to 2017. The truck comes with the option of a 4- or 6-cylinder engine. The Tacoma is known to keep its value meaning it has a high resale value.

The truck is not too large, compared to many other pickups, is easy to drive and is extremely reliable. The Toyota Tacoma is a quality truck built to last long which makes it the best-used pickup truck you can buy.

Best SUV: Toyota Rav-4

Toyota has built an exceptional mid-sized SUV in the Rav-4. It’s known as a crossover SUV. It’s an SUV that is not too large, yet big enough for 5 plus plenty of cargo space. From 2006 until now, the Rav-4 is exceptional in the field.

The SUV has 4- and 6-cylinder options. It is safe, eco-friendly with a hybrid option, easy to drive, and built to last. The Rav-4 has a strong, reliable build which makes it a great used SUV to buy.

Best Hybrid: Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is one of the best-selling hybrids the world has seen. From 2010 to 2015 this little hybrid has been incredibly reliable. The Prius has excellent fuel efficiency, great driving standards, and good safety features.

The Prius has built a reputation to be reliable and comfortable, although there are complaints about its looks. However, the Prius is an excellent car for its price. It is hands-down, the best hybrid on the market. 

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