I am buying a first car. as you can expect i have a lower budget but i am looking for something reliable that also has a wow factor with good city handling.... not interested in the average hatchback.
IMO, Low budget, reliable and wow? Can't have it all. A good first car should be inexpensive, you got that part right, the other a bigger domestic or asian 4 dr sedan. Insurance will be low, repairs will be cheap, etc. Ford Taurus, Toyota Corolla s, Honda Civic come to mind. Those should be reliable but not necessarily a Wow though.
"wow" costs money- just get a early '90s Toyota Corolla that has been owned by a grandma who drove it only to church and paint it metallic purple and put rims and Vogue tires on it- or somethin' like that- think out of the box, baby
Cheap, good and wow? You can have any two of those things but not three.