back to articles | February 06, 2024 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying

8 Best Cars to Buy in Your 20s

Buying a car in your 20s is both exciting and a little bit daunting experience. Probably, this will be your first car or the first car you've bought with your own money.


Buying a car in your 20s is both exciting and a little bit daunting experience. Probably, this will be your first car or the first car you've bought with your own money. Either way, you want a nice vehicle with great values and user-friendly technology.

Unlike people in their 30s with nearly a decade of driving experience, you don't want a complicated car that is hard to operate. However, because you are just starting your career or completing college, the price and fuel efficiency also matter. Here are 8 of the best cars to buy in your 20s.

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is a popular car among young drivers looking for reliability, fuel efficiency, and sporty design. The comfortable interior, spacious trunk, agile handling, and advanced safety features make it stand out as a practical and affordable option.

If you are looking for a sedan with more power and performance, the Honda Civic Si will serve you well. The Type R with a 2.0 -liter turbo outputting 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque is for you if you need speed. Top trims come with a fully digital driver information screen and heated seats.

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus may not be the car for you if you intend to impress your colleagues driving the Mercedes A-Class or BMW 1 Series. However, if you want a balance between affordability, dependability and fun-to-drive dynamics, look no further. The agile handling and modern tech features make the Ford Focus an ideal choice for young drivers who value practicality and a thrilling driving experience.

So, what do you get for committing to Ford Focus? The fourth generation got a facelift in 2021, getting standard front and rear LED lights, a new front grille, and a 13.2-inch infotainment system handling phone connectivity, media, and navigation. The Focus RS and Focus ST are ideal if you are looking for higher performance, the Focus RS being faster and more powerful.

Nissan Versa

The Nissan Versa is a solid choice if you are looking for an efficient, reliable, and affordable subcompact car. The 2023 model, in particular, received a facelift you can't ignore. All models have a four-cylinder engine and 122 horsepower, which is excellent for fuel economy. The Versa can comfortably fit 5 adults, and the trunk is quite spacious, so you'll have enough space to carry what you need for the weekend getaway with your friends.

This smooth ride has safety features like lane departure warning, emergency braking, and blind spot monitoring. The SV also has a wireless charging pad and a center control with an armrest. The SR trim has an 8.0-inch touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, Wi-Fi hotspot, 17-inch rims, Apple CarPlay, LED headlight, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Nissan Verse is undoubtedly a perfect combination of convenience, reliability and affordability. If you can afford the top-level trim, that's even better.

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Toyota Corolla is another reliable and cost-effective option. This car has a reputation for durability, safety, practicality, and impressive fuel economy, which makes it a sensible choice for young adults starting in life. Although not very stylish, the Toyota Corolla hatchback is a comfortable ride with impressive 40% thermal efficiency, making it a great option for daily commuting and long road trips.

This hatchback also comes with a four-cylinder engine, making 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. All models have advanced safety features like pre-collision systems, adaptive cruise control, and departure alert. If you want more features and comfort, go for the top-level model Excel Corollas, which has 18-inch alloy wheels, smart entry, bi-LED headlights and sports front seats that are partly leather. That's on top of dual-zone conditioning, TFT multi-information display and 8.0 multi-information displays.

Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra wins for nimble handling with comfort and a well-controlled ride. This small sedan is perfect if you want a spacious cabin, a generous list of standard features, balanced driving dynamics, and a comfortable ride. The Hyundai Elantra combines a spacious interior with good fuel economy, making it an attractive option for individuals in their 20s.

For 2023, the Hyundai Elantra got an upgrade, which included a redesigned wireless charging pad, more USB charge ports, and side impact airbags in the back seats. The interior is well thought out. The seats are heated and comfortable, with enough legroom to accommodate taller passengers. There's a wireless Apple CarPlay Android Auto pad, and the infotainment screen is easy to use.

As for horsepower, the base model comes with a 147-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, with the top trim N Line getting sportier with a 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-litre engine. The N Line also has a more sophisticated rear suspension design and unique exterior styling details.


When you look up Mazda3 competitors, Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, both on this list will appear. Although the base trims of these three vehicles fall in a similar price range, the Mazda3 is more upscale and sporty and has more standard features. Moreover, it comes with a four-cylinder 2.5-litre and 190 horsepower, which out-muscles competitors. Upper trims have a turbo engine, with the Premium models having 250-hp turbocharged 2.5-litres.

Moreover, it has a front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. For this reason, if you're looking for a car with sporty performance, stylish design, and excellent fuel efficiency without breaking the bank, look no further than the Mazda3. Both the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback are great, but the latter is better if you want more cargo capacity.

Kia Forte

Kia Forte is another top contender for the best cars to buy in your 20s. This car compares quite closely with the Hyundai Elantra, both being cute and peppy compact sedans. Although the Hyundai Elantra has a much more enjoyable driving experience, the Forte has a more attractive interior, manual transmission and a significantly lower base price.

The Forte standard engine has a 147-horsepower four-cylinder, but higher trims like the GT have a 201-horsepower turbo-four offering more performance. The Forte is a high-fuel economy car with easy-to-use tech and an infotainment system. The front seats are roomy and beautifully contoured with soft headrests to enjoy comfort over long-distance driving.

Tesla Model 3

The 2024 Tesla Model 3 is a top choice for car buyers who want to go green. The model comes with a sleek new look, a higher driving range than previous models, and is also quite affordable for an electric vehicle. All Model 3s have navigation, heated and ventilated front seats, and Tesla's Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system. The base rear-wheel-drive model has a range of 272 miles, which is more than or enough for commuting, while the Long Range model has a range of 341 miles and will serve you if you take long drives.

It gains speed quickly and smoothly thanks to EV's instant torque. The steering is well-weighted and has three settings to adjust the steering effort level. The car is very quiet without the noise of a gas-powered engine.

Final thought

There you have it. Eight best cars to buy in your 20s. These cars offer a compelling blend of features that make them stand out in the crowded automotive market. Whether you prioritize reliability, performance, or style, this list has something that will blow your mind. Ultimately, the best car for you is the one that aligns with your lifestyle and provides the driving experience you desire as you navigate the exciting journey of your 20s.

There are many ways to purchase a car today, but the best option in your 20s is to finance it. Although you will have to pay some interest while financing a car, the most significant advantage is that the money is working for you. Apply here if you want to learn more about the financing options available to you.