3 Best Toyotas for a First Car (with Cost Calculation)

Buying your first car is undoubtedly one of the best things of your life. Toyota can be an excellent choice if you consider all the important factors of a first car. But there are lots of available options from Toyota and the concern is for which model you should go for.

In this article, I’ll suggest the 3 best Toyotas that can be chosen as the first car without any hesitation. I’ll also share some tips that will help you to choose your first car correctly.

What’s the Best Toyota for a First Car?

It’s difficult to overlook Toyota when you’re planning to buy your first car maintaining all the crucial things. 2012 Toyota Corolla, 2011 Toyota RAV4, 2012 Toyota Camry can be some of the best options for your first car.

It’s not a wise decision to spend a large amount of money on your first car. A brand-new car loses comparatively higher values on depreciation, it’s better to choose a used one for your first car. Toyota offers highly reliable and durable cars to ensure a smooth riding experience, even as a used car.

It’s a normal scenario to upgrade first after a few years. So, resale value is an important factor at the time of buying your first car. Toyota is a brand with the highest resale value. Choosing Toyota as your first car can be a win-win situation.

Low maintenance cost is another important factor for your first car. It’s not hard to find the replacement parts of Toyota as it’s one of the most popular brands. They also offer highly reliable engines as well as premium parts to minimize your regular maintenance cost.

Toyota is an unbeatable choice when the concern related to purchasing your first car comes and choosing anyone from the 2012 Toyota Corolla, 2011 Toyota RAV4, 2012 Toyota Camry can be the expected first step towards your first dream car. 

Buying a used Toyota under $10,000 that is still in good condition and fully functional but has fewer miles on the odometer can be the optimal choice for your first car. Let’s discuss more elaborately the 3 best Toyotas for a first car under the $10,000 price range.

Also read: How Much to Spend on a First Car? (with Examples)

1. 2012 Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has been immensely popular worldwide as one of the best-selling cars in the world since 1974, just after its 8 years of introduction. Reliability, higher resale value, fuel efficiency, precise engineering design, and simplicity are the keys of Toyota Corolla to achieving the trust of vehicle users all over the world. 

The 2012 Toyota Corolla holds great reliability and bulletproof resale value. The model offers a highly functional and roomy interior ensuring good hip and shoulder room in the rear seat. It provides 12.3 cubic feet of cargo space and the seating capacity is 5. Telescopic steering wheel, USB iPod input are two of the favorite features of the 2012 Toyota Corolla. 

The 2012 Toyota Corolla offers only one engine, a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder rated at 132 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque. It includes 4-speed automatic transmission and a five-speed manual transmission for sending power to the front wheels of the vehicle. It takes about 9.8 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from standstill conditions. The independent suspension ensures a comfortable journey.

The 2012 Toyota Corolla scores on average 4.5 out of 5 in crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considering frontal crash, rollover rating,  side barrier, and side crash. The model provides child door locks and seat anchors, driver and passenger airbags, stability and traction control, front and rear head curtain airbags as safety technologies.


  1. L
  2. LE
  3. SE

Price: On average about $10,000

Fuel Consumption: 5.6-9.5 L/100km

CO2 Emission: 122 g/km


  1. $336.74 per month (16-19 years old)
  2. $172.17 per month (20-29 years old)

Annual Maintenance & Repairing Cost: $383

Yearly Fuel Expenditure: $1,700

Also read: 3 Best Mercedes for First Car (+Models to Avoid)

2. 2011 Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 is a compact crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) from Toyota that has come to provide most of the features of an SUV such as higher visibility, larger cargo room, fuel economy, etc. 

The 2011 Toyota RAV4 offers great versatility. It can easily satisfy any kind of responsibility or lifestyle in daily life. It has slightly more rear-seat headroom. The base RAV4 has seats covered with durable fabrics and sports models contain clothes of higher level. The favorite features of the 2011 RAV4 are a star safety system including enhanced vehicle stability control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, hill start & downhill assist control, etc.

There are two options available for the 2011 Toyota RAV4. The first choice is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that ensures 179 horsepower with intelligence (VVT-i) or a potent (VVT-i) V6. Considering this segment, the former one can be said to be one of the most powerful. The average time for 0-60 mph is about 6.3 seconds for the vehicle, and it takes 14.9 seconds while crossing a quarter-mile.

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The 2011 Toyota RAV4 has child door locks, child seat anchors, driver and passenger airbags, both stability and traction control, both front and rear head curtain airbags as safety features. This car scores 4 out of 5 considering side barriers, side crashes, and rollovers by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


  1. Base
  2. Sport
  3. Limited

Price: On average $8,475

Fuel Consumption: 4.2 gals/100 miles

CO2 Emission: 107 g/km

Insurance: On average $751 per year

Annual Maintenance & Repairing Cost: $457

Yearly Fuel Expenditure: $2,150

Also read: Are Toyota Parts Expensive? (Pricing)

3. 2012 Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry started its journey in 1982 and since then they’re worldwide famous for offering compact and midsize cars. 

Toyota takes time to implement new features on their vehicles. With precise engineering and testing, it’s possible to offer the most reliable vehicles. The 2012 Toyota Camry has improved structure and suspension. The new geometry and revised chassis components provide a more confident feel and better body control. 

The 2012 Toyota Camry offers both space and coeval sophistication in the cabin. It provides above-average comfort and has extremely satisfying reliability. Even the base Camry has various power assists, cruise control, multifunction steering wheel, etc for ensuring a good overall experience.

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 178 horsepower or a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 268 horsepower is included in the 2012 Camry. All trim levels come with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, while the SE trim has steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The 0-60 times for the 2012 Toyota Camry is about 8.6 seconds for a 178 horsepower trim.

The 2012 Toyota Camry scores 5 out 5 in a crash test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration taking frontal crash, rollover, side crash, side barrier into consideration. It offers a star safety system featuring anti-lock brakes, smart stop technology, stability, and traction control systems. The 2012 Camry provides airbags in all the necessary places needed for both passengers and drivers. The blind-spot monitoring is available in the 2012 Camry XLE model.


  1. L
  2. LE
  3. XLE
  4. SE

Price: On average about $10,000

Fuel Consumption: 2.5 gals/100 miles

CO2 Emission: 183 g/km

Insurance: $1,274 per year (Full Coverage)

Annual Maintenance & Repairing Cost: $398

Yearly Fuel Expenditure: $1,750

Also read: 3 Best Audi for First Car (+Models to Avoid)

What to Look For When Buying Your First Toyota?

When you’re going to buy your first Toyota, there are some crucial factors that you must consider.

It’s good to go with a used Toyota as a first car that may save a lot of money but be sure about the overall condition of your vehicle. Ensure that you have to spend lower on maintenance purposes.

Your first should hold a high resale with a better fuel economy. It’ll be better if you get yourself managed to get a used but reliable one under $10,000. Your first Toyota shouldn’t have any major engine-related issues that may increase your maintenance and repair costs.

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