Choosing a car to learn to drive in

Lesson Type
Last updated: 13 Nov 2019

There are many things you’ll need to consider when you decide it’s time to learn to drive. You’ll need to apply for your provisional driving licence, find a driving instructor, get learner driver insurance, and make sure you’re ready to take to the road.

The car you learn to drive in will also make a difference. As a learner driver, you’ll need to consider what car will suit you best in terms of size, engine size and price. Here we run through what you need to think out before choosing the best car to learn to drive in, to help you make the right decision.

Your driving instructor’s car

Driving instructors generally have similar cars in terms of size and engine size, but you might want to look for a driving instructor who drives the same or a similar car to the one you’re driving in your private driving practice sessions.

Many learner drivers find that they struggle to get to grips with learning in different vehicles for their driving lessons and practice sessions, if the cars are very different. Getting used to the car you’re driving in is essential when you’re a learner driver, so it might be worth looking for a driving instructor who drives a car which is similar to the one you’ll be taking private practice in.

When you search for a driving instructor with us, you can view what car they drive before sending them an enquiry.

Think big, start small

When choosing the car you’re going to learn to drive in, size should be one of the most important factors. Getting to grips with life on the road is much easier when you’ve got a small car to manoeuvre, and you don’t want to be struggling with doing a parallel park in a huge car.

Choosing your first car as a learner driver can be exciting but don’t get carried away with your options. Remember the price of your car insurance and road tax will all depend on what car you’re driving, so you need to make a sensible choice.


As well as car insurance and road tax, you’ll also have to spend out on fuel and the cost of maintaining your car. Make sure you’re making the best financial choice by checking the fuel consumption of any car you’re thinking of buying as well as what tax band the vehicle falls into.

You’ll also need to consider whether a petrol or diesel car is the best option for you. Deciding whether you should go for a diesel or petrol car can be confusing, but we’ve outlined the differences in our diesel vs. petrol guide.

If you’re on the look out for an affordable car to learn to drive in, take a look at the best first cars for under £1000 to find out which vehicles fall into your price range.


For many learner drivers, price is the most important thing when it comes to choosing the car they’re going to learn to drive in, but that doesn’t mean you should compromise on safety.

Before you buy a car, take a look at the EuroNCAP rating for the year and model that you’re considering buying. This will tell you how the car performs in a crash test and how many stars it has scored on the safety scale.

Buying a safe car doesn’t have to involve spending thousands on the newest model available, so take a look at our pick of the top 10 safest first cars for some inspiration.

Make sure your private practice is constructive

Whether you’re learning to drive in a car of your own or if you’re taking to the road in your parents’ car, you’ll need to make sure it’s the best car for you to be learning in. The car you take your driving lessons in is bound to be learner-friendly, but the car you use for your private practice can make a difference to your progress in the driving seat.

Whilst adapting to different cars is something we all learn to do as qualified drivers, you don’t want to be struggling with getting used to two very different cars when you’re preparing for your driving test.

Image via Jonathan Billinger.