The Best First Car's for Canadian's


The Best Vehicle's for First Time Car Buyer's

Buying your first car is an often exciting and memorable experience. The freedom and independence that comes with owning a car is one you can only understand when you’re no longer relying on friends, family or public transportation. However, buying a car can be an expensive endeavour, so it’s important to find a car that’s affordable, economical and with a good reputation to avoid expensive trips to the mechanic. Whether you're a teen or adult looking to buy your first car, it’s important to do your research and understand what makes the most sense for your needs. 

How We Came Up With Our List

While there are hundreds of new and used car models on the market today, some make more sense for a Canadian buying their first car than others. First, we wanted to make sure that all the cars we list are affordable, so we won’t list any vehicles over $23,000. Secondly, we are only listing vehicles that have solid reputations and without a history of needing constant repairs. Lastly, as we live in Canada, most of us have to endure the harshness of winter driving. Therefore, we stuck to vehicles that can handle themselves on Canadian winter roads. We’ve mostly chosen vehicles that are a year or two years old, as by this time they have gone through their most significant period of depreciation. 

Our Top 10 Best First Cars

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Toyota Corolla
  3. Chevrolet Cruze
  4. Kia Forte
  5. Volkswagen Jetta
  6. Mazda 3
  7. Ford Fusion
  8. Hyundai Elantra
  9. Nissan Kicks S
  10. Subaru Legacy

1. 2019 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic has been one of Canada’s best selling passenger vehicles for the past twenty years, and for good reason. It has solid safety ratings and is an incredibly affordable vehicle as you won’t be hard pressed to find a used 2019 model for under $20,000. The Honda Civic Sedan has controlled braking and vehicle stability assistant, making the car a great option for new drivers still getting comfortable on the road. 

Blue Honda Civic in the city


City: 9.3L per 100km

Highway: 6.5L per 100km

2. 2019 Toyota Corolla 

If you’re looking for an affordable, yet sleek, 4 door sedan, the 2019 Toyota Corolla is one of the best choices you can make. Not only is the Corolla an affordable vehicle, it’s also a Toyota, a car company known for its fantastic reliability. Typically, used models of the Corolla sell for around $16,000-$20,000 depending on the condition and number of add-ons. If you wanted to opt for a 2021 Toyota Corolla, you can get a base model for $19,350. The 2019 Corolla features a rear view camera and Toyota safety sense technologies.

white toyota corolla in the mountains


City: 8.3L per 100km

Highway: 6.7L per 100km

3. 2019 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze boasts a spacious cabin and excellent handling. It’s not hard to find a used Cruze for under $20,000. It has features such as smartphone mirroring that will be projected onto a 7 inch touchscreen and has high safety scores. If you decide a Chevrolet Cruze is the right car for you, you can decide whether you want the sedan model or the sportier hatchback Cruze.  

grey chevy cruze on the road

Fuel Efficiency

City: 8.0L per 100km

Highway: 5.9L per 100km

4. 2019 Kia Forte

The Kia Forte model was first released in 2010 to target young and first time buyers who wanted a car that was both stylish and reliable. Ten years later and the Kia Forte is one of Kia’s most popular vehicles. The Forte has a sleek interior and is known for its comfortability. While the vehicle's engine performance is nothing to brag about, it’s a fantastic choice for anyone who needs a reliable vehicle to get around town. Like most of the vehicles on our list, a used Kia Forte typically sells for under $20,000. 

red kia forte driving on the road

Fuel Efficiency 

City: 7.7L per 100km

Highway: 5.9L per 100km

5. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

If you’re looking for a car with a bit more “kick” to it, look no further. The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta has a turbocharged engine and excellent handling to control the vehicle with comfort. While typically the base model Jetta is a bit more expensive than other vehicles on this list, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a 2019 Jetta for under $21,000. One reason this base model is a bit more expensive is because of some of the additional features like heated seats and a sunroof. 

Blue volkswagen jetta parked

Fuel Efficiency

City: 7.0L per 100km

Highway: 5.9L per 100km. 

6. 2019 Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 is another affordable first car that has some muscle to it. At 186hp this car has more than just a slick exterior, but some pretty good power for a vehicle you can find on the market for under $20,000. Its one of the only vehicles on this list that has all-wheel drive, making those Canadian winter roads a bit easier to navigate. With excellent safety scores, it’s no wonder the 2019 Mazda 3 made our list.

Grey mazda 3 n the side of the road

Fuel Efficiency

City: 9.0L per 100km

Highway: 7.0L per 100km

7. 2019 Ford Fusion

For most first time car buyers, the three most important characteristics they want in their car are style, safety and comfort. Luckily, the 2019 Ford Fusion has all three of those. On top of those, it also has cool features like adaptive cruise control, Apple Carplay and a voice controlled navigation system. The Ford Fusion is great for any first time car buyer who wants a spacious and safe vehicle. While it can take a bit more hunting to find one for under $20,000, we think it’s well worth the patience of waiting to buy until you find one. 

Red ford fusion driving under bridge

Fuel Efficiency

City: 8.2L per 100km

Highway: 6.5L per 100km

8. 2019 Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is one of the best vehicles you can choose if you’re main concern is affordability. The 2021 Hyundai Elantra base model starts at $17,899, making it one of the most affordable vehicles in its class. If you decide you want to avoid the cost of depreciation, finding a 2020 Elantra on the used market for under $16,000 is realistic. Not only is the price tag great, but it has both great fuel efficiency and reliability to keep you out of the mechanic shop and keep the costs of maintenance and gas to a minimum. 

white Hyundai elantra driving in front of city skyline

Fuel Efficiency

City: 9.2L per 100km

Highway: 6.5L per 100km

9. 2019 Nissan Kicks S

The Nissan Kicks S is a bit of a weird one as it's hard to categorize it between being a small crossover SUV or a hatchback. While it’s a sporty vehicle, it doesn’t give up comfort, space or safety. It has some of the best fuel economy of all the vehicles on this list. For anyone looking for a great sporty adventure vehicle, the Nissan Kicks S is a great option. Lastly, it’s another affordable used vehicle that can be found on most dealership lots for under $20,000.

Grey nissan kicks driving

Fuel Efficiency

City: 7.7L per 100km

Highway: 6.6L per 100km

10. 2019 Subaru Legacy

Last but not least on our list is the 2019 Subaru Legacy. This midsize sedan boasts 18 inch wheels and all wheel driving, giving the ability to keep up with most SUVs in harsh Canadian road conditions. Subaru has added adaptive cruise control and forward collision mitigation on all of their trim level Legacy’s. While the engine is not as powerful as some of the sportier vehicles on this list, unless you’re looking for a zippy car, this car should be more than enough. The Legacy is typically a bit more expensive, but if you’re persistent you should be able to find a used 2019 model for under $23,000. 

Silver Subaru Legacy in puddle

Fuel Efficiency

City: 9.3L per 100km

Highway: 7.0: per 100km

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