- Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
- We asked experts what the best cars were for millennials to buy.
- While millennials have expensive taste in rental vehicles, their buying habits are a little more pragmatic.
- Some of the best cars for millennials to buy include models from Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia.
Aside from the purchase of a home, a car is the most expensive item most people will buy.
For the youngest members of the millennial generation – the group between the ages of 22 and 38 in 2019 – the time to buy that first car has arrived. On the other hand, millennials born in the early 1980s might be buying a second or even a third car by now, and may be in a very different life stage than the younger members of the cohort.
So what’s the right ride for members of the millennial generation?
While many millennials may have expensive taste – their favorite cars to rent include Mustangs, Corvettes, and Cadillac SUVs, Avis Budget Group executive Beth Gibson told Business Insider – they’re a little more pragmatic when it comes to actually buying.
We checked in with Will Kaufman, an editor at Edmunds, and Michael Harley, the executive editor of Kelley Blue Book to see which cars they recommended for millennials.
Here are their top recommendations.
Best value — Kia Forte
“It’s hard to argue with Kia for value,” Will Kaufman from Edmunds told Business Insider. “You get a best-in-the-business powertrain warranty and more options than you can shake a stick at.”
The Forte gets good miles per gallon, it comes in four-door, coupe, and hatchback varieties, and it gets excellent safety ratings. The 2019 models underwent upgrades both to interior cabin features, like improved climate controls, and to exterior trim details. With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $17,790, it’s hard to beat.
Best compact — Honda Civic
Despite being technically classified as an economy car – a nod towards it frugalness with fuel – the Honda Civic is very well appointed for its pricing,” Kelley Blue Book’s Michael Harley told Business Insider. “A long list of standard equipment ensures passengers are pampered, but the available innovative technology will keep technology-savvy millennials smiling on each trip.”
Best full-sized sedan — Toyota Camry
The Camry has long been a favorite vehicle of consumers ranging from families to single professionals to rental car companies. It makes a great car for the millennial buyer thanks to its reliability, low maintenance costs, and re-sale value.
And appropriately, as the first Camry was produced in 1982, this car is a millennial itself.
Best crossover — Volvo XC40
- Bryan Logan/Business Insider
“Millennials seeking luxury, technological innovation, and an available subscription model need to check out the Volvo XC40,” Harley, the executive editor of Kelley Blue Book, told Business Insider.
“Right-sized for individuals or small families, this uniquely styled crossover – take a look at its unique two-tone paint – checks off every one of those boxes. Offered with a choice of turbocharged engines, supple leather upholstery, and a massive flat-panel infotainment screen that mirrors every millennial’s favorite personal tablet, Volvo’s newest offering is a near-perfect fit.”
Best pickup truck — Toyota Tacoma
Kaufman’s choice for the best truck for a bit of adventure is the Toyota Tacoma.
“Do you want to go absolutely anywhere and bring people and stuff with you?” he said. “Now that the Tacoma has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and height-adjustable seats, there’s almost nothing left to complain about. This rugged little truck will take you wherever you want to go, regardless of your skill level” off the road. Base models have a 3,500-pound tow capacity and support a 1,120-pound payload.
Best performance car — Hyundai Veloster N
“The second-generation Hyundai Veloster N boasts a 275-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that delivers an impressive amount of zip,” Harley said.
“Handling is spot-on, thanks to a sophisticated adaptive suspension that is both comfortable and sporty, and styling is eye-catching without being over-the-top.”
With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $29,000, Harley said the car offers a good bang for your buck.
“Millennials will be pleased with the standard 10-year warranty and appreciate that Hyundai’s new Veloster N undercuts the Honda Civic Type R’s pricing by nearly $6,000 – that’s a tremendous savings in this $30,000 price segment.”
Best luxury car — Cadillac ATS
The Cadillac ATS is the priciest car on this list, with a manufacturer’s starting retail price of of $38,995.
The car comes in both four-door and coupe configurations. It is the smallest vehicle the venerable automaker sells, and represents a marked break with past Cadillac cars.
The ATS has exterior styling that’s both elegant and aggressive, and interior details that blend sport with luxury, such as bucket seats and carbon fiber trim paired with Bose speakers and a built-in Wi-Fi.
And those millennials who have cash to spend can upgrade to the Cadillac ATS V, a $68,000 car with a 464 horsepower engine capable of passing 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
Best eco-friendly car
Kaufman said the Hyundai Kona EV let’s you embrace the electric vehicle.
“Never go to a gas station again. Charge your car like you charge your phone while you’re asleep and don’t need it,” Kaufman told Business Insider. The Kona EV is simply the best affordable EV you can buy right now.”
Dubbed a Smart Utility Vehicle by Hyundai, the Kona EV is a four-door compact SUV with seating for five and safety features aplenty.