Any car that is budget friendly and easy to maintain makes a good first car. As of 2014, popular vehicles on multiple lists of quality cars include car manufacturers, such as Honda, Ford and the older Mercedes Benz, specifically the Diesel from the late 1980s to 1990s.
Purchasing a Ford is smart for people who value American brands that have a focus on affordability and quality. Alternatively, Honda is considered a great buy because their cars have a reputation for being easy to maintain and have great crash test ratings. They also drive well and come equipped with nicer standard features.
The Mercedes Benz Diesel appeared on multiple top 10 list for being affordable, having a great miles per gallon rating and still feeling like a luxury vehicle despite the 1980 to 1990 manufacturing years.