Compare the best first cars

Browse a selection of suitable first and learner cars from rated and reviewed dealers

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Last updated April 5, 2024 by Darren Cassey

Best first cars for new drivers of 2024

Choosing your first car is a big deal, and there’s loads to consider before parting with your hard-earned cash. It needs to be cheap enough to buy and run, because insurance costs in particular are sky high for new drivers. However, it also needs to have at least a hint of style so your mates won’t mock you, and for younger drivers, be safe and slow enough that your parents won’t veto the decision.

With so much to think about, it can all seem a bit overwhelming. That’s why our expert reviews team have put together a list of the best cars for new drivers to consider below.

Renault Clio

1. Renault Clio

Renault Clio review
Skoda Fabia

2. Skoda Fabia

Skoda Fabia review

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Hyundai i10

3. Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10 review
Peugeot 208

4. Peugeot 208

Peugeot 208 review
SEAT Ibiza

5. SEAT Ibiza

SEAT Ibiza review
Dacia Sandero

6. Dacia Sandero

Dacia Sandero review
Volkswagen Polo

7. Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo review
Vauxhall Corsa

8. Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa review
Kia Picanto
Smart Spender Award
Highly Commended

9. Kia Picanto

Kia Picanto review
Citroen C3

10. Citroen C3 Origin

Citroen C3 review

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Advice about first cars

Good first cars FAQs

Insurers will want you to buy the smallest engine you can, so it’s probably best to stick to a 1.0-litre unit. Thankfully, the latest 1.0-litre engines from the likes of Ford, Volkswagen, and Renault are much better all-round performers than they used to be, so venturing out onto the motorway isn’t an exercise in endurance.

At the moment, the Citroen C3 Origin, Dacia Sandero and Kia Picanto are the cheapest options, with each hovering around the £14,000 mark. The Sandero is our pick of the bunch, but the C3 Origin and Picanto are both good cars and worthy of a look if you’re looking to save as much money as possible.

The Kia Picanto and basic versions of the Volkswagen Polo are in Group 1 for insurance, so it’ll be tough to get a better quote than you will with one of them. The Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia, Kia Rio, and SEAT Ibiza all start in Group 2, while the Renault Clio, Hyundai i10, and Dacia Sandero all start in Group 3.

Check out our explainer guide on car insurance groups to find out more.

Well, saving up is the best way – there’s nothing like going into a car dealer with a pocket full of cash, and you’ll definitely wangle a good deal if you do. Many will buy with parental help, of course, so be nice to mum and dad. You can also browse the latest new car deals on Carwow to see how much you could save, or browse used stock from our network of trusted dealers.

Maybe. Finance is a big commitment, and while the monthly repayments on PCP plans look temptingly low, don’t forget there’s always the final payment to make in three years’ time, or you’ll have to be ready to roll the car over into a new deal. Make sure you read all the fine print, and don’t assume that the car company’s finance deal is the best — shop around with high street banks and credit unions to get the best deal. Above all, make sure you can afford the repayments in the longer term.

You can read more about buying a car on finance in our guide on PCP car financing.

Insurance should be your first concern. New drivers are facing hefty premiums at the moment, so make sure you get a quote before buying a car and finding out you can’t afford the insurance. Once that’s settled, you also want to consider reliability and economy. With fuel prices the way they are, you don’t want something that’s getting any less than 45mpg on average (and preferably better than that). Reliability is key too, as even if problems can be sorted under warranty, if you’re in a first car you’re also probably in a first job, and missing days to get your car fixed is a no-no.