No matter your age, it's fun to daydream about romantic spur-of-the-moment weekend road trips and the excitement of shopping for a new car. For this list, we looked for cars that are affordable and practical, with solid safety and reliability ratings and lots of passenger and cargo space. After all, young couples are often on a tight budget, and the less time and money they need to spend on car maintenance, the better off they’ll be. Fortunately, there are plenty of cars that offer these attributes, along with style and an adventurous attitude. Here are some of the 10 best new cars for young couples.
10 Best Cars for Young Couples
Photo Credit: Mazda
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Everything we just said about picking a spacious and versatile car? Forget it—at least for the next minute or two. Young couples with no kids and a lot of freedom have an opportunity to make the most of it by sharing a 2-seat convertible for a few years. There’s enough room for some groceries, maybe a weekend’s worth of clothing if you’re willing to pack light. Yes, we admit there are some sacrifices to consider. But the Miata is fun and stylish, yet reliable and relatively inexpensive, which means it’s got some practical aspects, too. It’s a great way to enjoy your time together, as well as your youth, while it’s just the two of you.
Photo Credit: Honda
2017 Honda HR-V
Introduced just last year, the Honda HR-V is a basic but useful addition to the brand’s lineup of compact crossovers. The 2017 HR-V is bigger inside than it looks, with a comfortable cabin that easily accommodates five passengers and plenty of cargo. As is typical with the Honda brand, the HR-V comes with a carefully curated list of standard equipment, designed specifically to appeal to younger customers and to increase the vehicle’s value compared to competitors. We suggest that young couples budget a little more for an all-wheel-drive HR-V; while this Honda may not have the abilities of some true off-road vehicle vehicles, it’ll still reach some of those off-the-beaten-path spots.
Photo Credit: Subaru
2017 Subaru Forester
Though our emphasis here is on the 10 best new cars for young couples, we’re making another exception for one more crossover. With standard all-wheel drive and the most cargo capacity in its class, the 2017 Subaru Forester is an affordable way to get a lot of versatility. There’s plenty of room for passengers in both rows, and even though the cabin isn’t particularly fancy, it’s good quality, particularly for the price. There are a couple of engines available, including a peppy turbocharged option for buyers who crave a little extra power. For this model year, Subaru added even more high-end features to the brand’s EyeSight active safety package.
Photo Credit: Ford
2017 Ford Focus
The beauty of Ford’s compact Focus is that it can be almost anything a buyer wants or needs—particularly if that buyer is young and wants something affordable and practical yet fun to drive. The Focus comes in trim levels from bare-bones base model to professional-level rally-ready (the simply awesome Focus RS), and you’ll get your money’s worth at any point along the range. Backseat space is a little tight, but really, that’s the major drawback of this small car. The Focus is an enthusiastic little runabout that will work equally as well for urban and suburban dwellers, and can be dressed up or down with a few simple ticks on the options sheet.
Photo Credit: Mazda
If you want an affordable and practical compact car that’s tuned to provide some smiles, there are few better options than the Mazda3 hatchback. (It’s available as a sedan, too, but we’ve got a particular fondness for the hatch.) If you’re on a tight budget, get the base model and you’re good to go; if you’ve got some wiggle room, the Mazda3 offers plenty of high-end options. In either case, the Mazda3 provides a peppy engine and an eager suspension setup, which help make this one of the most fun cars in the class. If you like the look and feel of the Mazda3 but want something a little bigger, Mazda’s growing lineup of crossovers will fit the bill quite nicely.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2017 Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius is no longer the only hybrid game in town; it hasn’t been for quite some time, in fact. But it’s still great, and it’s our pick for a young couple in search of a small hybrid car (or, a good small car that also just happens to be incredibly fuel efficient). The Prius offers a deceptively large cargo area, and, though it’s not exciting to drive, it’s pleasant enough. Toyota’s recently added the Safety Sense active safety feature package to every Prius as standard equipment, making this compact hybrid an even better value. And though we were talking about the original Prius here, Toyota offers a continually expanding lineup of Prius-branded hybrid cars; if this one doesn’t hit the mark, another one might.
Photo Credit: Honda
2017 Honda Fit
Since the Honda Fit’s introduction, it’s consistently been one of the top-ranked subcompact cars in the country, which is why we consider it a great new car for a young couple. The Fit’s best suited for urban environments, where it easily darts through traffic and slips into small parking spots. Despite the Fit’s tiny footprint, it’s remarkably spacious inside, and features an innovative Magic Seat system that helps maximize cargo space depending on that day’s priorities. The Fit has a nicer cabin than many other cars in its class, too, which helps this small Honda feel more cozy than confining. High safety scores are also a standout characteristic.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
2017 Chevrolet Sonic
If you're on a tight budget and it's time to get a new car, the Chevy Sonic is the way to go. The Sonic is a bit less expensive than the aforementioned Honda Fit, helping to make it a great choice for fiscally responsible young couples. The Sonic comes with a surprising level of standard equipment that seems tailored toward a younger demographic; the list includes an infotainment system with a touchscreen, a rearview camera, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. One drawback: the base 1.8-liter Sonic offers mediocre fuel economy (28 mpg city/33 mpg highway), so if there’s a great deal on this compact Chevrolet with the optional turbocharged 1.4-liter engine (32/38), it might be worth the splurge.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen
2017 Volkswagen GTI
Yes, we know, Dieselgate. If you’re offended by an auto manufacturer flaunting EPA regulations, that’s totally fair. Otherwise, hear us out. The Volkswagen GTI has been a great car for young couples for a long time, and it still is. It’s the original hot hatch: youthful, stylish, fun to drive, and affordable. (If the GTI stretches your budget too thin, look at the Golf, which is good, too, but has less power and fewer standard features.) VW’s scrapped the 2-door version of the GTI, leaving only the 4-door available, but that’s fine by us; the 4-door’s more practical, anyway, and provides easy access to the GTI’s easy-to-use LATCH car seat anchor system.
Photo Credit: Audi
2017 Audi A4
The 2017 Audi A4 is a bit more expensive than the other vehicleson this list of the 10 best cars for young couples… but we have our reasons. It’s pretty obvious that practicality is the theme that ties this all together, and for a small luxury car, the Audi A4 is about as practical as you can get. Like the other cars featured here, the A4 earns fantastic safety scores, and though it hasn’t yet been given a reliability rating from J.D. Power, last year’s version did well. With optional quattro all-wheel drive, the A4 is a capable commuter vehicle and fantastic weekend companion for young couples with a little extra cash to spend.