10 of the cheapest first cars for young drivers

10 of the cheapest first cars for young drivers
10 of the cheapest first cars for young drivers

Learning to drive is an expensive business. By the time you’ve taken lessons and paid for the test you’ll already have spent hundreds of pounds. But that’s just the start because once you’ve got your licence you still need something to drive.

And it’s not just the purchase price of your first car that you need to think about. For inexperienced drivers, and young motorists especially, insurance can cost a small fortune and then there’s the cost of fuelling it as well.

To help keep costs to a minimum you could buy a cheap second-hand motor. However, if a new, hopefully reliable, car with modern safety and economy is more appealing then there are plenty of options.

To help choose the most affordable new models for young drivers comparison site Compare the Market looked at factors including purchase price, insurance group, average insurance premium and official economy figures to come up with 10 of the best.

Unsurprisingly, most are small city cars but a couple of popular larger superminis also make it into the list

1. Volkswagen Up

Volkswagen Up
(Photo: Volkswagen)

The Volkswagen Up shares its platform with the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo and brings badge cachet and an air of quality to the city car class. The only engine is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder – producing 59bhp, 74bhp or 89bhp – with the lower-powered version promising economy of 54.3mpg. With prices starting from £9,260 and insurance as low as group 2, it’s a great way into a new car.

2. Skoda Citigo

Skoda Citigo
(Photo: Skoda)

If it’s cheap and cheerful you are after then the Skoda Citigo should be high up on your list. With identical looks and charm to the Volkswagen Up! and the Seat Mii, the Citigo undercuts its competition with a low purchase price and excellent value for money. Starting at £8,890, all models sit in the lowest insurance groups and an average economy of 54.3mpg is pretty impressive.

3. Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10
(Photo: Hyundai)

Stylish and practical are two words that sum up the Hyundai i10. This supermini is fun, frugal and well put together. Running costs are just what you would expect – i10 models sit in low insurance groups and servicing is cheap for the class, too. Meanwhile, the basic 66bhp 1.0-litre engine returns up to 55 miles per gallon, making the i10 a pretty economical option for a first car. Base model pricing starting from £10,025.

4. Citroen C1

Citroen C1
(Photo: Citroen)

The C1, is the most affordable car in the French brand’s model range. Under the skin, it shares a great deal with the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108. All versions have an economical 1.0-litre petrol engine that returns 56mpg and it also sits in a relatively low insurance band. Prices start from £10,470.

5. Peugeot 108

Peugeot 108
(Photo: Peugeot)

The sister car to the C1 offers funky looks and plenty of tech for a low cost. All models are fitted with a 1.0-litre petrol engine, which is ideally suited to driving around town – it’s not the ideal choice for motorway driving where it runs out of steam. Base model pricing starts from £12,265 and the car can achieve up to 55mpg gallon. It also sits in the lower insurance groups, ranging from about five to nine.

6. Fiat Panda

Fiat Panda
(Photo: Fiat)

Practical, spacious and affordable are all threes words that come into your head when you think of a Fiat Panda. The Panda offers a different take on the idea of a supermini, with utilitarian looks with an upright shape, making for a light and airy feel, while it also has a certain charm about it. The Italian hatchback won’t cost too much to keep on the road. If you tend to stick to short journeys and don’t cover many miles a year, the entry-level 1.2-litre is more than enough, returning 44.1mpg and prices start from £10,080.

7. Fiat 500

Fiat 500
(Photo: Fiat)

The fun and fashionable Fiat 500 draws styling inspiration from its 1950s predecessor but shares its underpinnings with the Panda. The entry-level model has a 68bhp 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which is a popular choice for first-time drivers and can return 51.4mpg and starts at the insurance group two. The base model pricing starting from £12,165.

8. Renault Clio

Renault Clio
(Photo: Renault)

Underestimating the Renault Clio is a bad move, this French supermini is one of the Renault top models and it’s even more popular worldwide. The three-cylinder 1.0-litre TCe play is likely to be the most popular engine and it certainly shouldn’t break the bank as it is able to achieve 54.3 miles per gallon and sits in a relatively low insurance group. Prices start at £14,295.

9. Seat Ibiza

Seat Ibiza
(Photo: Seat)

A Spanish take on the VW Group’s supermini platform, the Ibiza is a youthful, stylish option that rivals the Clio for space and performance. Available from £15,600, basic models use a 1.0-litre petrol engine to return up to 50.4mpg. As a supermini rather than a city car, expect more space and equipment than some of the smaller models on this list.

10. Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen_Polo
(Photo: Volkswagen)

If quality is the question the Volkswagen Polo is the answer. Combining superb build quality and an engaging car to drive into one package, makes it even easier to see why the Polo was named What Car? Small Car of the Year for 2019. Although the Polo is a little more expensive than many of its rivals, its residual values tend to be stronger and running costs are reasonable, kicking off the range is a 1.0-litre non-turbocharged petrol, now only available with 79bhp which returns up to 48.7 mpg. The base model starts from £15,390.

The full data

(Data: Compare the Market)

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