Ford For most young people and their parents, buying a first car is a major step.
One great option is to look at used cars, which could often be had for a fraction of the cost of new versions. We came up with 15 used automobiles we think are the best for the young car buyer on a budget.
To make our list, we focused on automobiles which are available on the market right now for under $15,000. We looked for people that are reliable, fun to drive, comfortable, appealing, economical, practical, and first and foremost, safe.
For safety, we checked out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) moderate front Door crash test ratings for the automobiles we picked.
Prices are based on current prices on Autotrader.com and reflect the lowest cost we think an adequate example may cost.
2011-Present Volkswagen Jetta TDI $13,500
Starting price: $12,500 and up IIHS crash test rating: Great Why buy it: The sixth generation Volkswagen Jetta provides buyers a pleasure European sports compact sedan with a decidedly upmarket feel. For the value-minded client, the petrol TDI engine alternative offers great range and fuel economy in a powerful package. However, as with any technologically advanced European sedan, take time to search for a well maintained lower mileage example, as out-of-warranty repairs for your car may become pricey.
2004.5-2012 Volvo S40
Starting price: $7,900 and upward IIHS crash test evaluation: Great Why buy itIntroduced in mid 2004 as a "2004.5" version, the next generation S40 sedan is Volvo's take on a small, stylish, and sporty sedan. As expected with any Volvo, the S40 is equipped with a ton of security features. Power for your S40 comes from Volvo's venerable inline five-cylinder. The base version pumps out a decent 168 horsepower, while sportier turbocharged variants produces as much as 227 ponies.
1999-2006 Toyota Celica
Starting price: $5,500 and upward IIHS crash test rating: Great Why buy itThe Toyota Celica sub-compact sports car is fast, fun to drive, reliable, and provides a surprising level of utility. Powered by a 140 or 180 horsepower lookup engine, the Celica's spirited performance doesn't diminish is elevated fuel economy ratings. As a sports car, beware of copies that have been abused by boy racers or have experienced low end after market modifications, as they might diminish the long-term sturdiness of the car.
2012-Present Ford Focus
Starting price: $9,000 and up IIHS crash test evaluation: Good Why buy itSince its beginning in 1998, the Focus has been a star performer for Ford. But for year, Ford's US and European branch sold distinct cars beneath the "Focus" name -- together with the European version better received. For 2012, the next generation Ford unified the version and finally gave the US Focus customers the European car they'd been awaiting. Power for Emphasis comes out of a 2.0 liter 160 horsepower inline four cylinder engine. Individuals looking for higher performance can select the critically acclaimed 252 hp Focus ST -- although even used examples of the model might be pricey.
2010-Present Chevrolet Equinox
Starting price: $14,000 and up IIHS crash test rating: Good Why buy it: The second creation Chevy Equinox not just lasted the model's sales success, it gave General Motors a top notch compact crossover SUV to compete against the segment leaders. The Equinox offers a drivers a comfortable and competent crossover in stylish and attractive package. The base powerplant for the Equinox is a 2.4 liter 182 hp lookup engine, while more expensive models come equipped a selection of strong V6 engine choices.