Best Hybrid Cars For Young Drivers – Top 10 First Cars for New Drivers 2023 A new car for a first driver should be cheap, easy to drive and safe. Here are the 10 best first cars
Once you’ve passed your driver’s license, the next hurdle between you and a new level of freedom is finding a car you can afford. Of course, in an ideal world, you’d want something safe and well-equipped, with the practicality you need and hopefully some style for fun. Is that too much to ask? Our latest list of the best first cars for new drivers says no.
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The cost of buying and driving a car can be high, so the best way to maximize where your money goes is to find one that’s good value, reliable, cheap and cheap to insure. While many first-time car buyers focus on used cars, some new cars can be found at very reasonable prices, especially when financed through a PCP deal.
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Below we have listed the 10 best new cars for new drivers. They’re small enough to handle and easy to drive, but offer enough luxury to keep new drivers safe and connected while away from home. Our picks are also great for riding, helping you build confidence with every mile.
We think Volkswagen is on a roll! It’s such a great car that we’ve awarded it City Car of the Year four years running from 2017 to 2020. Although it no longer holds that special title, it’s still a solid choice as a first car.
Up! A key part of its appeal is its low price, with all versions rated as insurance group 10 or lower (except the hot GTI model). The only engine offered in standard petrol models is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder which produces 64bhp and returns more than 50mpg.
Although very cheap to buy and run, Up! Don’t skimp on security. The new models have electronic stability control, multiple airbags and a multi-function front camera. Interior quality belies the budget price, with new models featuring air conditioning and DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity as standard.
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The small dimensions of Up! Make it easy to drive and park, and actually a lot of fun, and because the engine is just a small unit, it’s not too taxing on the occasional freeway trip. There is also the option of an all-electric VW E-Up! If you want a car with zero emissions. It offers a battery range of 159 miles and the same level of performance as the petrol car, but at a higher price as a result.
Hyundai has taken a slightly bolder approach to the styling of the latest i10, and while it’s still not a pretty car, it looks sharper than before.
The latest i10 comes with a full range of safety kit fitted as standard across the range. However, if you want features like a rearview camera, climate control, or front fog lights, you’ll have to go for the Premium or N-Line trims, both of which come at a higher price.
Insurance for the i10 range should be quite affordable with several variants between 3 and 10 insurance groups. Whichever i10 you choose, you’ll get the brand’s five-year/unlimited kilometer warranty as standard.
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There are several versions of the Polo to choose from, but the base ‘Life’ trim offers plenty of features including alloy wheels, automatic headlights, DAB radio, electronic stability control and automatic rain-sensing wipers.
The Polo is significantly larger than the VW Up!, which should prove even easier to drive and park. That said, there is an option for a driver assistance package that includes Park Assist.
Now in its third generation, the Kia Picanto has become quite a sporty car. But while the latest looks give the Picanto more of a fun factor, it’s actually still a very sensible city car option.
Inside, there’s a fair amount of equipment available across the range. Expect to find electric front windows, USB ports, car lights and hill start assist. Additional sound insulation, tweaked engine mounts and a new engine cover make the Picanto more refined than its predecessors.
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Ownership costs should be minimal, fuel consumption should exceed 50mpg and all versions of the Picanto are in the lowest insurance groups. Kia’s signature seven-year/100,000-mile warranty should ease maintenance worries.
Close sibling to the aforementioned Volkswagen Polo, the Skoda Fabia isn’t just another car that offers plenty of practicality, equipment and low running costs, it’s also the cheapest model to buy.
Opt for the base ‘S’ trim and you get air conditioning, lane assist, autonomous emergency braking and DAB radio with USB-C and Bluetooth connectivity.
If you like the idea of having an SUV but without the bulk and hassle of parking, the Toyota Aygo X is the ideal solution. The Aygo X doesn’t feel as modern as some rivals thanks to its 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine, but on the plus side it returns over 50mpg without too much effort.
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Sit inside and the Aygo X’s cabin is a colorful and quite pleasant place. When it comes to amenities, the base model Aygo X comes standard with 17-inch wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen, adaptive cruise control and a rearview camera.
The Dacia Sandero is one of the cheapest cars on sale in Luxembourg, and the latest generation car is based on the current Renault Clio, which is a fine supermini in its own right.
Sure, the Sandero’s equipment is more basic and sparse than some of the other cars on this list, but the essentials are still there. Although prices are under £13,000, you won’t feel like you’ve been shortchanged. The latest Sandero should be practical for everyday use, with five seats, five doors and a 320-litre boot. While there isn’t much excitement behind the wheel, it’s reasonably cheap to insure for new drivers – the rugged version of the Stepway falls into insurance group 12.
It’s well known that the car market is rapidly shifting to electric power, and with the UK’s ban on petrol and diesel cars coming into effect in 2030, you might want to consider going electric from the first day of your license. If so, the Fiat 500 should definitely be on your radar.
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The 500 may be one of the smallest and cheapest electric vehicles on sale, but we named it our City Car of the Year 2022. Like its petrol predecessor, the 500 offers style and style in abundance, only this time with the added advantage of zero emissions. If you’re a bit worried about range, you’re better off opting for the 42 kWh battery, which offers up to 199 miles of range.
A compact SUV might not be the most obvious choice for a new driver, but the Hyundai Kona is no exception. It’s been around since 2017 and will be replaced this year, but the current version is still adequate, thanks to its sophisticated road habits, strong safety equipment and choice of hybrid engines or all-electric drive.
Powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, the hybrid can achieve an impressive 57.6mpg, but its low insurance costs for new drivers. The Kona Hybrid falls into insurance group 8, which is lower than the Vauxhall Corsa; And given its feature-rich interior and big feel, it’s worth checking out.
The Fiat Panda is one of the older cars on this list, with an all-new model coming in 2023, but it’s still worth considering as a first car. The compact Panda offers ride comfort, entertaining handling, excellent all-round visibility and smart storage. The latest cars are powered by a 1.0-liter mild hybrid engine, so costs are low.
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Another reason the Panda should be on your list of potential first cars is that it’s still reasonably priced. A new Panda can be yours for under £14,000, with used examples even lower, especially if you don’t mind an older example.
One of the biggest hurdles for new drivers to overcome is high insurance costs. As a new driver, your lack of experience will count against you in the eyes of insurers. If you can stay out of trouble for 12 months, you’ll get any claims discount that’s a percentage of your premium. If you keep making insurance claims, this discount will only increase over the years. There are also some financing deals that include free insurance, although this usually increases monthly payments dramatically.
One way to maximize any claims discount is to fit your car with an insurer-approved ‘black box’. This electronic device connects to your car’s electronics and monitors your driving and you and your insurer