So you’ve forked out a few quid for your provisional driving licence, coughed up a little more to pass your theory test, then thrown hundreds of pounds (and that’s if you’re lucky) at lessons and, finally, a full driving licence is yours. Now driving gets a little cheaper, right? Wrong. Welcome to the world of extortionate insurance premiums. It doesn’t matter what car you drive, as a new driver getting cover is going to cost you. A LOT.
Help is at hand though, because carwow has handpicked 10 cars that aren’t just relatively cheap to insure but are also great cars in their own right. They won’t just appeal to new drivers, they’re also ideal if you want a brilliant car on a reasonable budget. Read on for our guide to the best cars that are cheap to insure.
1. Volkswagen Polo
You can get a VW Polo – winner of the carwow Car of the Year Little Legend Award – in cheapest-of-all Group 1 insurance. To do it, you’ll need to go for the 65hp 1.0-litre petrol, but the good news is that you can have an SE car with kit such as air conditioning, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, four electric windows and alloy wheels. The Polo has an air of quality to it, space for four and a boot that’ll swallow two suitcases. Loaded up like that, the basic petrol feels slow, but console yourself with the fact that it’s cheap to run, and that the Polo is very comfortable for a small car.
2. Skoda Citigo
Think ‘cheap insurance’ and a car like the Skoda Citigo is likely what you have in mind, but perhaps not this rather natty Monte Carlo model that occupies Group 1 insurance. Its 15-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows and Monte Carlo decals give it the whiff of a mini hot hatch. It isn’t, of course, but a 60hp 1.0-litre petrol engine in a car this small makes it feel surprisingly nippy in town and it isn’t completely out its depth on the motorway. Of course, it’s also very cheap to run. Sports seats and coloured trim mean the Citigo is smart on the inside, too, and you’ll be able to squeeze four adults and a few bags of shopping in there.
3. Volkswagen Up
Underneath its VW badges, the Volkswagen Up is basically exactly the same as the Skoda Citigo we just mentioned. The downside of VW-badge kudos, however, is that the only model that qualifies for Group 1 insurance is the basic Take Up version. Its steel wheels mean it looks a little plain on the outside and the interior is also pretty basic – you don’t even get the air-conditioning that the Skoda gets as standard. Fundamentally, this is still a great car because the Up has more space inside than you’d ever expect of something so small and its 60hp 1.0-litre petrol engine costs buttons to run and feels nippy in the city.
4. Hyundai i10
The Hyundai i10 feels like a ‘big small car’. Its rear seat has room for two adults and you get a boot that’s big for a car this size. You don’t get the VW Up’s funky interior but the Hyundai feels more substantial and has more interior storage. Even the well-appointed Hyundai i10 Premium qualifies for Group 1 insurance, meaning you get climate control, rear electric windows (they open properly unlike the popout versions in a VW Up) and a dock that holds your phone on the dashboard so you can easily use its sat-nav. The caveat is that you need to go for the 66hp 1.0-litre petrol engine that’s fine in town, but only adequate on the motorway.
5. Nissan Micra
The Nissan Micra isn’t as fun to drive as other small cars, but it makes up for this thanks to its high-speed stability and relatively quiet cabin on the motorway, and because its light controls make it easy to drive in town. Inside, it has a quality feel and loads of room up front, even if headroom in the back is tight and the boot isn’t the most practical in a car like this. To qualify for Group 1 insurance you’ll have to go for the sluggish 72hp 1.0-litre petrol engine. On the upside, you can have mid-range Acenta trim that includes air-conditioning, automatic-emergency brakes, smartphone integration and cruise control.
6. Ford Ka+
The Ford Ka+ isn’t exactly the most inspiring car the company has ever made – lacking pretty much all the charm of the cheekily styled old model – but it does sit in insurance Group 1. Its small size means it is ideal for weaving through tight city streets and also makes it an easy car to park when you reach your destination. The Ka+’s darty handling makes it good fun to drive, though you’ll have to go for the 70hp 1.2-litre engine and basic (there’s no alloy wheels or air-conditioning) Style trim for cheap insurance. Inside, the Ka+ has just about enough room for four adults and the boot can swallow a few shopping bags.
7. Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is the first car on this list to slot into Group 2 insurance, so it will cost marginally more than the cars above. Despite this, Fiesta is one of the best cars on this list. Why? Well, because this is a reasonably priced car that’s a barrel of laughs in corners thanks to pointy steering and communicative controls. The 75hp 1.2-litre petrol engine keeps insurance costs low as does the basic Style trim, although the latter means (unlike in the Ka+) you still get a reasonable amount of equipment including air-conditioning. The Fiesta’s main drawback is its relatively small boot and tight back seat.
8. Vauxhall Corsa
The Vauxhall Corsa is another car that falls into Group 2 insurance – if you get it in Active trim with a 75hp 1.4-litre engine. The Corsa might not be the best car of its type, but it gets lots of equipment to make up for this including a handy heated windscreen, cruise control, remote central locking and alloy wheels – although you will have to do without air conditioning. All models also get a relatively large infotainment screen that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Just a shame it’s neither as comfortable to drive nor as spacious as alternatives such as the VW Polo.
9. Skoda Fabia
The Skoda Fabia ticks all the boxes for a car you’d expect to be cheap to insure – it neither looks sporty nor is sporty… No surprises, then, that it qualifies for Group 2 cover. Though perhaps lacking in excitement, the Fabia is still a decent bet with durable build quality and a bigger boot than you’ll find in most cars this size. The version you’ll be looking at is the Fabia S with a wheezy 60hp 1.0-litre petrol engine. It does without air-conditioning but does get automatic emergency brakes and electric front windows. That said, it’s annoying that its 6.5-inch infotainment screen isn’t compatible with your smartphone.
10. Toyota Yaris
The Toyota Yaris is another car that isn’t going to set your world alight, but an Active version with a 72hp 1.0-litre petrol engine does qualify for cheap Group 2 insurance. What’s to like about the Yaris? Well, while its interior is flimsy and tight on space, Toyota’s reputation for reliability is second to none and, while the 1.0-litre engine will feel a little slow on the motorway, it will also cost buttons to run. The Yaris comes with more equipment than any other car this size including front and rear parking sensors, climate control, automatic emergency brakes and automatic dipping headlights.