editorial newbie drivers first car

Okay, don’t let the main photo above distract you. We’re not promoting underage driving of any sort, but let me tell you – there’s a correlation between newbie drivers and child development.

Children need to learn step-by-step, which means basic stuff should be developed first in order to build a foundation into learning more advanced things. Spoon-feeding isn’t beneficial to kids as it won’t really educate them correctly.

Believe it or not, this idea works the same with driving. In learning how to drive, one should always master the basics first, and that means as simple as religiously locking the doors, adjusting the seat properly, looking at the side mirrors, and concentrating on the drive itself. Fewer distractions, less danger. I, for one, was taught how to drive in a manual transmission ‘90s Nissan Sentra, and I couldn’t be any more grateful. By learning to do things manually, I can say that it really isn’t hard for me to adapt to any vehicle today, no matter how modern they are.

With that in mind, here’s a list of brand new cars today that I deem to be best for newbie drivers. These vehicles have a balance of features that will teach the ropes of driving to beginners, without compromising comfort and safety.

Honda City E

Let’s start this list with the vehicle that could be the perfect first car – the Honda City, in its E variant. Whether in manual or CVT, the City doesn’t patronize you with high-tech features, while being one of the most comfortable sedans out there at a well-matched price point. If you prefer hatchbacks, you could also go for the Jazz in its V trim.

Suzuki Vitara

If you want a bit of a height in your first car, the Suzuki Vitara could fit the bill. Its GLX variant that we drove may have a slew of high-tech features that can spoil new driver, but choosing the lower GL and GL+ trims would give you more-than-basic necessities for your learning experience. Besides, who wouldn’t love its fresh, youthful styling, right?

Nissan Almera

Nissan’s subcompact sedan may be an underdog for this list, but it’s definitely something worth considering. It’s nimble, easy-to-use, and something that new drivers would appreciate, especially with its affordable price tag even for its top-of-the-line trim.

Mazda2 (Hatchback and Sedan)

Whether in its hatchback or sedan version, the Mazda2 could coddle you with the high-quality materials used in its cabin, but it won’t hinder your quest to learn how to drive. In addition, Mazda and its Jinbai Ittai driving philosophy aim to make you enjoy every second of your drive, which should be primary for beginners.

Toyota Yaris

The Yaris is one of my favorite Toyotas, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s comfortable to drive and it doesn’t have obstructive features that could spoil your trip. Besides, with its slew of safety features even for the entry-level trims, you’re assured of your safety no matter where you go.

Ford EcoSport

The previous EcoSport is a very fun vehicle to drive, let alone when Ford Philippines brought over its refreshed version with the 1.0L EcoBoost engine and refined non-dual-clutch transmission. It has grown so much from before, without losing its soul that’s important to first-time drivers.

Mitsubishi Mirage (Hatchback and G4)

The Mitsubishi Mirage offers practicality and simplicity of a small car, with a choice to either go hatchback or sedan. Its three-cylinder engine doesn’t fall short of power while offering impressive fuel economy to go with its competitive price tag. It’s a good daily car, which could be the main reason why it has become a favorite among Grab drivers.

Chevrolet Trax

Admittedly, the Chevrolet Trax LT has a steep price tag for a subcompact crossover, but its LS trim is a pretty good deal for beginner drivers. Stripped off of driver-assist systems for its entry-level trim, its safety features remain intact, which is perfect for those who are just beginning to learn their way behind the steering wheel.

Volkswagen Santana

The Santana got a lot of praises from both Caco and Nico, making it a value-packed choice especially with its very competitive price tag. And since it comes with a kind-of-a-short-throw manual transmission, newbie drivers would be able to master the art of driving a stick minus the stress.

SsangYong Tivoli

Whether in range-topping Sport R (image above) or the lower EXG trim, the Tivoli is one capable yet underrated crossover that I really enjoyed driving. SsangYong Philippines is also throwing in free preventive maintenance service for three years when you buy one, so that’s something you would really appreciate as a beginner behind the wheel.

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