Best first cars 2015

24 Jun, 2015 6:00am

What is the best first car to buy? We've put together a list of the top cars for new drivers

What makes a great first car? The answer depends on what your priorities are. In the case of most young buyers, the best first car will simply be a model that costs as little as possible to run, and keeps you as safe as possible.

Huge insurance premiums mean all but the smallest-engined cars are likely to be completely out of reach - forget about driving the latest super-fast hot hatch if you've only just passed your driving test.

The cars with the lowest insurance group ratings are a solid first car bet, and the great thing about these models is that they are often very economical as well, thanks to their small-capacity engines and light weight.

Best superminis to buy now

If you're buying a new car you can sometimes grab a cheap or free insurance deal, although do check the age restrictions. These deals allow new drivers to build up 12 months’ no claims discount, which will really help for the next year when you have to pay up.

For parents buying a first car for their children, having something very safe is likely to be a top priority. Have a look at the Euro NCAP crash test results of the car you're interested in to see how it compares to its rivals - and chck that stability control is included, as it's sometimes optional on cheaper cars. Bear in mind that all modern cars have a high standard of safety, though.

Boot space isn't likely to be needed too often, so a small three-door is going to be a solid choice most of the time. These little cars are fun to drive and look good too, so there's bound to be one you like.

Best city cars to buy now

Diesels may have attractive mpg figures, but be aware that they can be unreliable if they aren't driven long distances regualrly: for trips around town and to the shops, petrol is the better option. The latest petrols have great running costs and some are even free to tax.

Tight turning circles, responsive steering and good visibility make them easy to drive, which is useful when you've not got much experience with driving. You could also stick with the car you learned in, as it'll be easy to get used to.

Whatever you go for as your first car, most young drivers will demand a decent stereo, and some way to connect their phone or MP3 player - so consider the interior features, too.

First Cars on Auto Express... 

Everything you need to know about learning to drive, getting your driving licence and choosing your first car...

Learning to drive

Passing your driving test

Getting your first car

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Apart from the relatively monied (a minority) this sort of article is going to be of little use to young people starting to drive or their parents. Purchase price and condition of the inevitably second hand vehicle are all that matter.

I bought a cheapo Noddy-style Micra for my younger daughter, followed by the present Pug 106.

Both are excellent little starter cars, helped by great visibility through the deep windows, a real benefit of low-waistline styling.

What about Polo? It too has a 60bhp engine that some see as low-powered in the Up sisters.

I was so ready to comment exactly the same. Such a small percentage of new drivers are able to buy a a new car with their own cash.

This article does suggest that AE are out of touch with reality.

A list of the best cars for under £3k would be far more useful for the masses.

the up is just great :) Yeah, lucky to get a car at all
these days!

Wise words indeed. My first car was about six years old when I became the owner. At the end of the day affording your first car - new or used - is just part of the story. Insurance is a major expense for young drivers, then of course there is fuel, maintenance etc.

Has anyone at AE done an insurance quote on a Mini? At group 8, I can be pretty sure it'll sit well out the reach of most young (18 - 24) drivers.

I agree. A better title for this article would be 'Best cars for Driving Instructors'