Your first car signifies one of those special moments in life, not only offering a sense of independence but more importantly the ability to go to a drive-thru whenever you want.
The best cars for young drivers in the UK also tend to be those that are in the lower insurance groups: these tend to be based on a smaller engine size and safety features, and so naturally are the cheaper models available. This works out well as they also tend to be the more economical too.
Historically, most young drivers would opt for a used model and pay outright for it, but with finance options available in the used car market, whether that’s hire purchase, personal contract purchase or leasing, there’s various opportunities to get the car you want rather than one you just need.
Below, we look at five of the best cars for young drivers that are not only cheap to run but come with a variety of must-have tech and safety features.
A popular name on UK roads for decades, the Vauxhall Corsa is the UK’s best selling new car. Offering wide appeal among all ages and walks of life, it offers sleek and sporty looks, low running costs, and plenty of tech.
The 1.2-litre petrol model is ideal for getting from A to B and offers drivers around 45mpg, but it’s the all-electric Corsa-e that’s making the biggest waves: as one of the most affordable options to entering zero emissions driving it’s catching on with motorists quickly.
With a reputation for reliability and a badge that’s respected on the road, it’s no wonder that young drivers flock to the Volkswagen up! With all versions of the city car sitting beneath insurance group 10, it features a 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine that offers young drivers 64bhp and 50mpg efficiency.
Latest models offer Electronic Stability Control, airbags and a front facing camera, while the interior is up there with larger VW models such as the Polo. Basic tech includes DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity too. Even better, as a city car it’s one of the easiest on the market to park and drive.
While it might not offer some of the sportier flourishes of the VW up!, the Kia Picanto is a spritely and sensible city car that offers a similar amount of kit as it’s closest rival ensuring it’s one of the best cars for young drivers.
Backed by Kia’s signature seven-year/100,000 mile warranty, chances are that even if you buy a used model it will still be under manufacturer warranty making it the safest option on this list. While you get that surety, you also receive excellent fuel consumption well into the 50mpg region. Inside the city car you’ll find USB inputs for charging on the go, as well as Hill Start Assist as standard.
If keeping everything as cheap as possible is your priority, and you want a brand new car, then the Dacia Sandero might be the car that ticks all the boxes.
While the basic equipment leaves a lot to be desired, the latest version does offer Media Control, Bluetooth, Smartphone app and DAB. While it’s relatively practical with five seats and 320-litres of boot space, compromises have been made in safety equipment levels with the car only achieving a two-star Euro NCAP rating.
While it might not offer the styling of some on this list, or the low costs of others, the i10 stands out due to recently being named What Car? Best Small City Car.
With a full range of safety kit such as autonomous braking, lane keep assist and forward collision avoidance as standard, it also offers Bluetooth connectivity and two front speakers for driver entertainment. Other features in the i10 include impressive comfort, usability and technology.