• Published: 31 May 2022

A new car for a first-time driver should be cheap, easy to drive and safe. Buying your first car is a memorable milestone on the passage into adulthood. Once you've passed your driving test, the next hurdle between you and a whole new level of freedom is finding the best first car for your budget. 

What to look for in a first car

One of the biggest obstacles to driving is high insurance costs. As a new driver, your shortage of experience will count against you in the eyes of an insurer. If you can keep out of trouble for 12 months, you will accrue a no-claims discount. This will give you a percentage reduction in your premium. If you continue to not make any insurance claims, then this discount will only grow over the years. There are even some finance deals which include free insurance, although this usually raises the monthly payments drastically. 

Vauxhall Corsa

The Corsa was recently announced as 2021’s top-selling car in the UK. It’s not surprising to see why, because it is hugely popular among many buyers from all different walks of life, including new drivers.

Low running costs, up to date technology, and a rather sporty appearance all make the Corsa an appealing option in this fiercely fought part of the market.

There is also the choice of a 1.2-litre petrol or a 1.5-diesel engine. We’d recommend opting for the petrol unless you are planning to make a large number of long distance journeys. This engine should  return more than 45mpg.

Peugeot 108

The Peugeot 108 is one of the cheapest cars that you can buy, but still provides plenty of the comforts that the pricier cars do. For example air conditioning, touchscreen media systems, and driver assistance systems. 

The Peugeot 108 shares all of its running gear and basic chasis with the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo, with each car getting a unique look for the nose, tail and interior. In the Peugeot, there is a choice between three-door and five-door models. 

Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo is very hard to beat. There are a few versions of Polo to choose from, but the base ‘Life’ trim offers plenty of features. These include alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a DAB radio, electronic stability control, and rain-sensing automatic wipers. 

While the Polo is notably larger than some of the other cars, it should still prove easy to drive and park. That said, there is the option of the Driver Assistance Package, which includes parking assist.

Hyundai i10

Hyundai has taken a slightly bolder approach to the latest i10’s styling meaning it does look much sharper than before. 

The i10 has received several upgrades on the inside too. Including a full array of safety kit fitted as standard across the range. However, if you want features such as a rear-view camera, climate control or even front foglights, you will need to opt for the Premium or N-Line trims. 

Insurance should be more on the affordable side across the i10 range. With the different variants ranging between insurance groups 3-10. No matter which i10 you choose, though, you will get the brand’s five-year warranty as standard. 

SEAT Ibiza

The SEAT Ibiza has a more stylish body compared to our other listed cars, along with a lower price.

The Ibiza is one of the better-equipped cars on this list when it comes to safety, too. Even the base SE spec offers electronic stability control, front collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, hill-hold assist, a tiredness recognition system, and lane assist.

There are plenty of comforts to accompany this safety, too, as an 8.25-inch touchscreen media system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, air-conditioning, and cruise control also feature as standard.


Looking to buy a new car? Head over to our used car search. 

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Transport For London

Cars need to meet minimum emission standards when travelling in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) or the daily charge must be paid.

Minimum emission standards

Petrol: Euro 4
Diesel: Euro 6

The ULEZ will be enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. However:

Information from Transport For London

Check this car on the TFL website before purchasing: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle/

Spencers Car Sales

At Spencers Car Sales we charge an admin fee of £50 when you purchase a used vehicle from us. The admin fee pays towards the preparation of your new car, to make sure it’s safe and immaculate when you drive it away.

Admin fee is charged as listed below:

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