Our 10 Top Used Cars for New Drivers

By: Lisa Harper

Buying your first car is an exciting experience! Getting the keys to your first car is one of the first steps to independence. Plus with so many make and models on the market it is great fun finding a car that reflects your style and individual personality.

But finding the perfect first car can also be a minefield. With so much on offer it’s easy to lose focus and sight of what you really need from your car. So we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite used cars for new drivers.

1. Ford Fiesta - A Great All-rounder

One of Britain’s best loved and most popular cars the Ford Fiesta came out on top in our recent review of our top selling used cars. There’s good reason too, the Fiesta has exceptional handling making it great fun to drive. With 3 and 5 doors on offer you can decide which works best for you. Ford have continually improved on board kit and with a range of different specifications available you’ll be spoilt for choice. Running costs are comparable to others in its class, however Ford are known for great value for money parts and servicing so you might find you can save a little here.

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used Ford Fiesta

2. Fiat 500 - Iconic Italian Design

The Fiat 500 is an iconic looking car and made it to number four in our list of top selling used cars . As well as offering unique and quirky styling the Fiat 500 also offers impressive safety features and affordable running costs. Known for its nippy performance and nimble handling you’ll find navigating urban streets hassle-free. What’s more with a range of trims on offer as well as a good number of special edition models, finding a Fiat 500 that offers everything you need as well as a stylish exterior is a breeze.

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used Fiat 500

3. Vauxhall Corsa - Classic First Car

Vauxhall Corsas have graced our roads for years now and are a popular choice for new drivers. Corsa engines have been geared to efficiency over performance meaning running costs stay affordable. In addition as most Corsa models fall into low insurance groups you’ll find owning a Corsa a wallet friendly option. With a host of trim levels available finding something to suit your tastes shouldn’t be difficult. The Corsa is available with either a petrol or diesel engine. The diesel will achieve a better mpg and offer CO2 under 100g/km but unless you’re regularly covering a lot of miles you’re probably better sticking to a petrol, which are usually cheaper to buy used.

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used Vauxhall Corsa

4. Volkswagen Polo - German Precision

For stylish good looks and impressive interior look no further than the Volkwagen Polo. The Polo is easy to drive and with a good safety record, scoring 5 stars in Euro NCAP testing.  It is available as a 3 or 5 door and you’ll find there is adequate space in the back seats for your friends, with a boot that will happily accommodate your shopping haul. The Polo is more expensive to buy than other cars listed but does offer competitive running costs, with low insurance unless you opt for a GTI version.

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used Volkswagen Polo

5. Nissan Micra - Great Economy

Known for being efficient and easy to drive Nissan Micras also have a reputation for outstanding reliability. The 5 door layout ensures that back seats are easy to access and rear passengers will also welcome the generous amount of headroom. Great for tootling round the city streets but equally at home cruising along the motorway. With admirable mpg capabilities and low CO2 emissions you’ll find the Micra affordable to both run and tax. Plus its one of the least expensive models on our list to insure, with entry level 1.0-litre models falling into group one insurance category.

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used Nissan Micra

6. Ford Ka - A Reliable Run-around

A great city car, you’ll find the raised seating position will give you a fantastic view of the road ahead. Plus with Fords impressive know-how with steering and suspension, you’ll find the Ka perfectly nimble and adaptable. There isn’t much space for rear passengers but space up front is generous. The majority of used models will be petrols but there are diesels out there if you look hard enough. The Ford Ka has low insurance (some models fall in group one), tax and fuel costs, plus Ford offer great value for money on parts and servicing, so you’ll find owning a Ka doesn’t break the bank.

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used Ford Ka

7. Renault Clio - French Fun

The Renault Clio is synonymous with a fun drive experience, excellent comfort and great value for money. There’s a good range of engines as well as a variety of different specs so finding something to suit your requirements should be easy. The Clio has always had bold interior and exterior styling so it’s a great choice if you’re looking for something with distinctive style. It’s a popular choice amongst new drivers as the Clio is economical to run. What’s more as servicing for newer models is only required every two years or 18,000 miles, you’ll save on maintenance costs.

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used Renault Clio

8. Mazda 2 - Stand Out From the Crowd

A stylish looking small car the Mazda 2 offers something different to the hatchback market. The Mazda 2 is great to drive and offers an impressively quiet cabin even at motorway speeds. There’s a variety of on-board kit and technology available depending on which model you opt for. Many Mazda 2 models fall into the £20 tax bracket and are economical with fuel, so offer great value for money motoring. You might find buying a used model slightly more costly but they are a less common sight on UK roads, so if you’re looking for something different it’s definitely worth considering. 

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used Mazda 2

9. SEAT Ibiza - Sporty Spanish Style

Sharing many of its components with the Volkswagen Polo, the SEAT Ibiza is a more affordable alternative that is just as stylish in its own right. Offering great driveability it’s quickly becoming a rival to Fords perennial bestseller the Fiesta. The Ibiza is available as a 3 or 5 door. Space inside is great up front and more than adequate in the back. Low running costs are achieved with impressive engines that offer great mpg capabilities and low CO2 emissions. To get the best insurance prices avoid the sportier engines which fall into higher insurance groups.

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used SEAT Ibiza

10. Peugeot 108 - A Chic City Car

Only available as a petrol the Peugeot 108 is a compact car that is perfect for nipping around the town or city. Its small size and impressive turning circle will ensure manoeuvring around the tightest spots is a doddle. With a host of personalisation options available as new it’s possible to find a uniquely styled used model. Whilst impressive mpg capabilities and CO2 emissions that don’t stray above the rate of 100g/km ensure running a Peugeot 108 certainly won’t break the bank.

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used Peugeot 108
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