10 great first cars

With prices under $25,000 (some way under) these cars make excellent choices for those shopping for their first new set of wheels.

Mini Cooper Convertible
If you're looking for a convertible:
Mini Cooper Convertible
Base prices: $22,000 (Hard-top starts at $18,000)

Engine and transmission: 115 horsepower, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with 5-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission

Fuel economy: 26 mpg city, 35 highway, 29 combined with manual transmission; 25/33/28 with automatic

Sporting two more seats than a Mazda Miata and just about as much fun to drive, the Mini Cooper Convertible is for those who aren't quite ready to leave childhood behind.

Day to day, it's easier to live with than a pure sports car, and even in its base version (shown here), it'll put a smile on your face and on that of just about everyone else around.

Before you buy, be aware that the Mini Cooper has a poorer reputation for reliability than most Japanese or American cars. That's one point in favor of the Miata, even with half the seats.










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