What are the best cars for young professionals?

What are the best cars for young professionals?
Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.com

Many millennials will be able to relate to needing a professional-looking car to get around, but not being able to afford anything top-range. In other words, you need a car that’s reliable and professional, but it shouldn’t overwhelm your finances and break the bank.

And so, if you’re wondering how to afford a professional-looking car, we’re here to share insight on the best cars for your money and tips to get an even better deal. We’ll offer tips for finding the best insurance coverage at the most competitive rate. You’ll also see how your insurance can differ if you’re looking to insure a Cadillac compared to a Toyota and everything in between.

Most affordable professional-looking cars

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It’s challenging to narrow down this list to just a few, but the following vehicles will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of looking professional.

Toyota Corolla

With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) starting at just over US$21,000, it’s hard to find a better fit for a young millennial establishing themselves in their professional career. In addition, Toyotas tend to retain their value, so you’ll lose less money to depreciation than you would with competitive makes and models.

Even more important than the financial benefits of owning a Corolla is how it excels in safety tests. Thanks to its low MSRP and superior safety, you’ll also experience lower insurance premiums.

Honda Civic

At an MSRP of US$22,715, the Honda Civic is just slightly more expensive than the Corolla. Honda, like Toyota, emphasizes safety. The Civic performs well in crash tests, holds its value and is built to last.

The Civic is perfect for a young professional because of its classic styling, modern conveniences and automatic driver assistance features.


The Mazda3 offers some stiff competition for the Corolla and Civic. The MSRP is right around US$22,000. It may not have the reputation for long-lasting quality that Toyota and Honda have built for themselves, but it more than makes up for it with a solid driving experience.

The Mazda is perfect for a professional millennial looking for power and sports performance in their ride.

If US$20,000 for a new car is still out of your budget, consider purchasing a model that’s a few years old. You’ll appreciate significant savings thanks to depreciation, but you’ll still get a professional-looking car with many years of reliability ahead.

Tips for saving at the dealership

Not only does it matter when you shop, but it also matters how you shop. So we have advice for saving the most money when you’re buying from a dealership.

Best times to shop for a new car

One of the best times to shop for a new car is between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve. Many dealers offer incentives, rebates and discounts for Black Friday purchases. Then, as the year comes to an end, salespeople eager to reach sales goals are more willing to cut a deal.

Another excellent time to shop for new cars is when the next model year comes out in late summer. The dealer will try to get all the previous model years off the lot, so you can pick up a current year model for quite a bit cheaper than you’ll be able to buy next year’s model.

Finally, holiday weekends are good times to check out the new car market. Dealers know you have an extra day or two off work, and they want to compel you to visit them in your free time, so they offer steep discounts and incentives.

How to shop for a new car

Before you shop for a new car, get preapproved for a car loan from a lender. Shop rates so you know the best interest rate you can get from an outside lender. The dealership will likely offer to finance your loan, and if you already know what interest rate you can get, you can avoid being taken advantage of by the dealer.

Once you settle on a car, the salesperson will encourage you to purchase packages that will cover cosmetic damage like scratches on the paint and tears in the interior. These packages are usually not worth the cost. When you’re trying to stay within a budget, they should be the first items to cut from your deal.

You should also compare insurance rates before you shop so you know how much the difference in rates between different cars should play into your final decision.

Tips for saving on car insurance

professional car
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You’ll be happy to learn that insurance for a lower-priced car will be lower than insurance for a more expensive car.

For example, suppose you compared any of the vehicles listed above with a Cadillac XT5, which is about double the price. In that case, you’ll pay significantly higher premiums for the XT5 than you would for the Corolla, Civic or Mazda3.

Even though your insurance starting point will be pretty good for a new car priced in the low US$20,000 range, there are ways you can save even more.

Have good driving habits

Consider using a telemetric device. If you’re a good driver, insurance companies will reward you for installing a device or using your phone to monitor your driving habits. Some companies promise no-risk monitoring, meaning they won’t increase your rates even if you demonstrate risky driving behavior.

Other insurance companies will increase your rates if you don’t meet their safe driver standards. So before you agree to telemetrics, make sure you understand the terms and accurately assess your driving habits. If you drive with safe practices, you’ll almost always end up with lower premiums.

Combine insurance policies

Another good way to save is to bundle your home or renters insurance with your car insurance. If you have more than one line of insurance, find out how much you could save if you purchased both from the same company. Saving on all your lines with a bundling discount can add up to a significant amount each month.

Don’t just accept the first car insurance quote you get as the one you’ll go with. Instead, compare premiums so that you can find the most competitive rate for your situation. Even after you choose an insurance provider, you should continue to compare car insurance quotes every six months or so.

The right vehicle can help support your professional image. Armed with these suggestions and tips, you can make a confident choice and get a great deal on the best car to help you look and feel more professional.

This article was contributed by Melanie Musson, who writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, BuyAutoInsurance.com.

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