Best First Cars for New and Young Drivers

By Emma Williams
Best First Cars for New and Young Drivers

Leasing your first car is a viable option

If you’re looking for a safe, practical and affordable first car for your newly qualified teenager then take a look at the cars listed below which come highly recommended by What Car and Auto Express for their suitability.

Their experts have considered the vehicles based on their value for money, reliability, fuel economy, insurance costs, safety and ease of driving.

Of course the costs of running a car for first time drivers is high, particularly insurance premiums so take a look at our Personal Contract Hire (PCH) lease deals to see how leasing your first car can make it more affordable.

The five cars featured below were listed in the Top Ten 2024 for both What Car and Auto Express.

Dacia Sandero

The Dacia Sandero is both affordable and practical with pricing starting from below £14,000. It has five seats, five doors and a 320 litre boot and is reasonably cheap to insure for new drivers, starting from as low as insurance group 7. The latest-generation Sandero is based on the current Renault Clio and is also one of the cheapest cars on sale in the UK. It’s weaknesses are a poor safety rating compared to its competitors and there are more entertaining small cars to drive but if you’re looking for amazing value for money, space and comfort then this is a good option.

Volkswagen Polo

Auto Express describes the Polo as a ‘grown-up’ supermini and in this class is hard to beat. Although on the large size for a supermini it is still easy to drive and park and has the option of Driver Assistance Package including parking assist if it’s needed. This car traditionally has been a popular first car for new drivers and these days comes with VW Golf levels of sophistication at a much lower price. It’s comfortable, practical and very good to drive as well as having a pleasingly smart interior. All versions come with a wide range of safety kit.

Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 city car is great to drive and very well equipped for a small car. The base Advance trim comes with air-conditioning, eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, cruise control and 15-inch alloy wheels. It’s even got lane-keep assist. All this kit however makes it a little more expensive, prices starting at just under £16,000. But if you’re looking for a comfortable and quiet drive, decent rear space and practicality and a car that’s relatively cheap to insure then look no further.

Kia Picanto

With an automatic-only license you can’t beat the Picanto for affordability as it slots into the lowest Group One category making it pretty cheap to run. It is very small so a doddle to park and easy to manoeuvre around town. It has a smart interior but on the negative side it isn’t very quick and some of its competitors are roomier inside. If you’re keen on equipment though the 3 trim has excellent infotainment and electrically adjustable door mirrors, leather-trimmed steering wheel and rear parking sensors.

Skoda Fabia

At the top of the list for Auto Express is the Skoda Fabia. It’s both small and easy to handle, is in a low insurance group and has a low asking price. Group four insurance, refined and spacious it’s a very tenable option for most newly qualified 17-year-olds! Despite the fact it’s very small it has a surprising amount of space and is great for carrying passengers and fitting plenty in the boot. True to the Skoda family it is good value and very practical and with the entry-level SE Comfort trim you get alloy wheels, LED headlights and air conditioning as standard at a good price.

The main thing to be careful of as a new, young driver is sky-high insurance costs. If you can get through your first twelve months without making a claim this will get your premiums lowered and this will continue if you can refrain from making any claims. If you want to boost your no-claims discount consider fitting your car with an insurer-approved ‘black box’. This monitors your driving and if you return a good score then the insurer will reward you with further reductions.

Leasing a new car rather than picking up a cheap second hand car is definitely safer. To help with ease of driving choose light steering, good visibility, a responsive engine and brakes, user-friendly controls and positive gear shift, all of which will help build the confidence for new drivers. For more information on what cars are currently available for new drivers and any existing special offers speak to one of our account managers who help out new drivers all the time and can offer you their experience and help.