Each day, new drivers are getting licensed, and with the plethora of used cars out there, I figured it would be a good idea to breakdown the 6 coolest cars available for under $15,000 for new drivers. So here’s our list of the 6 coolest cars for new drivers!
Coolest Cars for New Drivers
2008 BMW X5 – $12,000
Starting off the list, and coming in at number one, is the 2008 BMW X5. I’ve previously recommended the BMW X5 as the best car for new drivers in this in-depth overview here, so it obviously had to make this list! Plus, the BMW X5 from 2008 is now around $12,000, making it a great deal for someone who wants a BMW with some practicality.
I love the X5. The interior is spacious, luxurious, quiet, and refined. Even better, though, is the engine and handing. It doesn’t feel like a huge tank like most large SUVs do. It can still take a corner. It’s not M5 capable, but it’s great for an SUV.
As it’s a BMW, though, I have to point out some common issues to look out for. The first issue, and really the biggest, is the valve cover gaskets. They tend to leak after about 60,000 miles, so be sure that they’ve been replaced before you buy it. Otherwise, you’ll be having a large repair bill as soon as you buy it. Other than that, though, have it inspected by a mechanic, and make sure there are no leaking hoses, which is another common issue with the X5.
2013 Scion FR-S – $12,500
Next up on our list is something that’s a bit different. It’s a Toyota… sort of. The 2013 Scion FR-S has depreciated to a point where they’re around $12,500 for a decent model with some miles on it. The best part about it, though, is that it’s a driver’s car with very, very few issues. This makes the 2013 Scion FR-S the deal of a lifetime until a Subaru BR-Z pulls along next to you. Then you may be slightly embarrassed.
Otherwise, though, the Scion FR-S is a great car, and they’re fantastic to drive. Plus, because it’s a Toyota/Subaru underneath, you’ll never have to worry about it catastrophically breaking down.
2013 BMW 328i – $13,000
For the next car on the list, I’ve chosen something a bit different. Oh, wait. No, it’s actually exactly what you probably expected – another BMW…
Let’s jump into the 2013 BMW 328i, which are starting to become available for. One of the things I love most about the BMW 3 Series is how fun they are to drive. As good as the 3 Series is to drive every day, it’s even better when you throw it into sport mode and have some fun. The BMW 3 Series is a long time favorite of mine, and I think it’s quite possibly the best all-around car on the list.
That doesn’t mean the BMW comes without issues, though, as it’s still a BMW. The valve cover gaskets are known to leak after about 60,000 miles, and VERY minor electrical issues can occur. That’s nowhere near as bad as it could be for a BMW, but it’s something to make sure is taken care of before you buy.
2010 Dodge Challenger SE – $11,000
Next up on the list is something a little different. If you’re a longtime viewer of the channel, you’ll know that I recently started a love affair with the new Dodge Challenger T/A. So, of course, the 2010 Challenger SE had to make it to the list. Even if they’re crazy high mileage, they’re still such amazing cars. Minus the V6 engine that doesn’t really go anywhere. They’re cool, though, and when you’re getting your first car, that’s all that matters. Your insurance will love the V6 even if you don’t.
Right now, you can pick up a high mileage 2010 Dodge Challenger SE (that’s the base model) for around $11,000. $11,000 for a Dodge Challenger! While it’s not a Hellcat or a Demon or even an R/T, it’s still a good looking car.
Some common problems to look out for, though, include premature timing chain issues, transmission issues, and stalling while turning. Don’t worry, though, most of that has been fixed on the high mileage ones. Most…
Although, let’s be fair. It’s going to be much cheaper to replace and fix those issues on a Dodge than they would be on a BMW or other imports.
2013 FIAT 500 Abarth – $7,500
Next up is a car that has a wheelbase that would fit on the roof of my Rover. In fact, I think the Rover’s hood could support the weight of this car. It supported me, so surely it can support a little FIAT 500.
But this is no ordinary 2013 FIAT 500 that you can buy for $3,000 like the one I did a video on. This is the full out FIAT 500 Abarth – the Mac daddy of FIAT 500s.
Right now you can pick up a 2013 FIAT 500 Abarth for around $7,500, which makes it an amazing bargain considering they were over $20,000 new just a few years ago.
Some issues to look out for, though, as they’re built by an Italian company, include bad pressure plates (it’s like we’re playing Minecraft), faulty turbo compressors, and premature ball joint wear. Let’s be honest, though, ball joints are incredibly easy to replace on such a small car.
I personally think the FIAT 500 Abarth is one of the coolest cars of the 2010s, and I think it will go down as a classic. It has all the indicators of doing so. It’s Italian, quirky, fast and prone to rust. It’s the perfect recipe for a future classic car.
2007 Jaguar XK – $15,000
Last, but certainly not least, is my personal favorite in every situation. It’s designed to look exactly like an Aston Martin DB9 for a heck of a lot less. That’s why the Jaguar XK from 2007 makes it to our list. It’s the perfect car for a young driver looking to impress all of his friends. What you won’t tell them, though, is that it’s only worth $15,000, and you really won’t mention that once you’ve done another 2,000 miles, it’ll be worth $10,000 and need $20,000 in repairs.
Aside from that, though, the Jaguar XK is the most beautiful car Jaguar has ever built, and it’s still a step up from the F-Type. Don’t get me wrong. I love the F-Type, but it just feels like it’s trying too hard. The Jaguar XK was able to capture the essence of Jaguar with modern touches. I think this is purely the best GT car ever built – minus the electrical bits and some reliability.
Speaking of, some things to look out for include water pump failure, which causes the Jaguar XK to overheat. On top of that, watch out for a stuck thermostat, which also causes the XK to overheat. That just means it’s a true Jag, though.
On a more serious note, though, watch out for the timing chain, as high mileage can cause excessive wear on the timing chain and leave you out thousands of dollars.