Home>News>How to choose a first car that ticks all the boxes

How to choose a first car that ticks all the boxes

Learning to drive or looking to buy your first car soon? Here are our top 10 picks for first cars in Australia that tick all the necessary boxes.

April 24, 2023·10 min read

Factors to think about when searching for your first car

If you’re on your L’s, it can be hugely beneficial to learn in the actual car you’re going to end up driving on your own once you pass your probationary license test for a few reasons:

You get used to the general feel of the car (steering, brakes, etc.) in a safe setting with a qualified and experienced driver in the passenger seat

You’ll take it out in all manner of weather conditions and both during the day and at night to further develop how it handles in all of these different conditions

It acts as a motivating factor for you making sure you get your logbook hours up and advance your practical and textbook skills and understanding of the road and its rules

So whether you’re still logging hours in your learner logbook and want to practice in your own (future) car or you’ve got your P’s test coming up and are in the market for your first car, it’s no question how exciting it is to hit up carsales - often for hours at a time - searching for that perfect set of wheels.

But there are absolutely a few things you should be thinking about if you’re interested in making a more practical choice of vehicle as your first.

We all dream big; everyone wishes they could be cruising around in the latest-model V8 ‘Stang or a fully worked STI Rexy. But there are a few pretty obvious reasons why that’s simply not possible when you’re on your probationary license. So let’s get into the major things to consider when shopping for a first car, shall we?


Unless you’re a Saudi prince or the son of Putin, you probably don’t have the cash to head to the showroom and drive the latest-model Bugatti out. A first car doesn’t have to come with all the bells and whistles. Those cars come later on in life. In the meantime, though, you can pick up something really quite decent for 10 grand or less.

Having said that, buying new means you’ll get the full new car warranty. Not only that, but many manufacturers now offer capped-price servicing for the first few years too. And you’ll get the latest and greatest tech and features to boot.

Deciding whether to opt for new or used will depend on your personal situation. If you’re thinking about getting a new car with a loan, have a chat with our partners at Stratton Finance - they’ll source you an amazing deal.


Like almost everything else in life, the less experienced someone is at driving the higher chance they’ll have an accident. To help make sure you’re as safe as possible should the worst happen, it’s absolutely imperative that you take the overall safety of the car into consideration.

Look up any car you’re keen on’s safety rating on the ANCAP website, and make sure it’s got a few airbags around the cabin (driver and passenger at an absolute minimum) as well.

And other features like reversing camera, parking sensors and stability control can make a world of difference, too.


Imagine you’ve driven to uni or work and had a helluva day. It’s legit just been absolutely brutal, and you’re completely rooted. You drag your feet while walking to your car, hop in, turn the key and… nothing.

***cue 10-minute tirade of colourful language***

Avoid this situation by:

Buying a make/model that’s known for its reliability

Reading up on any common issues the vehicle may have had and how difficult (and pricey) they are to fix

Only buying a car that comes with a full log book service history

Getting the car inspected by a professional mechanic before buying


On a probationary license, you’re limited to how much power you’re allowed to have which is calculated according to what’s known as the ‘power to weight ratio’. This differs depending on where you are, so check your state or territory’s website to find out more.

Further to the power, there are other things that fall under the sensible umbrella. Like maybe a 2-seater convertible sounds good but will it be the best option in the long run? Perhaps a car that’s been dumped on its arse has caught your eye, but in the grand scheme of things, is it really the most sensible option?

Top 10 First Cars

With all of the aforementioned factors in mind, we’ve put a list of 5 new and 5 used first cars that we reckon are head and shoulders above the pack.


Toyota Corolla - Known the world over for its reliability, the Toyota Corolla is priced from $27,758 driveaway for the base model hatch.

Mazda 3 - The Mazda 3 has been a favourite of Aussies for many years now, and the latest model shows no signs of bucking the trend. The recommended delivered price is $29,928 for the base model G20 PURE - check out the latest Mazda offers at carconnect today.

Mitsubishi Mirage - Starting at just $17,490 driveaway and packed with some pretty impressive features, the Mitsubishi Mirage is a fantastic option for a first car if you’re thinking about buying new.

Suzuki Swift - The little pocket rocket Suzuki Swift is priced from $21,490 driveaway, with plenty of personality packed into a nice, compact package.

Volkswagen Polo - Boasting a seriously impressive fuel economy of 5-5.6 litres per 100km, the VW Polo provides the perfect mix of comfort, tech and style, with prices starting from a mere $22,490 driveaway. You’ve come to the right place for the best Volkswagen deals available, too - call us now on 1300 880 008 to find out how we can help.



Toyota Corolla - There’s a reason why this tops both the used and new top first car lists. A few, actually. It’s ultra-reliable, very safe, retains value well, is nice and sensible and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to run.

Honda Jazz - You know you’ll be getting a high-quality car when you choose Honda, and the Jazz is most certainly that. Great fuel economy, plenty of room in the cabin and hatch boot, and nice lines make this a fantastic used first car contender.

Toyota Yaris - Yes, it’s another Toyota. This time the Yaris, which is a more compact version of the Corolla not just in its body size but also engine capacity, horsepower and torque numbers. This is the better Toyota option for those who live and/or work in the city and need to be able to squeeze into small spaces.

 Mitsubishi Lancer - Unless you grew up on a distant planet and have only recently arrived on Earth (if so, welcome), you’ve no doubt heard of the Mitsubishi Lancer. As sensible goes, this is one of the tippy-top options in the used car category. The hatch has a massive amount of boot space, which is further increased when needed by folding down the rear seats.

Subaru Liberty - Renowned to keep going for several hundred thousand kilometres with little to no issues, Subaru’s boxer engine is nothing short of an engineering masterpiece. And when coupled with all-wheel-drive, it’s no surprise it made our top 5 used first car list! Look for Liberty models from 2006 onwards to get a 5-star ANCAP rating.


Speak with us to learn more about our services

If you have any questions for us, or you’d like to find out more about one or more of the awesome services we offer at carconnect, please feel free to get in touch with us. You can do so either by calling our friendly team directly on 1300 880 008 or sending us a message via our online enquiry form.

And if you’re interested in financing your next car, you can rest assured our industry partners at Stratton Finance will help you secure the best car finance deal out there. Backed by more than two decades in the industry, the network of lenders they’ve got available at their fingertips means you’ll be more than impressed with your monthly repayment figure - find out what yours could look like by using their online car finance quote tool today.

Share this page

More from carconnect

20 February 2024
Hidden gems: 4WD adventures Australia-wide
#carconnect #4x4 #4wd #holiday adventures #hidden gems
19 December 2023
Doing life, the Ford Ranger way.
#New Ford Ranger #Ford Ranger #carconnect # Complete package #Award-winning #Drive Car of the Year
21 January 2021
How our new car buying process redefines the industry
#carconnect #New Car Buying #Buying Cars Online
13 November 2021
3 cars under $100K boasting the wow factor
#Under $100k #Wow Factor
13 February 2023
Discover the Top 5 Most Popular Hybrid Cars in Australia for Eco-Friendly Driving
#popular hybrid cars #hybrid cars #eco-friendly #sustainable
30 October 2020
Demo Cars: Why you shouldn't overlook them.
#Used Cars #Demo Cars

Site Index