Sleek. Fast. Sexy. You cannot look at a sports car without thinking of all those words, but perhaps the most important word that pops into a person’s mind when they think of a sports car is “speed”. Sports cars are designed for performance, handling, and speed. However, since many people buy their first car during their teenage years, many people have asked, are sports cars good first cars?
First-time drivers often lack experience and maturity, which makes reckless driving more common. In terms of safety, high-performance sports cars may not be the best first-car choice because they could encourage this behavior.
Still, they should not automatically be removed from your “first car” list. Not all first-time drivers are reckless, and it is possible to find a safe and sporty automobile. If your mind is set on owning a sports car, continue reading to learn more about which performance vehicles are best for first-time drivers.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Sports Car?
- Style: It is hard to find fault with the design of a sports car and people like their smooth curves and athletic bodies.
- Status: Who doesn’t want to pull into a parking lot, rev up their motor, and watch heads turn? With owning a sports car comes the bragging rights of… owning a sports car.
- Performance: Sports cars are engineered and designed with superior performance in mind. They are built to be the best of the best in areas such as handling, acceleration, and speed.
- Value: Typically, if a sports car is taken care of and maintained properly, it will hold its value much longer than a typical vehicle.
- Fun: Whether you’re zipping around town or hauling-ass down the highway, driving a sports car is fun.
- Attention: Sometimes the attention you get from driving a sports car is not good attention. For example, people are more likely to steal a high-performance car and cops tend to pull people over much more often when they are driving a sports car.
- Limitations: Depending on the car you’re driving; it may not be suitable for all conditions. Driving in the snow, or down a loose gravel road, may prove to be more difficult in a car that is designed to move quickly.
- Maintenance: One of the things you want to look for in a first car is affordability, and a sports car is anything but affordable most of the time. For example, maintenance and repair of a sports car is often more expensive than that of a regular vehicle.
- Insurance: Because repair costs are typically higher, insurance premiums are higher. In fact, for top-of-the-line sports cars, insurance can cost upwards of $2000 dollars a month. While yours may be much lower, it will still cost a few hundred dollars more than a non-sports vehicle.
- Space: Logically, smaller, lighter cars move more quickly and can maintain their speed better. Additionally, those low curves are not just for show. In the pursuit of performance, however, many sports cars have had to sacrifice space such as trunk and storage space.
What To Look for in A First Car Vs A Sports Car
There are certain things that you’ll want to look for in a first car that you might not care about in a second or third vehicle, and those things are what make a car a good “first car”.
Below we look at each one of those things and discuss how it may or may not apply to a performance vehicle to answer the question, “Are sports cars a good first car?”
|Feature||Average Car||Sports Car||Winner|
|Average Fuel Efficiency (This is just an average. Some cars may get more, and others may get less.)||City: 25-30 MPG Highway: 35-45 MPG||City: 20-25 MPG Highway: 25-30 MPG||Average Car, however, with more sports cars transitioning to electric or clean energy, there are some who do get more MPG than average.|
|Practicality||The average car has ample storage space, legroom, cup holders, and features that make it much more practical and user-friendly.||Sports cars are built for speed and performance and have had to sacrifice a lot of the features that make vehicles more practical to achieve that, such as space and storage.||Average Car, However, that does not mean that practical sports cars do not exist. For example, the 2021 Toyota Supra has a large trunk that can easily store luggage.|
|Reliability Most drivers define reliable cars as cars that do not need much beyond normal maintenance and repair and do not have many unplanned breakdowns.||According to Repair Pal, the average mid-sized car has a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0.||According to Repair Pal, the average reliability rating for a sports car is 3.5 out of 5.0.||Average Car, however, most sports cars are quite reliable because owners maintain them well. The high cost of repair likely factors largely into the reliability rating.|
|Handling||Average cars are built for comfort and although they handle potholes better, they are not made with as high-quality material.||Because of their rigid chassis, sports cars can handle corners at high speeds without losing traction.||Sports Cars even though they are built to handle better at high speeds, the high speed may make them dangerous for inexperienced drivers.|
|Safety||The average mid-sized car has safety features designed to keep passengers safe in case of a crash. Furthermore, many of today’s features are designed to avoid crashes altogether.||Recent studies have shown that fatalities occur almost 2X as often in a sports car than in the average vehicle. So, while they are improving their safety ratings, they are still quite a way behind the average car.||Average Car, however, it is worth noting that there are sports cars with high safety ratings on the market.|
Best Sports Cars for First Time Drivers?
Even though sports cars are not the best choice for first-time drivers, we know there will still be those who have their hearts set on owning a sports car. If you do decide to buy a sports car as a first car, you might want to consider one of the vehicles listed below.
- Mazda MX-5 Miata
Is it a bug? No, it is a Miata! This high-performance vehicle offers acceleration without an overabundance of horsepower, making it much easier to control. As one of the most responsive sports cars on the market, it could be a good first car.
- Toyota Subaru BR-Z
Toyotas have always been known as reliable and safe vehicles, which is why so many parents buy them for their teens as their first car. The BR-Zs 4-cylinder engine, while still fast, will not overwhelm you with speed, making it a great starter sports car.
- Audi S5
This luxury performance vehicles’ lively handling makes it one of the easiest sports cars to drive. Additionally, it has earned some of the highest safety scores in the sports car market.
- Honda Civic Type R
Although this sporty hatchback contains a massive turbo engine, it is considered one of the best driving front-wheel drives on the market. Its affordable price tag helps too!
- 2019 Hyundai Veloster
While there are more coveted versions of the Veloster on the market, the 2019 Hyundai’s more appropriate level of power makes it a great sports car for a first driver.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.