Good first car for a new college grad


Asked by Jul 23, 2017 at 09:48 PM

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

Hey there,

I am a recent college grad who just started working full time in the Bay Area,
California. I'm earning about ~90000 a year and am looking for a car as my
commute is about 15 minutes one way. My top factors in a car is reliability,
gas mileage (honestly, anything around 30 mpg + is fine for me), mileage of
the car as I'm looking at used, and
admittedly looks of the car (should look sleek and look like it costs a lot more
than it really does). Any recommendations as to what type of cars I should
be looking for as my first car that would make sense financially and fit my
criteria? I've been primarily looking at coupes and sedans (been leaning
toward some 07 Civic Coupes but not sure if those are too old).  I'm thinking
cars less than 10K but not sure if I'm unnecessarily limiting myself with that
strict of a criterion or not.  

Thank you!

6 Answers


Stay away from German cars if that is what you have in mind. I am sure you know that 90k a year will not go far at all in the bay area. I would look at clean used Toyota's or Honda's.

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It's my first job out of college. I'm aware that 90k won't last me long in the Bay Area but as a new grad who is still living at home with parents and paying no rent, I think it suffices :)

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Older Camry's and Lexus ES models may be a good choice. The lexus likely running you closer to 11-15K depending on mileage

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Living at home will be a huge boost to your living standards. I would look at new car, perhaps a new Camry or Accord.

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Any ideas as to how much I should be spending on a first car? Minimums/maximums? How much would you honestly spend if in my shoes?


Your budget is your business. Talk it over with your parents. You can get a decent new car for around 25k. I personally would stay away from the tiny econo boxes. Shop online as all new car manufacturers have web sites. Keep in mind you can get substantial discounts off list prices.

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