The first car is a huge milestone in ones life. Unfortunately most Americans are stuck with small, broken, and weak econo-boxes. But not us. Today we will change you mind about the textbook first car as we show you a list of 10 first cars that are actually fun, cool looking, and inexpensive. Some guidelines first. All cars will cost less than $5,000, have (on average) less that 150,000 miles, and have at least 200 horsepower. So without further adieu, here is our list of high school head turners.
Dodge Neon SRT-4
We’re starting off the list with a 2000’s Dodge? Oh, well this isn’t any 2000’s Dodge Sedan. This is the Neon SRT-4. SRT standing for Street and Racing Technology, this was the first car to bear the SRT emblem. The Neon SRT-4 comes with a turbo charged 4 cylinder engine paired with a 5-Speed manual transmission. It sends all 230 turbocharged horsepower to the front wheels, and hits 0-60 in under 6 seconds. It the visual department, the SRT-4 isn’t lacking whatsoever. It’s pretty low to the ground and comes standard with an aggressive hood scoop and a cool rear spoiler. As far as price goes, here is an example for $4999 in Florida.
Ford Mustang (1999-2005)
Well you had to know this car had to be on the list. Ford’s flagship coupe has been around for forever, and consistently proves to be a great car for performance. The Mustang has 210 horsepower (with the V6) a and 240 lb-ft of torque. What makes this car special is that it sends power to the rear wheels, making it great for drifting and drag racing. As far as looks go, the mustang is timeless. It has looked good through generations of car enthusiasts tinkering and tampering with it. It is the staple of American muscle, and turns heads wherever it goes. Here is an example of one from 2005 than has under 150,000 miles and is a newer trim.
Subaru WRX (2002)
If you don’t like the two previous American options, try hopping across the Pacific and picking up a 2002 Subaru WRX. This is a great first car period. Its super reliable, gets great fuel economy, and has all wheel drive. But it’s also a pretty sporty car with 227 horsepower and 217 lb-ft or torque coming out of a turbocharged 2.0 liter flat 4 engine. Its all wheel drive drive-train allows for better launch and acceleration, making it a preferred choice for tuners and drag enthusiasts around the world. As far as the looks go, you’ll turn more heads with your exhaust note than your exterior as the only sign of any sportiness comes with the standard scoop at the top of the hood. Here is an example of a WRX for less than $5,000.
Now this is not a common sports car you would think of when it comes to a cheap head turner. But let me convince you that this may just be the best deal on this list. First off the engine. 2JZ. Yup. The incredibly strong, 1000+ horsepower producing engine lives in this Lexus. For those of you who don’t know 2JZ, simply watch the first fast and furious film. In addition to the legendary 3 liter inline 6 engine, the SC300 comes with rear wheel drive (drifting) and is only available in the coupe form. The SC300 makes 227 horsepower from the naturally aspirated engine. But as great as the engine is, we reach a problem when it comes to the looks. The SC300 looks sub-par, but this car costs far less than the $5,000 limit and if you want to turn heads I would suggest investing in a body kit, which can easily take this car from a 3 to a 10. Here’s a sub $5,000 example in Texas.
Audi TT (2002)
Perhaps you aren’t big into hard top cars, so how about a convertible from Audi? The TT has been in production since the early 90’s and has never failed to impress. The TT makes 222 horsepower from a turbocharged 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine. It has optional All Wheel Drive and an option convertible, which I would recommend having. As far as looks go, they are just okay, but a convertible will do most of the head turning for you. Here is an all wheel drive example for under $5,000.
Infiniti M45 (2003)
This car is more for the ones who crave more power. As you can see this car has no physical pluses period. It’s an awkwardly lumpy sedan that’s a bit too long and a bit too skinny. So why does this car make the list? Well for one it is a luxury car, so the interior and amenities are pretty good. But mostly it’s the Japanese 4.5 liter V8 that puts out an insane 340 horsepower. Those 340 horses are sent (of course) to the rear wheels, giving this car the best layout possible to turn it into a seriously fun car. With the 340 horses comes a hefty 333 lb-ft of torque. So if you want probably the best sleeper unknown to man, this non-threatening Japanese sedan is sure to surprise the competition. Here is an example for under $5,000.
Infiniti G35 (2006)
Our second vehicle from Infiniti is much prettier. The G35 is a perfect balance of both looks and performance. Only, make sure that your purchase the coupe model, and not the sedan. The sedan features the same form of ugly awkwardness that the M45 sees, but as you can see the coupe looks flawless. The G35 features a 3.5 liter V6 from Nissan that puts out 298 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The naturally aspirated horses are sent to the rear wheels and the car features variable valve timing. In the looks department this thing is a gem, with a very sleek design that is stunning from every angle. Examples of these are very easy to find, as this one is far under the $5,000 limit with not too many miles.
Mazda RX-8 (2004)
Welcome to rotary! This car is for those who aren’t afraid to get into the engine bay and fix some stuff. This is the RX-8 and it isn’t too reliable, but when running is an absolute machine. The Wankel engine produces 232 horsepower and 159 lb-ft of torque. All power goes to the rear wheels. The looks department is just okay, as the car looks fine but the hidden 2nd row of doors makes the car unusually long. If you want high risk high reward, this is the car for you. Here’s an example for under $5,000.
BMW 750iL (1998)
Again with reliability aside, this BMW is a gem. It has a very cool retro-BMW look that all true motor heads will appreciate. But like the M45, what makes this car special is what lies in the engine bay. How does a 12 cylinder engine sound? That’s right, this BMW features a 5.4 liter V12 that makes 322 horsepower and 361 lb-ft of torque. And where does it send all its power? If you guessed the rear wheels, your correct. If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of reliability and a bit of fuel economy (17 mpg) in exchange for loads of power, this is your car. Here is an example of the V12 version for sale in Indiana.
Bonus: Porsche Boxter (2002)
Note that this is a bonus. If you have more than $5,000 to spend, then this car should definitely be on your list. It is easily the most exotic looking on this list, not to mention the obvious: it’s a Porsche. It features a Porsche 3.2 liter flat 6 that puts out 250 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. As far as visuals go, it is as good as you can get. This Porsche coupe will turn heads wherever you go, and fits in to every scene imaginable. Here is a $6,000 example in California.