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Top 10 Best First Cars for New Drivers: A Comprehensive Guide

Achieving the milestone of learning to drive is a transformative life experience. After completing driving lessons, passing the theory test, and succeeding in the practical exam, the exciting phase of choosing your first car begins. This selection process can seem daunting, with considerations like cost, intended use, and meeting specific needs. Here’s a tailored guide featuring the top 10 ideal first cars for new drivers by the UK’s leading car selling comparison platform HonkHonk.

Ford Fiesta

A perennial favorite in Britain, the Ford Fiesta combines sleek design with advanced features like voice control and a heated windscreen—ideal for chilly mornings. With its sporty feel and solid road presence, it’s perfect for new drivers, offering confidence and a range of engine sizes suited for economical insurance.

Volkswagen Polo

 Volkswagen Polo

For those seeking a touch of luxury, the Volkswagen Polo offers a premium feel at a reasonable price. It boasts a high-quality interior, efficient engines for reduced running costs, and advanced safety features, making it a comfortable and safe choice.

Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo

Distinctive and fun, the Toyota Aygo stands out with its unique design. It’s economical, spacious for a city car, and perfectly suited for urban driving with its 1.0-litre petrol engine, emphasizing fuel efficiency and low maintenance costs.

Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa

A strong contender, the Vauxhall Corsa offers affordability and versatility. Available in sporty three-door or practical five-door models, it’s an economical choice for insurance and maintenance, particularly attractive in its pre-2019 versions.

Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 checks all the boxes for a first car—fuel-efficient, low insurance costs, and a solid drive. The interior is spacious and comes with many standard features, backed by Hyundai’s five-year warranty.

Renault Clio

Renault Clio

Europe’s popular Renault Clio is tech-rich with safety enhancements like lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking. Its stylish interior and exceptional boot space make it an attractive option for first-time buyers.

Kia Picanto

Kia Picanto

Choosing the Kia Picanto means enjoying one of the UK’s most cost-effective cars. It’s not only affordable but also stylish, with a spacious interior and a long seven-year warranty, making it a value-packed first car.

Dacia Sandero

Dacia Sandero

For unmatched value, the Dacia Sandero offers a lot of car for a modest price. Simple yet modern, it provides ample space and comfort, suitable for both city drives and longer journeys.

Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe

For those considering an electric vehicle, the Renault Zoe presents an affordable option. Its compact size makes it easy to handle in town, and it comes with the perks of lower running costs, although insurance may be higher compared to petrol cars.

Fiat 500

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 wins hearts with its charming retro style and personalization options. It remains a favorite for those who value style alongside reasonable insurance and fuel costs, perfect for making driving a delightful experience.

These vehicles cater to various needs and preferences, making any of them a smart choice when looking to purchase your first car after successfully obtaining your driver’s license.

Do new drivers need car insurance?

Yes, new drivers need insurance. It is a legal requirement for anyone driving a car on a UK public road to have car insurance. Driving without insurance can lead to serious legal consequences.

New driver insurance is not a separate type of policy but refers to coverage for those who have recently passed their driving test. Due to their lack of experience, new drivers are considered higher risk by insurance providers, which often results in higher premiums. Therefore, it’s important to compare quotes to find affordable insurance for new drivers.

What type of insurance do new drivers need?

New drivers have three main types of car insurance to consider:

  1. Third Party – This is the minimum required to legally drive on public roads. It covers the cost of compensating others for any damage or injury you cause but does not cover any damage to your own car.
  2. Third Party, Fire and Theft – This provides the same coverage as third party insurance but also includes protection if your car is stolen or damaged by fire.
  3. Comprehensive – This includes third party, fire, and theft coverage, as well as any other damage to you or your own vehicle. Despite being the highest level of coverage, it’s not always the most expensive as it is widely offered and often chosen by the safest drivers.

How much is car insurance for new drivers?

The cost of car insurance for new drivers depends on various factors, including where you live and the type of car you drive. Typically, new driver insurance is more expensive than that for experienced drivers. According to our data, drivers under 25 pay up to £2,116 annually for their car insurance, compared to up to £924 for drivers across all age groups.

How much is car insurance for a new driver per month?

When broken down monthly, drivers under 25 can pay up to £171 per month for their car insurance. Although this may seem high, insurance providers consider inexperienced drivers to be a greater risk.

Why is car insurance so expensive for new drivers?

Car insurance for new drivers is often more expensive due to their lack of experience and because many new drivers are young (aged 17-24). Insurance providers see young drivers as higher risk, supported by statistics showing that a fifth of those killed or seriously injured in car accidents in 2021 were in collisions involving young drivers. Additionally, new drivers haven’t had the opportunity to build a no-claims bonus, which helps reduce insurance costs over time.

How to get cheap car insurance for new drivers

Here are some tips to help new drivers find cheaper car insurance:

  • Compare quotes – Look for new driver car insurance quotes from different providers to find a better deal.
  • Buy a smaller car – Insurance is cheaper for standard cars with smaller engines. Consider the cars above. Its worth getting insurance quotes before buying the car so you can budget correctly for it.
  • Consider a black box policy – A device that tracks your driving can lead to lower premiums for safer drivers.
  • Share a car with a parent – Adding an experienced driver as a named driver can reduce costs, but avoid “fronting” (misleading the insurer about the main driver).
  • Avoid modifications – Adding features like alloy wheels or spoilers can increase your premium.
  • Increase security – Installing an immobiliser or alarm can lower your insurance costs.
  • Reduce your annual mileage – Less time on the road can mean lower premiums.
  • Pay annually – Paying for insurance upfront is often cheaper than monthly instalments.
  • Pay a higher excess – Agreeing to pay more towards a claim can reduce your premium, but ensure you can afford it if needed.
  • Pass an advanced driving course – Completing a course like Pass Plus can show insurers you’re a safer driver, potentially lowering your premium.