Unlike the selection for guys, first cars for teenage girls and female drivers, in general, need not be speed-focused.
Only good first cars for girls that are safe, easy to drive, and crucially, aesthetically pleasing with cute or “softer” designs make this list.
Note: Some of them are no slouch in the performance stake.
First Cars for Teen Girls (Small Car):
Compact cars are ideal for new drivers, but cute-looking ones are perfect for ladies.
#1 MINI Cooper
If you’re after cute first cars for females, it’s difficult to ignore the adorable MINI.
MINI Cooper comes in various models, such as:
- MINI Hardtop (a.k.a. Mini Hatch, Mini Cooper, or Mini One)
- MINI Clubman
- MINI Countryman
The Clubman and Countryman are larger and more expensive, while the MINI Hardtop, either the 2-door or 4-door version, strikes a better overall proportion and looks cuter by comparison.
Despite the iconic status, they are inexpensive, and prices start below $25k – as affordable as mainstream compact cars.
Besides the charming looks, Mini Coopers are reasonably reliable and fuel-efficient (above 30 mpg combined).
They may be small, but the fact the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the two-door hardtop model the Top Safety Pick in 2016, 2017, and 2019 means you’re getting a safe car too.
The Mini Cooper First Car post discusses Mini’s pros and cons for teen drivers in greater depth.
#2 Volkswagen Beetle
The Volkswagen Beetle rates alongside the MINI as some of the most recognizable cars due to their long history and unique styling.
Although completely redesigned in 2012, the updated design stayed true to the vintage Beetle form with end-to-end curved lines and cute, rounded headlights.
The most recent – though sadly discontinued – VW Beetle is more fuel-efficient and reliable and has a higher-quality interior than the preceding generation (pre-2012).
It also has more safety equipment, such as the blind-spot warning system, airbags, stability control, traction control, and Emergency Brake Assist, which are crucial for inexperienced drivers.
While Volkswagen has consigned the Beetle to its history books, with 2019 being its final model year, a used Beetle is still a good choice for ladies as it is sure to stand out among the crowd.
Read the VW Beetle First Car post for more details.
#3 Mazda 3 (Sedan & Hatchback)
Enter more mainstream choices, and the compact Mazda 3 is excellent for any new driver.
While the exterior looks sharp with narrow, elongated headlights, the interior has a premium feel with modern design and quality materials.
Crucially, it drives as well as its form suggests, with precise steering and excellent driving characteristics.
The Mazda 3 is also an impeccably safe car, and commendably so despite the compact dimensions – both the sedan and hatchback body styles are intelligent choices.
The impressive list of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) safety awards the Mazda 3 gained includes:
|IIHS Award (4dr Sedan)||IIHS Award (4dr Hatchback)|
|2022 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick +||Top Safety Pick +|
|2021 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick +||Top Safety Pick +|
|2020 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick +||Top Safety Pick +|
|2019 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick||Top Safety Pick|
|2018 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick||Top Safety Pick|
|2017 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick +||Top Safety Pick +|
|2016 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick +||Top Safety Pick +|
|2015 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick +||Top Safety Pick +|
|2014 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick +||Top Safety Pick +|
|2013 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick||Top Safety Pick|
|2012 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick||–|
|2011 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick||Top Safety Pick|
|2010 Mazda 3||Top Safety Pick||–|
#4 Honda Civic (Hatchback)
The Honda Civic is a solid first car with a modern design and has plenty of easy-to-use tech and safety features to aid the inexperienced.
While the sedan body style is longer, the hatchback-styled version suits female drivers better with a more compact proportion.
It’s fun to drive and returns a better-than-average fuel economy.
Plus, the eleventh-gen Civic, which debuted in 2022, earned the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick Plus award, the highest accolade for the safest car in its segment.
IIHS safety awards the Civic hatchback received:
|2022 Honda Civic (4dr hatchback)||Top Safety Pick +|
|2021 Honda Civic (4dr hatchback)||Top Safety Pick|
|2020 Honda Civic (4dr hatchback)||Top Safety Pick|
|2019 Honda Civic (4dr hatchback)||–|
|2018 Honda Civic (4dr hatchback)||–|
|2017 Honda Civic (4dr hatchback)||Top Safety Pick|
#5 Tesla Model 3
For female drivers wishing to go electric for their first car, the Tesla Model 3 is a smart choice.
While Tesla pioneered electric vehicles and has broad appeal for both sexes, the flowing lines on a modern exterior match the curvaceous yet elegant design that women seek.
Its range is undoubtedly superior to gas-powered vehicles, going 250-plus miles before needing a recharge.
The cabin is quiet and comfortable at any speed (rpd). Plus, its robust construction enables the Model 3 to achieve maximum scores in the NHTSA government crash tests and IIHS safety assessments.
IIHS safety awards the Model 3 received include:
|2022 Tesla Model 3||Top Safety Pick +|
|2021 Tesla Model 3||Top Safety Pick +|
|2020 Tesla Model 3||Top Safety Pick +|
|2019 Tesla Model 3||Top Safety Pick +|
First Cars for Female Drivers (Small SUV):
#6 Fiat 500X
The Fiat 500X is a decent all-around performer on the road with a turbocharged engine and an all-wheel-drive system.
But more importantly, the 500X’s rounded design exudes a character so adorable it deserves to be on every female driver’s first car shortlist.
The styling is distinctively Italian, and the roomy interior gives off a premium feel.
The generous door openings allow ladies to slip in and out gracefully with minimal effort, and the elevated ride height, tall windows, and short hood provide excellent outward visibility.
SUVs suffer from higher rollover risks, but the 500X received a ‘Good’ rating (the highest grade) in the IIHS roof strength test, so the car has the strength to go with its delightful appearance.
#7 Kia Soul
Kia Soul is a cool car to own and a fun vehicle to drive – one of the best first cars that are incredibly affordable and easy to drive.
Plus, its unique look adds to its overall appeal as one of the best small cars for girls.
It may have a boxy shape, but the narrow slit of headlights from one side of the car to the other gives the Soul a quirky-enough look and a uniqueness that sets it apart from other extra-small SUVs.
It is feature-rich for the price and roomier than many segment rivals.
Driving the Soul presents no significant obstacles as it is taller than sedans and hatchbacks, and the excellent visibility makes time behind the wheel less strenuous.
The Soul is also an impeccably safe vehicle; see the long list of IIHS safety awards the Kia Soul earned:
|2022 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2021 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2020 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2019 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2018 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick +|
|2017 Kia Soul||–|
|2016 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2015 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2014 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2013 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2012 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2011 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
|2010 Kia Soul||Top Safety Pick|
Crucially, Kia Soul is also one of the most affordable first cars among crossover utility vehicles (CUV).
#8 Honda HR-V
It is the smallest Honda SUV but also a sleek-looking car that many female teens will be proud to call their own.
The HR-V’s interior is roomy for its class with plenty of cargo-carrying versatility.
Visibility is excellent all-around, making driving safer and more effortless in a comfortable cabin.
For those who like the CR-V but wish for a smaller Honda SUV, the HR-V is perfect.
#9 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is one of the best-selling SUVs in America and globally.
It doesn’t only have reliability, versatility, and efficiency in spades; the CR-V adopts a modern design with a broad appeal for both sexes that a young lady driver will look right at home with the right color choice.
The CR-V is one of the safest compact SUVs and a leading choice for a woman’s first car.
See the extensive list of safety awards IIHS granted the CR-V:
|2022 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
|2021 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
|2020 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
|2019 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
|2018 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
|2017 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick +|
|2016 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick +|
|2015 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick +|
|2014 Honda CR-V||–|
|2013 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
|2012 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
|2011 Honda CR-V||–|
|2010 Honda CR-V||–|
|2009 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
|2008 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
|2007 Honda CR-V||Top Safety Pick|
#10 Toyota C-HR
The C-HR is far from the fastest X-Small crossover on the market, but it has sporty handling to go with its swoopy styling.
Its subcompact dimensions make the C-HR’s coupe-like futuristic design a cool pick for a female driver’s first car.
As a comfortable, little city roundabout, the C-HR excels.
IIHS safety awards the CH-R received:
|2022 Toyota CH-R||Top Safety Pick|
|2021 Toyota CH-R||Top Safety Pick|
#11 Nissan Kicks
Affordable nice cars for girls aren’t many, but the dependable Nissan has one subcompact entry worth checking out.
All-new in 2018 and recently refreshed, the Kicks is Nissan’s smallest and most affordable SUV and a stylish first car for teenage girls.
Its tall ride height in a subcompact frame is excellent for ladies who prefer a smallish-looking vehicle.
Besides the design, opting for a Nissan Kicks is straightforward because it comes with plenty of driver assistance tech for new drivers, plus it’s highly efficient on fuel.
#12 Mazda CX-5
Not many small SUVs have beauty and strength in one package, but the Mazda CX-5 is one such car.
The CX-5’s rather boxy form (which aids visibility), slim but elongated headlights, and impressive crash safety scores underline a superior first car for women regardless of age.
Additional pluses include an upscale and quiet cabin, powerful engine, and communicative steering with sharp handling that young drivers of any skill level can enjoy – qualities that many Mazda vehicles share.
The outstanding list of IIHS safety awards the CX-5 gained covers these model years:
|2022 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick +|
|2021 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick +|
|2020 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick +|
|2019 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick +|
|2018 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick +|
|2017 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick +|
|2016 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick +|
|2015 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick +|
|2014 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick +|
|2013 Mazda CX-5||Top Safety Pick|
#13 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
Its acceleration and handling won’t get your heart racing, but its appearance will.
The Evoque’s external form projects a level of strength and coolness that crosses the gender divide.
Classy design fills the interior, while the cabin offers a smooth and quiet ride regardless of speed.
If you prioritize performance, skip this SUV; but if you desire a first car that gets the attention, the Range Rover Evoque is worth a second look.
#14 Porsche Cayenne
Luxury automotive brands are ideal first cars due to price, but if you have the means and want an SUV with the looks that suit a female driver, the Porsche Cayenne is a wonderful choice.
The attention-grabbing, slightly-protruding headlights on a rounded body with the iconic Porsche curves give an air of quiet confidence and sophistication without appearing too serious.
As all Porsches do, the Cayenne rides and handles impressively with exquisite interior and build quality.
Expect to pay a premium in running costs as a Porsche owner, but if you afford one, the Cayenne will delight you outside and inside.
#15 BMW X1
Suppose you want your first car from a premium brand but only have a sub-$40k budget to play with, the BMW X1 extra-small SUV is worth considering.
It drives excellently like any quintessential BMW, and the design is unmistakably a Bimmer but within a small-enough proportion to be ladylike.
Other X1 pluses include a high-quality cabin with excellent fit and finish and plenty of rear passenger and cargo room for its class.