Top 10 safest first cars to buy

Lesson Type
Last updated: 14 Nov 2019

When buying your first car, you want to make sure you’re making the right decision, both financially and when it comes to safety. Although a huge part of staying safe on the road is down to the driver’s actions behind the wheel, the car you choose is also important.

Renault Clio

In the EuroNCAP best in class of 2012, the all-new Renault Clio was voted the safest small car on the market. With a 5 star safety rating, and a newly-found stylish streak, this hatchback could be the perfect option for a new driver looking for a safe but small and reliable vehicle. In it’s 2013 annual review, the Clio scored another 5 star rating from EuroNCAP.

The latest Clio has an On The Road (OTR) price of from £10,795.

Peugeot 208

Peugeot’s come in all shapes and sizes, but the 208 is one of the safest options for young drivers. Not only is it small and easy to manoeuvre in, but it also scored very highly on its 2012 EuroNCAP results, with another 5 stars.

The 208 is a modern and stylish option, and, with an OTR starting at £9,995, can be seen as a good investment.


Ford Fiesta

We’ve already written about how the 2012 Ford Fiesta may be the perfect first car, and its latest EuroNCAP safety rating definitely shows it’s one of the best choices for drivers of all ages. It’s a safe but stylish choice, and the new Fiesta has more safety features than you can shake a stick at. Parents love the MyKey system which allows them to set a maximum speed, maximum volume and ensures they’ve fastened their seatbelt.

On top of its 5 star safety rating and sophisticated safety features, the newest incarnation of the Fiesta is also incredibly economical, meaning you’ll spend less on both fuel and road tax. Plus it's a popular choice with driving instructors, so you may well have got used to driving one of these during your driving lessons.

The most basic version of the Fiesta has an OTR price of £9,995.

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 has become a staple on British roads, and with its chic looks and relatively affordable price tag, has become an increasingly popular option for new drivers. It’s not just good looks it’s got going for it either, as Fiat’s TwinAir technology makes it incredibly economical too. The Fiat 500 has a 5 star safety rating for adult occupancy, showing that just because a car’s small doesn’t mean it’s not safe.

The Fiat 500 has a starting OTR price of £10,320.


Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen’s trustworthy and reliable reputation makes the Polo a perfect first car. Combining good looks with an economical engine and a 5 star EuroNCAP safety rating, the Polo drives well and is easy for a young driver to manoeuvre.

The popularity of the Polo is, however, reflected in the new model’s price of £11,100 and upwards. If you’re looking for a second hand version, though, you’ll be looking at a more manageable price.

Renault ZOE

The ZOE is a relatively new model but it’s already proven itself as a great safe first car option. Not only has it been awarded 5 stars with euroNCAP, but the all electric ZOE is also 100% green.

Because it’s fuel-free you’ll never have to visit the forecourt again, won’t have to pay road tax and you won’t have to worry about your carbon footprint.

The ZOE has an OTR price from £13,995 when the government’s electric car grant is taken into account. You’ll also, however, have to pay from £70 a month for battery hire.


Toyota iQ

The Toyota iQ may look small, but it’s perfect for inner-city driving and those looking for a small but stylish runaround. The iQ has an impressive nine airbags; one for every passenger and then some.

Again, it scored an impressive 5 stars in its EuroNCAP test, making it one of the safest first cars on the market.

The Toyota iQ starts from £11,100.

Kia Rio

Kias may not be one of the most popular options on British roads, but the Rio – owing its looks to an ex-Audi designer – makes for a perfect first car. Even the most basic model comes with electronic stability control with brake-assist and six airbags as standard.

Scoring another 5 stars with EuroNCAP, the Kia Rio will set you back £9,495 for the most basic version.


Suzuki Swift

The Suzuki Swift is another small but stylish car. Updated four years ago, the newest version of the Swift received top marks on its EuroNCAP crash test, and offers its driver a fun but manageable little vehicle. As the name suggests, it’s perfect for whizzing around the city in, and for fitting into tight parking spots.

The Swift has an OTR starting price of £10,799.

Chevrolet Aveo

It’s a car which doesn’t get much of a look in, but the Chevrolet Aveo was voted the safest small car on the market by EuroNCAP in 2011. It might not be a head turner, but it certainly packs a punch. The Aveo is marketed as a ‘fun’ vehicle, and one which ‘makes no compromises’.

It’s deceptively spacious, and could be the perfect choice for a young driver looking for something a little different.

The Aveo starts from £10,745.