The 5 best cars for learner and new drivers

Lesson Type
Last updated: 12 Nov 2019

Whether you’ve passed your test or you’re just starting driving lessons, choosing your first car is an important decision. This is the car that is going to help you to nurture and perfect your newfound driving skills, and that will no doubt be a vehicle you will look back on with feelings of fondness and nostalgia for many years to come.

Whilst the car of your dreams may combine high performance and supercar prestige, you may need to jump back into reality when it comes to choosing your first vehicle. For most new drivers, the cost of the car itself and hefty insurance premiums can mean that the dream car may have to wait a while.

Considerations When Choosing Your First Car

Dream cars aside, innovative auto design and competitive market pricing mean there are still plenty of options when it comes to choosing your first car. There are a number of important factors to consider, but perhaps the most important are:

  • Cost
  • Performance
  • Safety
  • Running Costs
  • Insurance Costs

If that all sounds a little daunting, don’t worry. We’ve taken care of the hard work for you by researching some of the best cars for learner drivers in 2017. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

1. Vauxhall Corsa STING 1.4i

top 5 best first cars for learner drivers 1

Cost: £9,745 Engine: 1.4 litres Fuel Economy: 55mpg Insurance Category: 2 The Vauxhall Corsa has long been a favourite amongst young drivers, and for good reason. This hot hatch offers a fun drive but is also practical with its spacious cabin and more affordable insurance category.

Safety features are abundant on the Corsa Sting and include auto-dipping headlights, lane departure warning, rear-view camera, six airbags and blind-spot warning.

There is simply no mistaking the Sting model — just take a look at those stripes adorning the roof, bonnet and boot. White alloy wheels complete the look giving this Corsa unique street appeal and a sporty flair. The latest generation Vauxhall Corsa Sting also comes with a 36 month/60,000 mile warranty.

2. Hyundai i10 S 1.0

top 5 best cars for learner drivers yundai

Cost: £8,995 Engine: 1 litre Fuel Economy: 60mpg Insurance Category: 1

When you are looking for a great city car that ticks all the right boxes, the Hyundai i10 is the perfect choice. A generous interior, stylish good looks and low running costs are just some of the features you’ll enjoy when you choose the i10, and with its low insurance category you won’t be crippled by huge insurance premiums. The Hyundai i10 may not yet be a household name, but it can certainly give other urban hatchbacks a run for their money.

The Hyundai i10 had an excellent result for reliability in our 2016 Driver Power survey, coming 12th for reliability out of 150 cars surveyed, and it was rated 15th overall for running costs.

Reliability is top notch with the i10 with the tried and tested engine having been carried over from the old model. You’ll also benefit from a five year warranty and breakdown cover. Safety-wise, the i10 offers electronic stability control, tyre-pressure monitoring and six airbags as standard across the range.

If you’re looking for a little extra oomph, or you’re likely to be taking on fast roads and motorways or carrying luggage or passengers on a regular basis, the 1.2-litre model may be a more suitable option. The third seatbelt in the rear also makes the Hyundai i10 a true five-seater, unlike other compacts that can only carry two passengers in the rear.

3. Ford Fiesta 2017

top 5 best cars learner drivers ford fiesta 3

Cost: Approx. £14,000 Engine: TBA, but we expect approx. 1.0-litre three-cylinder with EcoBoost Fuel Economy: TBA, but we expect around 60mpg Insurance Category: TBA, but we expect an insurance category no higher than 2 When it comes to fun and easy driving, good fuel economy and safety, it’s easy to see why the Ford Fiesta is such a popular choice as a first car.

Whilst no official details have been released for the new Ford Fiesta just yet, we’re expecting the current 1.25 litre petrol engines to be dropped in the next generation models. The current Fiesta features a three-cylinder EcoBoost, and we expect this also to be the case with the 2017 model.

4. Renault Clio Expression 1.2 16V

top 5 best first cars learner drivers 4

Cost: £11,555 Engine: 1.1 litres Fuel Economy: 51mpg Insurance Category: 7

For those looking for something a little more “top end”, the Renault Clio Expression offers good looks, high performance and exceptional handling. For the too-cool-for-school gang, this is the car that has it all, but also a price tag and insurance category to match. We’ve selected the more affordable model out of the current Clio range, but you’ll find plenty of cheaper offerings if you’re willing to go second hand.

On the inside, the Renault Clio Expression offers a myriad of gizmos usually reserved for bigger, premium vehicles. However, you will need to pay extra if you want all the bells and whistles.

Safety has always been a strong point at Renault and the Clio Expression is no exception. Not only did this model achieve a five star Euro NCAP rating, but it is also equipped with a full complement of airbags, emergency braking, rear reversing camera and parking sensors and anti-lock brakes as standard.

5. Citroen C1 VTi

top 5 best first cars learner drivers 5

Cost: £8,195 Engine: 1.2 litres Fuel Economy: 67MPG Insurance Category: 3

The Citroen C1 VTi might be small, but it boasts a mighty spec when it comes to style, personalisation options and driveability. Oozing plenty of French sophistication, the C1 comes in a choice of three of five-door models and is one of the cheapest cars to run in its class.

When it comes to safety, the C1 also ranks high, scoring four stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, and offering hill-start assist, electronic stability control and ISOFIX points in the rear.

Shopping around will also uncover great deals on the C1 and if you are a young driver, and have a telematics box installed in your car, you could even have your insurance and car tax paid for three years.

Making the Big Decision

When choosing your first car it might be tempting to choose the first, cheapest or even the fastest model you come across. However, we recommend that you choose a vehicle that is reliable, easy to park and economical to run when you first venture out onto the roads. In doing so you can pick up plenty of experience safely and without the worry of expensive maintenance costs or insurance premiums.