The 4 Best Cars for New Drivers
Posted by: Lydia on 18/01/2021
Buying a first car is an exciting but intimidating process for many new drivers. Getting a license requires going through a very structured series of steps, but the same cannot be said for buying a first car. There is a wide variety of vehicles out there, and it can be hard to find a car that matches a new driver’s needs and wants.
The good news is that there’s no reason to be intimidated by the process — ultimately, there are a ton of great vehicles out there that can cater to the needs of new drivers. Without further ado, here are four of the best cars for new drivers available in Australia.
1. Ford Ecosport Ambiente
Although many new drivers will head out once they get their permit and look for a 4WD, the reality is that a lot of the vehicles in this class may not be very user-friendly for a new driver. For example, they may be missing some of those driver aids and little luxuries that make getting into the groove of daily driving much easier.
That’s why the Ford Ecosport Ambiente is such a fantastic choice for anyone longing for an adventure-ready vehicle that’s still easy to commute with through city traffic. The 2020 edition features a 3cyl, 1.5L engine, and delivers a very decent 6.9L/100km. As well as handy inclusions like traction control and hill start assist to help make those first drives seamless, the interior features a great tech hub ready to give a fun driving playlist or two the great listening experience they deserve.
2. Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry is among the most popular vehicles in Australia, beloved for the affordability of its operating costs and repairs. New drivers are at a much higher risk of having a driving incident, and while most will be minor, it's important to keep repair costs in mind. Whether it's a small issue or a more substantial issue that arises with the mechanics, this car can be very cost-effective for new drivers who need to keep operating costs minimal.
3. Mitsubishi Mirage
The Mirage is compact but capable. Its 2020 model features a 1.2-litre petrol engine with 57kW and 100Nm, and comes with standard autonomous emergency braking (AEB), and a rear-view camera. Alongside its fuel economy and safety credentials, the Mirage is fitted with a touchscreen that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For a new driver looking for an easy commuter vehicle that’ll make trips to university and Friday night parties a breeze, the Mirage has a lot to offer.
4. Holden Commodore
Used Holden Commodores remain popular options among new drivers. They are well-made cars with solid safety ratings and fuel efficiency, and just as for Toyota and Ford — who also made a number of cars Down Under for many years — there’s an abundance of spare parts available. So for anyone looking to get into a bit of car customisation — or perhaps build up their own knowledge of how to become a DIY mechanic — starting out with a vehicle from Holden is a great pick.
The Rules of the Road
When considering a new car, it's important to remain mindful of licensing restrictions that may come into play for certain vehicles that are exceptionally powerful. New drivers will want to avoid a situation where they excitedly buy their first car only to find they are not allowed to drive it on a probationary license — though there can be caveats to these rules.
In Victoria for example, if someone has a local license and can prove that being banned from driving a particular vehicle would cause undue hardship, then they could obtain an exemption. Similarly, if someone in Victoria is driving with an overseas driver’s license, they are not subject to these bans.
Nonetheless, although the law may not restrict a new driver from driving a particular vehicle in certain instances, an insurance company will not make such a distinction. For new drivers who may not have all that much cash handy to obtain a new vehicle, it can be prudent to do some pre-purchase research surrounding the insurance premium that they could expect to pay. There's little point in saving a couple of hundred on a car if the insurance premium for it ends up being hundreds more than for another vehicle.
Making the Most of a First Car
For a new driver, their first car is a ticket to freedom, giving them a license to drive and explore their surroundings in a new way. It’s part of the reason why even most experienced drivers recall their first car fondly — even if it had some issues at times. New drivers today are also very lucky given how far the quality of car design and manufacturing has come over the years. Those classic stories about a first car with problems are becoming rare indeed.
On this list are four great vehicles for a new driver. Each vehicle offers something unique in its own right, but all are the kind of rides that could really kickstart a lifelong love for autos. Just as buying a first car is very exciting, all gearheads would say that excitement never fades when it comes to buying a second, third, or fourth vehicle. But the first car is always super special, and should be enjoyed accordingly given all the hard work it takes any new driver to progress from their learner’s test, to their learner plates, to passing their final driving test.
What other cars do you think are great for new drivers? Let us know in the comments below.