A major milestone is many people’s lives is when they finally get to purchase their very own car.
Getting a hand-me-down from a relative is fairly common for your actual first set of wheels, but being a first time car buyer and actually picking out your own car by yourself is a special moment.
There are literally tens of thousands of options for you to choose from, both new and used, big and small, compact or people movers.
So which one is the best for a first time car buyer like yourself?
Narrowing down your options can take a while, so we have done the legwork for you and selected the top seven best cars for first time car buyers in Toronto. Enjoy!
The Subaru Forester is a fantastic compact SUV designed for the modern Torontonian.
Favoured by those who value versatility and flexibility above all else, the Forester comes jam packed with bells and whistles you wouldn’t normally see in a car that is fairly affordable. The small SUV comes with surprisingly spacious interiors that will have you forgetting you’re supposed to be in a compact.
Heated front seats will be a welcome addition for any Canadian that has suffered through a harsh winter without them. All the modcons you have come to expect are also on offer in the Forester including automatic climate control, touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, and more.
The Subaru Forester also has fantastic fuel efficiency, netting 11 km/litre on average. This gives it the distinguished “excellent” rating from Consumer Reports, and will be music to the ears of many first time car buyers as they won’t have to head to the gas pump as often.
Excellent safety features come as standard on the Forest as well, including advanced airbag setup, expanded crumble zones, and whiplash resistant headrests.
If you are after a ride that looks a lot slicker than its modest price tag, look no further than the Honda Accord.
This sedan has managed to emulate the sporty coupes of much more expensive cars without compromising on its core values. Recent models have come with upgraded entertainment systems including enhanced touchscreens and motion control, as well as more impressive sound systems. Of course, all the latest connectivity options come as standard so you can stream anything you want from your device in the few clicks of a button.
Fuel efficiency is one of the star features with the Honda Accord, offering a very impressive 14 km/litre. Coupled with high quality handling and modern interiors, the Accord quickly becomes an obvious choice for many first time car buyers in Toronto.
Another Honda to make it onto our list, the Honda CR-V is to SUVs as the Accord is to sedans.
Spacious yet compact, the refined exterior doesn’t look out of place next to the likes of Audi or Mercedes SUVs and yet the MSRP is considerably more affordable. The interiors feel roomy with high ceilings, and handling is tight and fluid. Add to that a solid fuel efficiency and reduced road noise and you’ve got yourself a winner.
There are a range of different additions and packages you can add to the base model, but even the standard edition comes with plenty of extra features. Remote engine start, heated seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED lights, and enhanced safety features just to name a few.
If you’re looking for a luxury car on a lemon budget, the Subaru Legacy is just what you need.
With an MSRP of under $25,000, you’d expect to have to make some compromises on quality. However, Subaru have managed to package a lot of fancy extras into this zippy car to make it seem worth a lot more.
A generous 8” touchscreen allows for you to interact with all your favourite apps and settings without having to put your glasses on. Find the perfect position with 10-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat, as well as staying toasty warm with 3-stage seat heating. Need some extra room to help your friend move houses? The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split to allow for extra space in the trunk in the flick of a switch.
Optional extras include Driver Assist Technology, Reverse and Rear Vehicle Detection, proximity key with push start button, and Reverse Automatic Braking.
The latest in driver assist technology and automation come together in the beautiful Kia Optima.
The tech that powers modern driving is getting smarter and smarter, and Kia has managed to cram as much brains as possible into the Optima. Lane keeping assist (LKA) helps you stay in the right line at the right time, warning you if you are drifting off course and correcting your steering if it senses you didn’t mean to change lanes. The car also comes with Forward collision-avoidance assist (FCA), which is another smart feature that helps to avoid crashes by intelligent braking when it realises you might crash before you do. To top it all off, you have the ubiquitous Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to get you where you need to go with all the music and entertainment you would expect on your smartphone.
The Optima is also ideal for Canadian winters as it comes with a 185 hp motor with plenty of grunt, and heated forward seats to keep you warm during that cold commute. Finish it all off with an 8” HD touchscreen display and a $24,999 MSRP and the Kia Optima certainly makes a lot of sense for many first time car buyers.
Sitting at the higher end of what could be considered for a first time car buyer is the ever loveable Toyota RAV-4.
Consistently voted as one of the top compact SUVs, the Toyota RAV-4 has safety features and style in spade. Advanced Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 allows for a greater sense of security when taking to the roads in this beauty, which handles cleanly and with minimal drag. You’ll have plenty of power to get you where you need to go with a 203 hp, 4-cylinder engine and 8-speed automatic transmission as standard.
Because you can’t just have a decent ride these days, Toyota has made sure to include all the creature comforts we have come to expect in a ride these days. Heated front seats for a cosy cabin, Apple CarPlay as standard, and Entune 3.0 Audio with 4.2” touchscreen turn this already luxurious economy car into a powerhouse of extra features.
The RAV-4 is more than just a pretty face too, as there are some serious smarts under the hood. Toyota has included the incredibly useful blind spot monitoring feature in the base model to ensure you never miss that car hiding just out of sight. To help those of us out who have trouble reversing out of parking spots, the Rear Cross Traffic Alert will be a huge help. It warns you when a car enters your backing out path and can help you prevent a crash.
At $27,990 MSRP, the RAV-4 might be a little too rich for some first time car buyers’ blood, but it is well worth the price considering the attention to detail Toyota has paid. Another thing to keep in mind is that Toyota’s are consistently voted the least depreciating cars on the market, so it may be a smart financial decision to invest big now so you can reap the rewards later.
When fuel efficiency and fun are the name of the game, the Chevrolet Sonic is the top of the class.
At 6.75 litres per 100 kilometres, the Sonic is by far the most fuel efficient entry on our list, allowing you to drive from Toronto to Montreal on a single tank of gas. But what are you going to do on that long drive? The Sonic has you covered with all the entertainment options you could ask for. From Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, to the 7” integrated touchscreen and available built-in 4G-LTE WiFi hotspot, you’ll be able to stream Netflix and crank your Spotify to your hearts content.
Safety is a big priority in the Sonic as well. It is the first car in its class with 10 airbags built in as standard. The Sonic also comes with rear vision camera as standard to help those people who struggle with reversing. For even more support, there’s the option to add rear park assist, which warns you of any stationary objects behind you using ultrasonic sensors. Other available options include forward collision alert and lane departure warning, bring a lot of intelligence to such a fun and compact ride.
The only electric vehicle on our list is the increasingly popular Nissan Leaf.
Electric vehicles are still relatively new on the scene, and so they tend to cost more than conventional internal combustion engines, which have had over 100 years to optimise and economise on their production. That being said, the $37,000 price tag could actually work out cheaper in the long run for many first time car buyers, as the cost of electricity is far lower than the cost of gas. You also get those warm fuzzy feelings from doing your bit for the environment, along with the silent running and instant torque EVs are known for.
Of course, it’s not enough to just be a slick electric car these days, you need to have some extras to entice people over. All your standard entertainment options are there including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, bluetooth audio, 5” touchscreen and more. There’s even a SiriusXM radio trial on offer to get the tunes pumping. Remote start, 10 airbags as standard, and heated power outside mirrors will keep you moving and safe during the winter months.
Overall there are plenty of excellent options for first time car buyers in Toronto right now. These represent some of the best “bang for your buck” in terms of features, warranties, safety, and entertainment. If you are looking for a new or used car for your first car, but don’t have the established credit history to be approved for financing, contact Autoloan.ca. We specialise in getting people of all credit levels into the cars of their dreams from our fleet of over 7,000 new and certified used vehicles. We negotiate with the top banks and credit unions to secure you the lowest rates, and we don’t rest until your loan is approved.