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Best cars for newly qualified drivers – 8 cars new motorists should buy


best cars new drivers

Best cars for Newly Qualified Drivers in the UK (Image: NC)

On a practical level though, there are certain criteria that first-timers should be mindful of; style, invariably, is vital – but so is safety. It also needs to be easy to drive, and affordability is understandably an important requirement, both in terms of price and running costs.

Ensure that you always get a vehicle data check before purchasing a car.

A data check is inexpensive, the AA only charges £6, which is money well spent in the long run as it confirms if the mileage and number of previous owners are accurate and it picks up whether the car has been stolen or if there is any outstanding finance associated with the vehicle. For extra peace of mind it’s also worth arranging a pre-sale vehicle inspection.

Check for active safety features, such as antilock brakes (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC), which will help to prevent road accidents.

Euro NCAP’s car safety ratings are an important guide, but bear in mind that they’ve changed their test criteria over the years so you can only make direct comparisons between ratings of cars of a similar age.

Euro NCAP’s car safety ratings are an important guide, but bear in mind that they’ve changed their test criteria over the years so you can only make direct comparisons between ratings of cars of a similar age.

Check the insurance rating of the car before purchasing. Starting out as a new Driver often involves high insurance premiums as new drivers have limited driving experience and do not have a no claims bonus. Sometimes, the insurance can cost more than the vehicle so it’s vital that you check the insurance rating.

Find out how much Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), commonly called car tax, you will be paying. This can also drive the cost of your car up, depending on how eco-friendly the vehicle is and how old it is.

VED can cost between £0 and £555 per year so it’s important to check before you buy the car.  For cars first registered since April 2017 it’s likely to be £140 per year unless you’re looking at a car that cost more than £40,000 when new.

Use the DVLA’s vehicle information service to find out the car’s official CO2 emissions figure and its MOT status.

Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta is the best selling car in the UK and a good vehicle for new drivers (Image: FORD )

Since we’ve covered what to bear in mind when buying a car for the first time, to help you make your choice here’s a list of the top 10 used cars on the market for Newly Qualified drivers.

Ford Fiesta

Ranked highly, the Ford Fiesta boasts several high-tech safety features, including the innovative MyKey, which was introduced in 2012. The MyKey system allows parents to limit the maximum speed that the car can reach and restrict the stereo volume when their children are driving to prevent any distractions.

Newer models also feature seven airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESP), plus optional autobrake. To support its safety claims, the newer models scored 5 stars in Euro NCAP safety test. It offers variety since it’s available with a wide range of engines.

In terms, of price, insurance premiums for Fiesta’s tend to be reasonably low and because they’re in high demand, you’re likely to find a bargain in the used car market. They are also fuel efficient. Overall, they’re a great starter car. 

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 offers great bang for your buck and is a brilliant option for the style conscious buyer. It is particularly suited to people doing a lot of city driving, and those needing a compact, efficient car for their daily commute. It offers an incredible fuel economy rating and one of the lowest running costs.

Audi A3

The Audi A3 is a great first car for drivers looking to break into the luxury segment. It is a classy compact that boasts well-designed interior that easily matches its stylish exterior. It’s beautifully built and is punchy to drive.

Its compact size makes it an ideal choice for city and urban drivers, but its spacious interior guarantees that you, and your passengers will have a comfortable ride.

It has impressive safety ratings and long term reliability. It is also a great car for the price conscious first-time driver as it is surprisingly efficient, boasting excellent fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. It also offers reasonably low insurance premiums.

Toyota Yaris

By far one of the best small cars for value, the Toyota Yaris is easy to maintain and is guaranteed to stand the test of time. It offers easy maneuverability, a good ride quality and an outstanding predicted reliability rating.

It boasts top-class safety and has managed to achieve a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating since 2005. It is relatively inexpensive to run as it is incredibly fuel-efficient and offers low insurance premiums.

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa is an affordable and popular vehicle for new drivers (Image: VAUXHALL)

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa has everything a new driver is looking for in one compact, stylish package. It’s small, dynamic, fun and perfect for urban driving.

It’s available in a variety of engine sizes for economic driving and is reasonably priced, especially in the used car market, with relatively low insurance costs. You can typically find a used Vauxhall Corsa with 2010 plates or newer with relatively low mileage and have change from £5,000.

VW Polo

The VW Polo is a very popular choice among newly qualified drivers, which comes as no surprise. Polos are known for their reliability, quality and holding their value.

They appeal to the image-conscious new driver who seeks a compact, but stylish car with a strong resale value. They boast safety features, including autonomous emergency braking and an antilock braking system.

They are available in a broad selection of engine sizes, but the smaller 1.0-litre engine models are most likely to appeal to first-time drivers. 

VW Golf

The VW Golf is a brilliant car for newly qualified drivers. It is one step up from the VW Polo, so offers a little more leg room. It champions outstanding quality, impressive refinement, and reliability. For a slightly heavier first car, it is reasonably frugal on fuel.

The only downside for newly qualified drivers is that insurance premiums are high compared to other cars in this price bracket. However, if you want a car that is guaranteed to stand the test of time, the VW Golf will give you a good run for your money.

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus is arguably one of the best compact cars on the market. It boasts more space than a little Fiesta yet offers nearly the same fuel economy. It is fun to drive, provides for a smooth ride and has dynamic handling.

It appeals to the style conscious buyer and comes with the enviable suite of high tech features that the Fiesta has, including MyKey, which was introduced to the Focus in 2010.

The newer models also come with the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which definitely appeals to a younger buyer.

It is also one of the safest cars for a first-time driver to drive, and like the Ford Fiesta, the newer models score highly on Euro NCAP safety tests after achieving a maximum 5-star safety rating.



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