Once you’ve passed your driving test it’s time to find some wheels, get insured and get out on the road - but it’s important you choose a car that doesn’t push up the cost of your insurance anymore than it needs to.
We’ve rounded up which cars you should be checking out at your nearest showroom/local dealer, what they offer and why they’re so great to drive to keep costs low. We’ve also deep dived into car insurance and how vehicles are placed into specific insurance groups, plus tips and tricks to keep you on track when looking around that potential car. Share it with your mates once you’re done and help them find a decent car too!
The best cars for new driver insurance
1. Volkswagen Polo 1.2 litre
- 2002 onwards
- Insurance group 3
- Car tax cost: £150 This is a favourite among many new drivers simply because it looks great, handles well and is cheap to run. Car tax is on the pricier side but the lower insurance makes up for it - plus, when you break it down into monthly amounts it works out at around £13 a month.
2. Fiat Panda 1.1 litre
- Insurance group 1
- Car tax cost: £135 Not the usual car for a younger driver but if you don’t mind a boxy runaround this is the ideal motor - plus, you can fit loads in the back and the boot, ideal for road trips or a summer festival.
3. Citroen C1 1.0 litre
- Insurance group 1
- Car tax cost: £20 This nippy little car is small - ideal for shopping and parking in the multi-storey at the weekend - good to look at and cheap to tax and insure. You can pick up a 2010-11 model for just under £3,000 - which won’t take forever to save up for if you pull a few more shifts at work/sweet talk your Mum and Dad.
4. Toyota Yaris 1.0 litre
- 2001 onwards
- Insurance group 5
- Car tax cost: £150 Similar in looks to the C1, the Toyota Yaris is another smaller car, ideal for town driving - but don’t worry, you can still squeeze four of your friends in. The 1.0 litre model is cheap to run, and relatively cheap to insure too - making it the ideal first car for a new driver. You can pick one up for less than £1,000 second hand (around £650), although bear in mind the mileage may be a little over 100,000.
5. Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 litre
- 2008 onwards
- Insurance group 2
- Car tax cost: £135 Corsas are a great choice for a first car. They look great, handle well and even the 1.0 litre models can feel nippy on the motorway - ideal if you’re planning a trip to the nearest big city to see a concert or to the nearest coastline on a warm day. Sitting in insurance group 2, you won’t need to worry too much about a huge car insurance quote and having a black box installed could help lower costs even more.
6. Renault Clio 1.2 litre
- Insurance group 7
- Car tax cost: £140 A popular car with guys and girls, you know what you’re getting with a Renault Clio and that includes cheaper car insurance when you opt for a 1.2 litre model. Great for driving shorter distances, the Clio is fuel efficient, good looking and small enough to park in town centres with ease.
7. Peugeot 207 1.1 litre
- Insurance group 7
- Car tax cost: £170 This upgrade on the popular 206 model is a popular choice for 17-22 year olds looking for a first car that will last a few years. You can usually pick up one of these for just under £2,000 with low mileage via a private seller but check out your local dealers too.
8. Nissan Micra 1.0 litre
- Insurance group 7
- Car tax cost: £140 For a reliable, economical car - a Nissan is a great choice. It shouldn’t cost a lot to insure and road tax is around average, making it ideal if you want to keep costs low - more money for things that you actually want to do and a decent car to get you there.
What are car insurance groups?
Every car is placed in a group, when it comes to car insurance. These consider everything from the value of the car to what security it features to determine where it sits.
The lower the number, the lower the cost of insurance - so a car that sits in insurance group 1 may cost less to insure than a car in insurance group 7. Car insurance groups are set by the Group Rating Panel - these are members of the Association of British Insurers - but it’s worth noting that some insurers can set their own grouping system up.
What is considered when working out insurance costs?
It’s not just your age that’s considered but the car you choose is carefully scrutinised, when working out how much you should pay to keep it covered. Here is a quick rundown of what insurers look at, when costing up how much you need to pay to cover your car:
1. The value of the car How much the car is worth will make a big difference to the price you pay for insurance. The higher value the car - the higher your insurance will usually be.
2. How much it would cost to repair Your insurer then needs to understand how much they would need to pay out if repairs are needed if you ever make a claim, as well as how long it would take for the work to be carried out. This also contributes to the insurance group your car is placed in.
The cost of replacement parts are also considered - including everything from bonnets to windscreens and everything under the hood.
WHAT NEW DRIVERS SHOULD AVOID WHEN CHOOSING A CAR
- Cars that have been modified - While tinted windows and oversized alloys look cool they won’t help when it comes to getting a decent price for your car insurance.
- Sport editions - Avoid any cars that are sports editions of the usual model - this will bump up the insurance costs as the engines sometimes feature some extra force.
- Engine sizes over 1.4 litres - Stick to 1.0 and 1.2 litre models.
Tips for new drivers buying a car
If you’ve never bought a car before, it can feel a little daunting - especially if you don’t know much about them. Here are a few tips to help you when making a decision:
- Take someone along with you - It could be your Mum or Dad, older brother, family friend - just ensure it’s someone who has been driving for a few years and has experience of buying a car. They can guide you along the way, help you make a decision and step in if you’re struggling.
- Test drive the car - You might have a clear idea of what you want but once you jump in the driving seat of a car that matches, it might feel wrong. Take the car out for a spin and get a feel for the pedals, how it brakes and how you feel behind the wheel. It’s important you’re comfortable and feel safe when driving.
- Test the features of the car - As well as driving the car, you should also test things like the horn, windscreen wipers and any electronics to ensure they’re working properly. If they’re not, decide whether you still want it or if it’s an opportunity to reduce the asking price.
- Don’t be afraid to haggle - Remember, car dealers are trying to make a profit, so there is always a little wiggle room on price. Don’t be afraid to try to get a lower price or have something else thrown in like a valet or new wheels, if you feel it’s worth less than it is being sold for. The worst they can do is say no.
- Be prepared to pay a deposit - If you’re coming back for the car another day, you’ll be expected to pay a deposit. This is sometimes half of what the car is worth - but depends on the garage - so ensure you have this money available on the day.
- Get an insurance quote and check the car tax cost - If you spot a car you like the look of, it’s a good idea to check how much insurance and tax will be before you take it for a test drive. This will instantly make a decision for you if the price is too high. Don’t forget to get a quote for black box insurance to see how this can lower the cost.
- Feeling ready to brave the world of buying a new car? Take this new info along with you as well as someone to support you and find that perfect first car.