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First Car Suggestions

Hey guys!
I will be turning 16 soon, and I’m considering purchasing a used car. This will be my first car, and I would like it to meet the following requirements: decent gas mileage, it should be safe (airbags, anti-lock braking, etc.), relatively cheap, and I want it to have a manual transmission. Any suggestions?
Thank you!

What is your budget? And finding one with a manual tranny, while a good idea, may be difficult, they’re becoming pretty rare.

Let everyone in your circle of relatives know you’re searching. The best chance of getting a reliable used car at a price that the average 16 year old can afford is an offer from a well-off and generous relative. You can worry about make & model in a few years when you’re working full time and can better afford to make choices.

I’m aware that automatics are starting to become the norm (or have been for a while, for that matter). However, I think a stick is much more fun to drive, and they’re usually cheaper. It won’t be a deal-breaker if I find a good automatic, but I would like a manual.
My budget is around $5,000. I think the majority of my close family knows I’m looking, and my dad is considering giving me his Hyundai Accent if he decides to get a new car. I’m currently weighing my options.
Thanks for your help.

Keep your eye out for a 4cyl P/U truck… They are in great demand but clean ones can be found…Easy to maintain, cheap to operate…

I would take dad up on his offer of his car. You should already know the history of the vehicle and would put it ahead of any other cars out there. Drive the Accent while saving any money you get so you can buy a newer, and nicer, car should the Accent become unreliable.

Take the Accent. Whatever you can find used for $4,000 (you want to keep some of that $5,000) may just need a ton of work. You know your dad’s car, you know its history.

And give your dad a big huge thank you. He’s doing you a big favor.

Believe it or not, I was going to suggest a Hyundai Accent with a good maintenance record and low mileage. A stick shift with any degree of reliability is usually an econobox, since many of them are still sold that way. Your $5000 should buy one in excellent condition. Other choices would be a Mazda Protege or Mazda3. Avoid any sports models with a stickshift; they will likely have been abused!

A Chevy Cobalt with a stick shift may be hard to find, but $5000 should buy a good one with low mileage.

Be super nice to your dad so he gives you the Accent. It’s a simple car that should be cheap to operate and insure.

Otherwise, good luck finding a manual. If you do, it will probably be a basic Japanese economy car, generally a good thing. If you’re lucky you find one with complete maintenance records and one owner who used it for nothing more strenuous than a long freeway commute. Nothing modified or with evidence of a bad wreck. At that price it’s going to be old and/or have a lot of mileage, so mechanical condition is everything. If it has a timing belt and the owner doesn’t have records from its last replacement, pass. Unless the price is low enough that you can immediately have it done within your budget.

My kids started driving on my old Mazda Pick Up and Chevy Novas, two of them. 4cylinder pick ups,and Corollas (the Novas) are easy to drive, cheap to maintain and reliable. There are lots of other options but if you need a little more utility, the compact 4cykinder Toyota’s are tough to beat and the Civic,Focus, Corolla etc. compacts work well if you don’t. I would not have recomended Hyundais a few years back but now you can’t argue they are excellent bang for the buck. Just make sure you have a dealership nearby.