Best cars for first time drivers

Getting your first car is a really exciting rite of passage. Your first car should be cheap to buy and run, especially if you are a young driver as you can usually suffer from high car insurance premiums. However, that doesn’t mean that your first car has to be boring! If you’ve just passed our driving test Refused Car Finance has compiled a list of the best cars for first time drivers.

What should you look for in your first car?

There are a few factors which can increase the cost of your car and also how much money you spend in the long run.


Your car budget may depend on how you are going to fund your next car. You might have some cash saved up to buy a little run around or you may be looking to finance your next car with either a personal loan, Hire purchase car finance deal or Personal Contract Purchase.

Car insurance rates

Car insurance rates can be quite high for newly qualified drivers. This is because you are more likely to have a crash or accident within your first year of driving and make a claim. You could consider ‘black box’ car insurance which can decrease your annual premium and monitors your driving through telematics.

Running costs

Buying a car can be expensive but you need to factor in running costs of a car. There are many things you will need to factor in, for example, road tax, fuel costs, congestion charges, unexpected repairs, MOT and servicing and breakdown cover.

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Euro NCAP is a five-star rating system which tests and rates the safety of cars. Young drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash or accident in their first year so safety should be your priority. The safety rating of a car is determined by a series of tests which are designed and carried out by NCAP. The rating ranges from 1-5 stars, the higher the rating the safer the vehicle. Most newer cars in the UK meet the highest standard of safety rating in the UK. So, buying an older car could mean that you miss out on some of the more modern safety equipment which comes in vehicles as standard these days.

What are the best cars for first-time drivers?

1.      Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo is a great first car. It appeals to both genders and drivers of all ages. You should opt for the small but mighty 1.0 litre 80hp engine which can be cheaper to insure. The exterior is well-built and comes with easy-to-use tech as standard. If you have a little more to spend then you could go for the SE version model which comes with more dafty kit as standard the added peace of mind on the roads.

2.      Peugeot 208

The Peugeot 208 is cheap to run but doesn’t look cheap! The design looks very modern and it feels sturdy to drive. The interior is designed around a smart touchscreen media system and for little over £200 a month you could be driving a brand-new Peugeot 208! It’s a great car for dotting round town and picking up your mates!

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3.      Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa has been a popular choice with both new and young drivers for many years. The Corsa is a very complete all-rounder. It looks sporty but is comfortable and spacious inside. It is cheap to run and also cheap to insurance, making it a great option for your first car.

4.      Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta has been the best-selling car in the UK since 2009! It’s easy to see why it’s a popular choice as it’s fun to drive, comfortable and comes with some great technology. The Fiesta has a handy innovation called MyKey, which allows parent to set a number of settings for young drivers. These settings include maximum speed, seatbelt reminder and a maximum volume for the stereo!

5.      Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 is surprisingly spacious for a small first car. It has more of family feel then some of the other cars on our list, making it a great option for older drivers who have just passed their test! Many smaller cars can only seat 3 passengers and a driver but the i10 has a full back bench so it’s great for 3 of your mates or 3 kids in the back!

6.      Skoda Fabia

The Skoda Fabia is a five-door hatch which has lots of space, it’s easy to drive, cheap to run and practical and safe! It comes with some of Skoda’s impressive ‘Simply Clever’ features which are designed to make life that little bit easier such as a built-in ice scrapper, a ticket holder on the windscreen and an umbrella inside the cabin. If you want to get more bang for your buck, then the Skoda Fabia may be the perfect choice for you.

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7.      Fiat 500

One of the most stylish first cars you can buy is the Fiat 500. It’s cute, dinky, cheap to buy and run. It is popular amongst many young female drives but can appeal to both genders. It also is in one of the lowest car insurance groups making it a great choice for your first car.

8.      Volkswagen Golf

The Golf is one of the most expensive cars to buy on our list, but you can grab a great deal on a used Golf. It’s easy to drive, spacious and well equipped. Also, it comes with some great features as standard. The Golf is our second Volkswagen on the list and if you’re stuck between the two, the Golf is slightly bigger in both width and boot space but both vehicles make a great choice for your first car.

9.      Toyota Yaris

A Toyota Yaris is one of the most dependable first cars you can buy. Toyota is well known for its reliability, making the Yaris an all-rounder and will also last you a while. For a small car, there is plenty space up front and plenty headroom. Many of Yaris’ less expensive trims also fall into insurance group 2, meaning that you can benefit from low insurance costs.

10.  Nissan Micra

The Nissan Micra is one of the funkiest first cars out there. It’s easy to drive and the 1.0 litre engine model falls into the cheapest insurance group. It’s not the cheapest on our list but you can grab a great deal on a Nissan Micra. The older models can look outdated now but the new Micra is certainly a big upgrade on the model.


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