No matter what, insurance premiums always sting. This is especially true for new drivers, who have wrestled their way through hundreds of pounds worth of lessons and, potentially, just spent thousands more on their first car. With a brand-new license and no no-claims discount, insurance is one more costly, drain on their finances.
However, to help you navigate through the often harsh world of forking out to protect your car, carwow has compiled a list of ten new models that are not only great cars; they sit in the lowest insurance groups – ranging from Group 1 to Group 3.
The cars are ranked based on wowscore – the rating each of them was given when we first reviewed them – so that you can get the best mix of quality and affordability.
1. Volkswagen Polo
The Volkswagen Polo is a small hatchback that feels both plush and practical. It may look like a shrunken Volkswagen Golf, but that reduction in size and price doesn’t mean a step down in quality. The cabin as a whole feels well-built and, when combined with the Polo’s responsive and intuitive infotainment system, is a nice place to be. The back seats are nearly as roomy as the Golf’s, meaning the Polo will have no trouble taking up to four adults on long journeys. The 351-litre boot is almost as big as the Golf’s, too.
One thing to look out for with the Polo is that, when compared with the alternatives, it isn’t exactly the most thrilling drive. However, it still earns the top spot in this guide because, when it has a 1.0-litre EVO engine, it falls into the cheap-as-chips car insurance Group 1.
2. Volkswagen Up
The Volkswagen Up is a blend of the small size and price of city cars with the sturdy build quality you’d expect from VW. Along with the universally well-made materials, you’ll find most of the Up’s party pieces in its cabin, as this funky minuscule car has a dashboard that can be customised in 12 different ways. There’s also a dashboard-mounted system that transforms your smartphone into a nifty makeshift infotainment screen.
Practicality-wise, the Up is strictly a four-seater. This may seem like a pain when alternatives have five seats, but the car can still accommodate four full-size adults for long journeys, much like the Skoda Citigo and Hyundai i10. Plus, the VW’s boot is reasonable for a car of this size. It also feels smooth and nimble to drive around town.
Up versions in Take Up guise and with 1.0-litre engines are the cheapest of the whole range to insure, as they fall into insurance Group 2.
3. Hyundai i10
Despite being a new model, the 2020 Hyundai i10 is still inexpensive to insure, falling into car insurance Group 2 when fitted with a 1.0-litre, 67hp petrol engine. And for that low running cost, you get a surprisingly sporty-looking small hatchback. Its sharp angles give it a rather imposing presence, ideal for more image-conscious drivers.
The i10 is a very easy car to drive, especially in town. Its light controls and dinky size make it an agile thing, fitting easily through potentially tricky gaps. It’s also much more adept on the motorway than many other similarly titchy hatchbacks.
Another plus is the i10’s boot size, as it can take up to 252 litres of luggage – easily enough for all your weekly shopping.
Sadly, although the i10 ticks many boxes, don’t expect to be wowed by the styling inside.
4. Skoda Fabia
It may look unassuming, but the Skoda Fabia is a cheap, economical and surprisingly spacious small car.
Its greatest strengths are in its cabin. The materials feel sturdy and strong for something so small and inexpensive, and every car has a 6.5-inch infotainment screen with Bluetooth connectivity. The Fabia can easily carry up to four six-foot-tall adults in its cabin, as well.
Admittedly, the Fabia isn’t the most exciting car in the world. It’s not the most inspiring to look at, and much of the same can be said for the drive.
Get a Skoda Fabia with its entry-level, 1.0-litre, 60hp engine and the car will fall into insurance Group 1. The engine is ideal for town driving; it may not be the fastest, but it feels smooth and is certainly economical.
5. SEAT Ibiza
Think of Ibiza and you think of loud music, hard partying and radical heat; think of the SEAT Ibiza and you think of quietness, reliability and comfort. That’s a bit of a disparity, sure, but it does make this hatchback very easy to live with.
The car is easy to drive, for a start. In town, you’ll love its light controls and generous visibility, while the sharp steering is ideal for when you want to get a bit faster out in the countryside.
The Ibiza’s practical, too, capable of accommodating four fully-grown adults despite its ‘small car’ status. Its boot is a fantastic 355 litres, making mincemeat of what you’d find in alternatives like the Skoda Fabia and Toyota Yaris. That interior does feel cheap in places, though.
Get the Ibiza in SE trim with a 1.0-litre engine and it falls into the inexpensive car insurance Group 3. Result!
6. Renault Clio
The new Renault Clio is an eye-catching little hatchback, standing out from the crowd with its slashing headlights and uniquely shaped grille. While the exterior has that cool factor going for it, the interior, on the other hand, is plush and lovely. Everything feels well-built and that 9-inch infotainment touchscreen is like your very own dashboard-mounted iPad.
The Clio is pretty practical, too, thanks largely to its 391-litre boot, which dwarves almost all of the alternatives’. Plus, driving it in town is a doddle. This is not only because of the Clio’s small stature; forward visibility is pretty good, while the firm suspensions makes things feel rather sporty. Alternatives are more comfortable, though.
Get the Renault Clio in its Play or Iconic variants and with a 1.0-litre, 75hp SCe engine, and you’ll have a nifty little hatchback that fits snugly into insurance Group 3.
7. Dacia Sandero
Good news! The Dacia Sandero is in insurance Group 3 if you get it in its entry-level Access version. It’s good to see that that cheap car insurance cost will match the car’s cheap purchase price, which starts at around £7,000. However, should you choose that trim, prepare for a car with a dated-looking interior and, shockingly, no radio!
For the cost, you’d expect the Sandero to be in the same city car class as the Hyundai i10 and VW Up – however, it’s a much larger, family-friendly hatchback. The cabin is easily roomy enough for four, while the 320-litre boot is on the level of the VW Polo.
Driving the Sandero is easy, thanks to great all-around visibility from the driver’s seat and a quiet cabin, even at motorway speeds.
8. Nissan Micra
The Nissan Micra is a quirky-looking family vehicle that still proves to be a comfortable and upmarket machine to live with. The interior is stylish and high-quality, and the boot has a capacity of 300 litres, just bigger than what’d you’d find in a Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa.
Driving the Micra is easy thanks to its light steering and generally quiet cabin. It’s also comfy, skipping over bumps and potholes with very little in the way of disturbance. Sadly, all of these pros make for a rather expensive car.
When it comes to insurance, it’s best to get the new Micra with its 1.0-litre IG 71 engine, as this will make it fall into insurance Group 1.
9. Toyota Yaris
The Toyota Yaris is a cheap-as-chips family vehicle available with an economical hybrid option, capable of up to 59mpg. For the cheapest car insurance, though, you’re going to want to look at the entry-level 1.0-litre petrol engine, which has 72hp. When fitted with that, the Yaris will fall into insurance Group 2.
No matter which version you go for, the Yaris still comes with a spacious cabin, especially if you make many school commutes. Two adults and three children can all be accommodated inside, with the front seats supportive enough, and with enough headroom, for you to never feel cramped.
While entry-level Yarises get a CD player, Icon versions and above get a handy 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that’s easy to use and equipped with DAB digital radio.
What’s not so good? Well, the Yaris can prove noisy as you’re on the move – not to mention a bit pedestrian while you’re behind the wheel.
10. Fiat Qubo
Last on our guide is the Fiat Qubo. However, it is the biggest vehicle here, giving you giant MPV proportions for the small, small price of barely £13,000 – that’s less than a Hyundai i20! It’s similarly inexpensive to insure, too, with the Pop version and its 1.4-litre engine falling into Group 3.
For that comparatively small amount, you get an MPV that’s extremely easy to drive. Its smooth suspension neatly irons out many of the lumps and bumps you’ll find on British roads. Also, the body doesn’t at all lean badly in twisty turns.
As you’d guess, space is another of the Qubo’s major strengths. The driver could be six feet tall and there’d still be room in the seat behind them for another six-foot-tall adult, no sweat. And, if you aren’t hauling any rear-seat passengers, fold the row down and you get immense swathes of storage space.
The biggest weaknesses, on the other hand, mainly include a feeble-feeling engine, not to mention those divisive, van-like looks.