A close up of a red Clio from the back with 'P' pass plate on it

What are the best first cars for new drivers?

If you have just passed your driving test and are in the market for your first car, check out our top picks of the best first cars for new drivers of 2024.

28 March 2024

Our top picks

If you have been learning to drive and only recently passed your driving test, firstly, congratulations! There is no better feeling than finally being able to ditch those ‘L’ plates and drive without an instructor. The freedom of being able to go where you want, when you want and with who you want is truly life-changing.

Choosing your first car can be very exciting but it can also be really overwhelming. There’s a lot of choice out there, so how do you make the right one? We have compiled a list of the ten best used cars for new drivers to help make that choice a little easier.

We created this list using a criterion consisting of insurance groupings, cost of the vehicle at point of purchase and fuel economy. All cars on this list are within insurance groups 1-10, under £15,000 to buy and offer upwards of 50mpg*. This is because the lower the insurance grouping, typically, the less expensive the car is to insure. All cars on this list are also Lower Emission Zone (LEZ) and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) compliant.

Read on for our picks of good first cars for new drivers…

Citroën C1 Feel

A red Citroen C1 Feel on an off white background

Our pick quick facts

The Citroën C1 is one of the best small cars for new drivers on the market. This contemporary, charismatic city car was first launched in 2005 and has received a couple of facelifts since. The C1 shares many similarities with its sister cars, the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo.

Choose a 2020 plate C1 Feel with the 1.0-litre VTi petrol engine and prices can start around £8,900**. Not only that, this version of the C1 sits in insurance group 8E – the lower end of the insurance group spectrum. Another great feature of the C1 Feel is that it’s frugal out on the road, offering up to 58.9mpg*.

The Feel trim offers new drivers an array of exciting in-car entertainment technology. These include a DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. You control these features via an intuitive seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. With all this in mind, this model has everything a driver would need from their first car!

Browse our stock of used Citroën C1 Feel cars

Dacia Sandero Essential

White Dacia Sandero Essential parked from the front. It sits on gravel and behind is a wooden fence

Our pick quick facts

A used Dacia Sandero is another fantastic option to consider if you are in the market for your first car. This humble hatchback has long been praised as one of the most reasonably priced cars in the UK. The Sandero was recognised as the UK’s ‘Best Budget Car’ in Autocar’s 2023 Awards. It’s practical, affordable and comes without a hefty price tag.

Our pick is the 2021-plate 1.0-litre SCe petrol engine Sandero Essential. Prices for this five-door can start around £9,400**. It sits in one of the lowest insurance groups, 5E, which is great for new drivers as it typically means that the costs of repairs are relatively low —a factor insurers consider when estimating claims.

The Sandero Essential is the entry-level trim in the three-car line-up. It’s smart on the outside with tinted windows, black door mirrors and body-coloured bumpers. You’ll also have in-car entertainment in the form of DAB, FM and AM radio with fingertip controls, AUX input, USB and Bluetooth connectivity – perfect for summer drives with the windows down and playing your favourite music! The Sandero is a great example of a cheaper first car for new drivers.

Browse our stock of used Dacia Sandero Essential cars

Fiat 500 Lounge

White Fiat 500 parked from the front with bushes in the background

Our pick quick facts

Exuding personality with its peppy exterior and interior design, the Fiat 500 Lounge is one of the most stylish cars on our list. At the time of the Lounge’s launch, there were many limited editions of this trim level which you may still find in stock. We also consider it to be one of the best cars for new drivers available. Let us tell you why…

The Fiat 500 Lounge comes with a sunroof, chrome-plated exterior door handles and 15-inch alloy wheels as standard. The interior features a Techno leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls. A five-inch touchscreen radio with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is also included.

Incorporating these fun yet facilitative features into the Fiat 500 Lounge at such a reasonable price is why we really love this one! Choose a 2021-plate model with three doors for prices of around £10,200**. This version has a 1.0-litre mild hybrid petrol engine available which can achieve up to 53.3mpg*. Plus, this model will fall into insurance group 8D which is a similar grouping to the Citroën C1 Feel.

Browse our stock of used Fiat 500 Lounge cars

Kia Picanto Zest

Green Kia Picanto Zest parked from the front on an off-white background

Our pick quick facts

Next on our list is a used Kia Picanto. It’s a compact city car with a whole lot to offer new drivers. The Mk3 was launched in 2017 with a host of new and exciting techy features. These can include cruise control, rear parking sensors and a start/stop system. This model rivals the likes of the Peugeot 108 and the Škoda Citigo which are also great city cars within this vehicle classification.

Opt for the 70-plate Picanto Zest with a 1.0-litre petrol engine and prices can usually start around £11,600**. This version has five doors, four seats and is in insurance group 5E, which is the same group as the Dacia Sandero. The model will also offer you up to 54.3mpg* out on the roads!

A Kia Picanto Zest offers split-folding rear seats. The model offers 255 litres of boot space with the rear seats up, besting the Citroën C1’s 196 litres. However, with the rear bench flat, an impressive 1,010 litres become available. It’s your perfect partner on an adventure, and a fantastic example of one of the best small cars for new drivers.

Browse our stock of used Kia Picanto Zest cars

Renault Clio Iconic

Black Renault Clio parked from the front on an off-white background

Our pick quick facts

A used Renault Clio is another one to consider for your first car. This model is impressively equipped. It has loads of handy features and tech at a very reasonable price. For this reason, the Clio has long been a popular model with both new and experienced drivers.

Choose a 71-plate Clio Iconic with a 1.0-litre TCe 90 petrol engine for prices starting around £10,900**. This is a five-door version which sits in insurance group 9E. Importantly, cars in this group are usually classed by insurers as low risk in terms of being involved in accidents. This model is also efficient, capable of up to 54.3mpg*.

The Clio Iconic has a wide variety of driver convenience technology and equipment. These include features like the lane departure warning system, plus lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and rear parking sensors. All together, these features will help a first-time driver by making the driving experience a whole lot easier. It’s an extremely affordable yet well-equipped first car to choose.

Browse our stock of used Renault Clio Iconic cars

Hyundai i10 SE Connect

A green Hyundai i10 SE Connect parked from the front with a few other cars in the background

Our pick quick facts

Next on our list is the Hyundai i10. It’s one of the best cars for new drivers on our list and has scooped many awards in the last few years. In 2023, the model was awarded ‘City Car of the Year’ by Auto Express. The launch of the Mk3 i10 in 2019 brought with it an updated exterior and more driver convenience technology.

A 71-plate used Hyundai i10 SE Connect with a 1.0-litre MPi petrol engine will cost you around £12,400. In terms of insurance groups, this model falls into group 5A – similar to the Dacia Sandero Essential and the Kia Picanto Zest. Fuel economy is great too; like many of the other cars on this list, the i10 will offer up to 54.3mpg*.

Despite its low price, interior features and in-car entertainment options are excellent. The SE Connect trim includes an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. You won’t need to worry about parking either – new drivers will be thrilled to know that this version includes a rear-view camera!

Browse our stock of used Hyundai i10 SE Connect cars

Vauxhall Corsa SE

A red Vauxhall Corsa SE parked from the front

Our pick quick facts

The Vauxhall Corsa is one of the most recognised and loved cars on UK roads and has been since 1993. It’s one of Vauxhall’s most popular models and a great option for new drivers to consider. The Corsa faces rivalry from other familiar superminis including the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208.

In 2019, the Corsa came into its fifth generation. The Mk5 is known as the Corsa F. Choose a five-door 2021-plate Corsa SE with a 1.2-litre petrol engine and prices can start around £10,400**. It sits in insurance group 10E. Meanwhile, in terms of fuel economy, the Corsa SE will offer up to 51.4mpg*.

The SE may be the entry-level trim on the Corsa F, but it is not short on features, equipment or technology. Automatic lighting control, rain-sensing wipers and power-assisted steering make driving far less taxing which is fantastic for new drivers. The Corsa F also features as one of our top 10 most fuel-efficient cars of 2024. It’s a fantastic first car, it’s frugal, practical, stylish and reliable; everything you need from your first car!

Browse our stock of used Vauxhall Corsa SE cars

Volkswagen up! Black Edition

Black VW up! Black Edition parked from front with Arnold Clark motorstore in the background

Our pick quick facts

In terms of the best automatic car for new drivers, we had to pick the Volkswagen up! Black Edition. Not only can you find these models with automatic transmission, they are also available as fully electric and some are priced under £15,000!** Choosing the electric version will mean that you won’t pay any road tax. And the benefits don’t stop there…

Our pick sits in insurance group 10E which is extremely reasonable for an electric car. It has five doors and four seats with prices typically starting around £12,400**. In terms of first cars, this one is extremely stylish, sophisticated and doesn’t scrimp on features.

Choose the Black Edition trim and you can expect a sleek black radiator grille, body-coloured door handles, mirrors and bumpers. This iteration also has rear-tinted glass for added privacy. You can also expect a heated front windscreen and rear window which is extremely convenient for those cold winter mornings. These types of features are rare to see for a car at this price point!

Browse our stock of used VW up! cars

Volkswagen Polo Match

Blue VW Polo Match parked from the front on an off-white background

Our pick quick facts

A used Volkswagen Polo is another great option to consider for your first car. This iconic German model has been on our roads since 1975. It’s a compact supermini which shares similarities with its bigger sibling, the Volkswagen Golf. The Polo is rivalled by other loved compact superminis including the Ford Fiesta and Audi A1.

This is one of the best used cars for new drivers available on the market for a number of reasons. Choose a 2021-plate 1.0-litre EVO 80 petrol version and it’s capable of up to 51.4mpg*. This version has five doors and sits in insurance group 1E which is the cheapest insurance group in the UK! Prices for the model can start around £14,400**.

The Vokswagen Polo Match also offers new drivers various driver conveniences and assist equipment, with the aim of making your driving experience stress-free. Listening to all your favourite songs and podcasts on the go won’t be an issue either. The Polo includes a high-tech touchscreen infotainment system.

Browse our stock of used VW Polo Match cars

Seat Ibiza SE Technology

Red Seat Ibiza SE Technology on branded CUPRA background

Our pick quick facts

Last, but by no means least, is the SEAT Ibiza. The model gained the title of ‘Best Small Car’ at the 2022 Business Motoring Awards. It’s perfectly suited to navigating tight parking spots and city streets.

Our choice is the 71-plate SEAT Ibiza SE Technology with a 1.0-litre TSI 95 petrol engine. This model has five doors and falls into insurance group 10P. Prices for the Ibiza SE Technology can start around £14,200**. The model is also fuel-efficient, offering up to 54.3mpg*.

The Ibiza shares its platform with the Volkswagen Polo, Škoda Fabia and the Audi A1. So, you can rest assured that you’ve made a sound choice by choosing this model. The expertly crafted interior will also have you never wanting to leave. In terms of first cars, this one is a very smart and stylish choice.

Browse our stock of used Seat Ibiza SE Technology cars

Choosing the best first car for you

Deciding what you want and what is right for you is paramount when purchasing your first car. We have given you ten hand-picked options that we believe will give you a good start. Need more advice though? Below, we have also listed some things which you should consider before purchasing your first car.

Things to consider when choosing your first car:

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*Figures for fuel consumption, the CO2 produced, and/or the pure electric range are provided for comparative purposes only and are based on laboratory testing. The actual figures under real world driving conditions will depend upon a number of factors, including any accessories fitted after registration, variations in driving styles, weather conditions, vehicle load and the health of the battery. **Please contact us directly for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to requirements, including status and availability. Price illustrations based on available stock at time of writing. Prices may vary.