When it comes to shopping for a first car, the amount of choice can be overwhelming. From looking at all the different brands’ small cars to different engine sizes, insurance costs and the all-important reliability factor, car shopping for new drivers can be a challenge.
At AA Cars we know that when shopping for the perfect car for a new driver, practicality, safety and cost are all key concerns that need to be accounted for. We’ve rounded up the top 10 best first cars for new drivers with this key criteria in mind.
One of the best small cars around, the Vauxhall Corsa has everything a new driver is looking for in one compact, stylish package. It’s small, dynamic, fun and perfect for urban driving. It’s available in a variety of engine sizes for economic driving and is affordable from around £8,900 brand new, with relatively low insurance costs. You can typically find a used Vauxhall Corsa with 2010 plates or newer with relatively low mileage and have change from £5,000.
Stylish, fun and practical, the Renault Clio is perfect for new drivers. With a number of affordable and small engine sizes available, its sporty and fashionable exterior comes with an impressive number of technological features whilst still being safe and reliable, making it ideal for those style conscious new drivers. Used prices range depending on which model you choose. The Rip Curl 16v edition offers a leather gear stick and steering wheel along with attractive colour trim upholstery. If you have a budget of £8,000 or under, you could pick up the S Media Nav model which offers the benefit of being tax exempt in addition to handy features such as parking sensors, cruise control and a built in sat nav.
Ford’s smallest model is a great first car. Known for reliability and efficiency, the KA is cute, nifty and technologically advanced with a stop start engine, voice command technology and Bluetooth connectivity options available. Its square shape makes it easy to park and its high quality interior makes it a great option when it comes to small cars. A budget of £4,000 should see you find a used Ford Ka less than five years old with under 50,000 miles on the clock.
Known for their reliability and holding their value, a Volkswagen up! makes a great first car choice. The most affordable of their range, the up! is a small and compact city car with low insurance costs and a number of reassuring safety features including a five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. There are some good deals to be found on the used VW Up. £6,000 should find you a model under five years old with less than 30,000 miles on the clock.
By far one of the best small cars for value, the Peugeot 108 is aimed at younger drivers with an affordable Just Add Fuel finance package available from around £125 per month for drivers aged 18+. A stylish small car with a range of personalisation features to choose from, it’s both trendy and cheap to run with several economic engine options, making it a great first car. Buying used is certainly worth considering as there are a number of ex-demo models which can offer great value for money.
Low fuel consumption and environmentally friendly, the Kia Picanto is spacious inside with safety a number one priority thanks to ABS braking, hill start assist control and emergency stop signalling. With super low insurance group ratings, the Kia Picanto is one of the most affordable super minis on the market at around £7,895, with a fully transferable 7-year warranty, making it a must look into vehicle. Used options offer great value for money as many still have a number of years left on the manufacturer’s warranty. Several of our car dealers have 0% finance offers so keep an eye out for those.
A stylish supermini, the Fiat Punto makes an ideal first car. With signature Italian looks, it’s one of the most stylish cars to buy, with a compact exterior that’s ideal for urban or rural driving. A little bit more expensive than the other models in our list, it comes new at around £10,000, but is known for its longevity so has the potential to offer good value over the time you have it. A budget of £5,000 should buy you a very tidy example with less than 40,000 miles on the clock.
When it comes to looking for reliable, small cheap cars, the Citroen C1 is hard to beat. Cheap to run, economical and affordable at £7,765, the C1 appeals to young drivers as a desirable first car thanks to the array of colour options and customisation choices available. Its supermini shape makes it ideal for urban driving with both a three and five door option available. There are some great examples on the used car market with a range of prices to suit all budgets.
Fun to drive, compact and sporty, the Suzuki Swift is a stylish car with safety on the road at the core of its design. It has an anti-lock braking system and electronic braking distribution with 7 airbags, making it a reassuring choice for parents buying for those who’ve just passed their test, retailing at around £8,490. The used car market offers a selection of high quality examples with low mileage for under £7,000. Many are packed with useful features such as a tyre pressure warning system, Bluetooth preparation and cruise control.
When it comes to the best small cars, the Hyundai i10 couldn’t be left out. Compact, smooth to drive and stylish, complete with the best in new technology it makes a perfect small car that you can rely on. It’s available in three different specifications from £8,356, making it one of the most affordable small cars on the market. Used options offer great value with great finance deals too.
Make sure you check out our wide selection of these 10 great options for your first car. All our cars sold through our reliable and trusted car dealers come with 12 month breakdown cover for extra piece of mind.
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