r/AskMen Dec 01 '22

What should my first car be? Something cheap, reliable but good looking

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28 comments sorted by


u/GvRiva Dec 01 '22

No matter how much money you have, i would always recommend a old beater with low horsepower.


u/StankyCheese01 Dec 01 '22

Yep. Chances are youll do some damage to your first car as your still learning. Get something you wouldn’t mind having a few paint scratches on.


u/OneSteelTank number of times it has happened: 18 Dec 01 '22

2006 Camry


u/KairuneG Dec 01 '22

Your manager is an idiot :P

Buy something new but cheap, or used but mid priced. Make sure to get it fully tested by a center for everything to know what you might be in for once purchased down the line.

Never take a loan to buy a vehicle, if you crash it tomorrow for whatever reason and insurance doesn't cover it you are down both a car and income every month.

My first car was based on how cheap and generic the parts were, it was a Toyota pickup with about 100000 km on the clock and I kept it for abput 6 years before being stable financially and able to buy my ideal car, which was a Toyota Hilux.

Rather save your money for more important things man, a car is a luxury that should come second to a house or other important things in life.

But that's just my opinion, do what you want :)


u/PoolPartyAtMyHouse Dec 01 '22

Get the RAV4. Toyota is always a good choice. They are insanely reliable, good gas mileage for an SUV, will damn near outlast you if you take care of it, and it will hold its value extremely well.

Taking a loan out isn't bad, bigger down payment will make the loan easier to pay off and installment loans when kept on top of are good for your credit. Putting 8K down would give you some pretty small payments.


u/Paminow Dec 01 '22

Your manager is a dummy.

Car costs a lot more than car itself. All the maintenance will be expensive as feck, especially on new luxury cars.

Did you know that on some you can't even change headlights yourself? Instead of costing you 20 bucks and 15 minutes to install its gonna cost you a whole afternoon at the workshop not to mention getting that 1k headlight there.

Don't get me started on the other maintenance.

First car should be something that you aren't afraid to bruise and you might even be able to do some maintenance on, 8k is more than enough to buy a good low mileage economy car. Who wouldn't want to be dept free??

If you feel comfortable buying a luxury car after seeing what it costs to keep up repairs and drive economy car. Go ahead, you have the experience.

But who am I to choose what you buy.


u/FunkU247365 Male MAN of the wise man tribe!! Dec 01 '22

1) ALWAYS buy used, a car loses 20-30% value the second it is driven off the lot.... on a 40K$ vehicle that is 7000-9000$ lost just for "new smell (which is actually cancerous CFC gas).

2) Volvo, Toyota, Honda, Mazda

3) Finance and pay off quickly for credit score if yours needs improved, if not buy outright


u/aiu_killer_tofu Male Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

Go used, if for no other reason than as a new driver you're far more likely to bang it up. Insurance and repairs on something new, especially with a lein, is going to be more than something used and cheaper. Also you won't hate yourself as much if you scrape up something that's already got some blemishes.

Any of the cars you've suggested should be good, honestly. I drive a Rav4, but cross shopped the CRV and CX5 also. Subarus are also reliable for most recent years. They're all good and I wouldn't fault someone for picking any of them if they like one more than the other. The only thing I'd caution you on is the 1.5L turbo engines from Honda had oiling issues for certain years (it was fixable with a software update), but otherwise you really can't go wrong with them as long as that individual vehicle you're buying is in good shape.


u/Drunkener Dec 01 '22

Any of those cars will be fine, except for the benz. New or used is up to you and depends on a bunch of factors like model availability, markup, and other preferences you might have. If a new model only costs 2k more than a used one it makes more sense to get the new one. How is your credit? That's the biggest hurdle right now with interest rates, I saw an older guy get approved for a 4.9% on a 20k car even though he had an established 800 credit score. Get the loan if you can to build your credit, it should only take two years max for it to boost your score then you can pay it off fully if that's what you so choose. Every 1000 down is about 20 bucks off your monthly payment, but more money down can help ease the bank's mind about giving a loan. Check too see if any manufacturers are offering first time buyer programs or incentives and call your local dealership to see if they'll honor it.


u/Qli2077 Dec 01 '22

Do not buy a merc. They are usually money pits.

Honestly I'd avoid SUV's unless you need the space.

Nissan Xterra/Frontier's are good for offroading and have after market support. Same with Toyota 4runners or Tacomas

Don't buy a Chrysler product and avoid Fiat

If this is your first car I'd suggest a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic. Sedan or hatchback models will work just fine.

Avoid Nissan CVT's like the fucking plague. My parents have gotten lucky with theirs but their cooling issues and the general, weird, belt-driven mess that they are is a no go. Automatic torque converters are generally more reliable.

Don't buy manual UNLESS you're a car guy. If not then use an auto to make the driver's test easier.

Do not buy a Ford Eco-Tech crossover with the dumbass 1.0 Inline 3 with a turbo. That has, and will always be, a piece of shit.

Avoid Nissan Jukes, Nissan Kicks, Nissan Altima's/Ultima's, Chrysler-anything, Fiats, some Fords, anything with a rotary engine, Alfas, used old luxury cars, and lastly:

If you're buying used, check, fluids, please.

Oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and I think power steering fluid.. might be forgetting something.


u/Recondite_neophyte Dec 01 '22

Do not purchase a car that you think will make you look/be “cool”. Get something you can afford that is reliable. You’re a new driver, so honestly, I’d save your money and get a nice used Toyota/Honda “beater” for your first car. You also want to take into consideration maintenance costs. Learn to do easy jobs like oil changes (unless the dealer offers them for free) and brake pads/rotors. Changing out pads and rotors is easy AF and will save you a lot of money in labor.


u/slwrthnu_again Male Dec 01 '22

If you want something cheap, reliable and good looking I’ll suggest the same car I drive, Lexus is300. The older the better. The first generation is where it’s at but I understand non-car people may have issues with driving a 20 year old car daily because it’s too old, so one of the newer generations is fine too.

In general though anything Toyota/Lexus that you can afford and you find good looking will fit the bill.

As far as buying new vs. used, go used. Go private seller and don’t step foot in a dealership. Dealerships are refusing to believe that car prices are coming down and are still jacking up prices on new and used cars that the market is no longer supporting. Even a 20 year old Lexus is not gonna need much more then oil changes to keep running for years to come. If you aren’t mechanically inclined go to an independent mechanic for a pre purchase inspection before you buy (do not accept a dealerships inspection or go to where the seller tells you to, find your own mechanic).

Don’t take out a loan if you don’t need to. Definitely don’t go buy a brand new Mercedes.


u/whitefire89 Dec 01 '22

There are a couple of things to consider;

Will you be paid mileage? I assume so, since you will be buying the car. If you are driving a lot, I would look for something that gets pretty good gas mileage. You could essentially get more car, because less of your mileage reimbursement will be going to fuel. If you do a thousand miles a month in a Prius for example, getting 50mpg, you would spend about $60 on gas ($3/gal), and have about $525 or so left over - meaning it could take care of your car payment. If you get a big truck or SUV, you could spend $200 on gas, and have $400 left for the vehicle, maintenance, etc.

Will you be taking people out with you (like to lunch or entertain)? Or is this strictly for you to get from client to client? Who are you selling to? Is there an expectation as to what the car may be?


u/Byizo Mail Dec 01 '22

I don't know much about Mazda, but the Toyota/Honda cars run forever with regular, scheduled maintenance. Always change fluids, spark plugs, cables, battery, etc. on time and the worst you're likely to have happen is replacing a fan or the radiator. They are not the best looking or the most powerful cars for the price, but if you take care of it they rarely have repair needs in the thousands of dollars. Parts are also cheaper and readily available due to the high volume of sales on Accords, Camrys, etc.

Buying a new car does have its perks, and if you can comfortably afford it and either pay cash or get it paid off quickly it could be a good option. I've never bought new, but my wife did and has not once regretted the decision, though she makes 6 figures including bonuses and commission. You get to choose all the options you want and leave off anything you don't. You have peace of mind that anything that does go wrong in the near future is covered by warranty. You know the full maintenance history of the vehicle. Single owner cars are worth more. The only downside is you pay a bit of a premium for all of that, but it can be worth it.

With $3k/mo coming in and $5k saved though I would recommend buying used. Something 5-10 years old without a ridiculous number of miles, NOT a fleet (rental) vehicle, and a price you can comfortably pay off in the next 2-3 years if you must take out a small loan. Getting one that just finished being leased is a good option if you can find it.


u/extendedwarranty_bot Dec 01 '22

Byizo, I have been trying to reach you about your car's extended warranty


u/Driftnut08 Dec 01 '22

Mazdas have electronics issues at times, I wouldn't buy one. The RAV4 is alright, but it was never my taste personally. Crv's are meh as far as power train. The Accord and the Camry will last so long that you can ride them into Armageddon. Also, start used, always start used. It's a lot cheaper to buy a used car, an maybe put $500 in parts and basic maintenance. Besides getting a deal, you can take your time and get to learning how to properly maintain you vehicle.


u/Damageincx Dec 01 '22

My first car was a 08 Jetta and I loved. Second or third car is when you should go all out in my opinion.


u/huuaaang Male Dec 01 '22

I used to be a Honda guy, but the company has been doing some shady things lately and I'm having a hard time getting certain parts.

I'd go with the Toyota.

My manager keeps telling me its my first car and i should "go all out" suggesting i take a loan for the latest Mercedes Benz. Sounds like terrible advice.

Your manager sounds like an idiot. Especially since he knows how much you make.


u/ace_cube Dec 01 '22

Hondas, Hyundais and Toyotas are the most reliable.

My first car was a Hyundai that I bought from my mom, it was the family car that we got in 2004 and I bought it from her in 2014, she lasted until 2020


u/Woodit Dec 01 '22

Honda or Toyota pre-owned is your best bet.

Don’t listen to your manager on this, or many other things. It sounds like wants you to take on a huge payment to keep you dependent on the job and less free to change your career as you may want.


u/Public_Magician_9352 Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

Do not listen to your manager !

Prices are terrible right now and you need a savings for emergency. If you can save up to 8k, spend half on a down payment for a car and pay the rest of the car in a year.

A car note that’s too expensive can you in your social life and make it harder for you.

I never had a car note and and it helped me get ahead of a lot of my friend that did. They would rarely have money to do anything.

Outside of gas I was paying 50 dollars for the basic car insurance required in my state.

My friends had to pay 300-500 for their cars and another 200-400 for insurance on a financed vehicle. That’s easily $500 to $900 per month.


u/Hierophant-74 Dec 01 '22

I tend to buy gently used cars (as low mileage as possible for it's age with solid maintenance history) after the 30% deprecation hit. So about 2ish years old. Still got a lot of life left.

And then I put at least 150k miles on it before I think about replacing it.

At your age, I'd suggest a mid tier Japanese vehicle. Good gas mileage, solid reliability, easy to insure.

I think high end cars like Mercedes are very well made and tend to last as long as you are willing to maintain them. But you have plenty of time in life to build yourself up to that class of vehicle and would focus on a solid cheaper option that will get you through your 20s as efficiently as possible.

Also...I personally recommend never going past 36mo financing and again, drive that shit until the wheels fall off!


u/gnarlyoldman Male Dec 01 '22

Don't go into debt for a car. Buy one you can afford.
Car repairs are always less expensive than car payments.


u/MA499 Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

I've owned quite a few Hyundai. We have 4 going right now. 1 over 110k miles and two Elantras over 220k miles. Doing standard maintenance is usually all that's needed. Plus, they get about 32-36 mpg highway. That is my two cents.

Used is fine. Try for certified pre owned if available. Costs a little more, but you get 10 years 100k mile coverage (on Hyundai)

If you can, join a credit union. With a sizeble down payment, rates will be good and you can build your credit. Paying cash is ok too. You will just be looking at older, higher mileage cars.


u/slimfastdieyoung Dec 01 '22

When people ask my father (who's a mechanic) he always recommends Toyota, Honda or Hyundai.

If it's a first car, don't go for something that's good looking because you will make some dents and scratches.


u/stuckmeformypaper Dec 01 '22

Corolla. The used market is piss these days, you're gonna get fucked no matter what but at least this option adds a little more lube.


u/BMoney8600 Male Dec 01 '22
  1. But a used car, new cars may seem nice but with the economy these days a used car makes sense.

  2. A brand that screams reliable is definitely Toyota. Those things are built to last and it’s no wonder why you see Toyota Camry’s that are past 20 years old still on the road.

  3. When I got my car my father and I both took money of the bank and paid the person in cash. I have not bought a car with a loan yet but I know that a loan could be helpful.