New drivers need a car that inspires confidence, and these are 10 of the best first cars to buy now
For many, passing your driving test is a rite of passage, another step towards adulthood and independence. However, you’re not going to get very far if you’re reliant on mum or dad’s car to get you mobile, so we’ve come up with 10 of the best cars for first time drivers. Of course, these models aren’t just for newly qualified teenagers, and are perfect for every type of new driver, because they’re cheap to run, not too powerful, easy to maneouvre and packed with safety kit.
If you’ve passed your test, it’s likely that paying for lessons has left you strapped for cash – not many people have the funds to be able to jump straight out of a driving instructor’s Vauxhall Corsa and into a Ferrari California – and these 10 models deliver the kind of running costs that are very manageable.
However, the biggest shock when buying your first car won’t be the fuel costs or finance repayments, it’ll be the insurance. You are required by law to have insurance cover, so first-time drivers are a captive audience for insurance companies, and they ramp up their premiums as a result. There are ways to help keep your costs low, though.
Firstly, find a car that has a low insurance rating. All of the cars in our top 10 have low insurance group ratings for their class, which will help to keep costs down. Secondly, there are insurance companies that offer to fit a ‘black box’ recorder to monitor your car use and driving style, which can help to reduce your outgoings, too.
When you’re looking at new cars, you may be attracted by free insurance deals, but while these will cut your costs, there will usually be age restrictions, usually age 21 and older. If you’re eligible, it’s a great way to build up your first 12 months of no-claims discount, and you’ll be surprised by how much your insurance costs will drop after the first year.
If you’re a parent who is helping your child to get on the road by buying their first car, then you’ll want a car that’s safe. It’s worth looking at a car’s Euro NCAP crash test results, but bear in mind that cars tested after 2015 faced a tougher regime, so you can’t directly compare ratings between models. However, any new car is going to be a safe place when compared to an older used model. Do check that electronic stability control (ESC) is included in a car’s kit list, too, as it can sometimes be optional on the very cheapest cars.
Diesel cars have attractively low fuel economu figures, but a diesel can be unreliable if you don’t use it on long-distance runs regularly. If you’re just going to use your car for trips to the shops, a petrol car is a better option. In reality, petrol cars will be more than economical enough.
When you’re inexperienced behind the wheel, it’s important that a car gives you confidence. Look for a car with light steering and a tight turning circle, while large windows will help you see where you want to go and what’s around you.
Thankfully, these days small cars can be upgraded with options such as parking sensors which and sat-nav, which will help you concentrate on driving. Most young drivers will want a decent stereo, while gadgets such as Bluetooth and a USB connection can be had on these entry level models, so you can keep connected and help you .
Top 10 best first cars for new drivers 2017
- 1. Skoda Citigo/VW up!/SEAT Mii
- 2. Volkswagen Polo
- 3. Ford Fiesta
- 4. Hyundai i10
- 5. Ford Ka+
- 6. MINI
- 7. Dacia Sandero
- 8. Vauxhall Corsa
- 9. Toyota Aygo/Peugeot 108/Citroen C1
- 10. Vauxhall Viva