The 12 Best Cars for New Drivers to Buy in 2018

Whether you’re a new driver who’s keen to get out on the road or a cautious parent looking to buy sensibly for your son or daughter who’s recently passed their test, we all know that a first car is a very important purchase.

With insurance premiums for younger motorists creeping higher and higher, your main concern is likely to be keeping running costs down – but good safety rating and drivability will also be important factors when it comes to deciding which car you should go for in 2018.

With all this in mind, here’s a selection of cars that the JCT600 team reckon would make a great buy for new drivers.

– Under £11k
£11k – £14k
£14k – £15k
£15k plus


Best cars for new drivers: Under £11,000

 

New Mazda 2

New Mazda 2

Price: from £5,293
Euro NCAP rating: four stars
Insurance groups: 9-10

Highlighted as offering “punchy performance and decent economy” by Auto Express, this smart supermini also comes with plenty of appealing technology, like a seven-inch central touchscreen with smartphone connectivity. Plus, the comprehensive safety kit includes an auto brake function and departure warning, which new drivers are sure to find reassuring.

New Kia Picanto

New Kia Picanto

Price: from £5,995
Euro NCAP rating: three stars
Insurance groups: 2-4

What Car? has praised the Picanto for its “smart interior, tidy handling and decent practicality.”

This exceptional city car comes with a seven-year warranty as standard, plus the safety rating rises to four stars if you go for the safety pack option, which includes automatic emergency breaking.

New Peugeot 108

New Peugeot 108

Price: from £9,120
Euro NCAP rating:  four stars
Insurance groups: 6-8

First launched as a replacement for the 107, the Peugeot 108 is, according to Honest John, the ideal car “for those who need cheap, urban transport with a little bit of style”. The latest models offer more boot space and reduced emissions compared to their predecessors, plus they’re especially cheap to run.

New smart forfour pure

New Smart ForFour Pure

Price: from £10,490
Euro NCAP rating: four stars
Insurance groups: 1-9

This eye-catching car – the bigger brother of the smart fortwo – is ideal for anyone who’s just passed their test and is looking for a nippy run-around. With endless personalisation options, you can really make it your own, plus it’s backed up by a good reliability and safety record. At JCT600, we’re currently offering the smart forfour pure from just £129 per month.


Best cars for new drivers: From £11,000 to £14,000

 

New Volkswagen Polo

New VW Polo

Price: from £11,970
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 1-9

This small hatchback may have been around a while, but it remains a sector leader thanks to its spacious and comfortable interior, low running costs, and drivability. It was even named Supermini of the Year in the 2016 Auto Express Awards. Interested? The Volkswagen Polo is currently available with 1 year’s free insurance here at JCT600.

New Kia Rio 1.25

New Kia Rio

Price: from £11,995
Euro NCAP rating: three stars
Insurance groups: 2-5

Dubbed a “grown-up supermini” by Auto Car, the Kia Rio offers responsive handling, smooth gear changes and excellent visibility, making it a great choice for those who are new to the road. Running costs are affordable, and it’s spacious too – both the rear passenger seats and boot offer more room than you’d think.

New SEAT Ibiza

New SEAT Ibiza

Price: from £13,410
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 2-8

Named ‘Best Supermini’ in the 2017 Auto Express New Car Awards, the Seat Ibiza’s frequently been praised for its responsive steering, affordable running costs and good looks. It’s also a joy to drive, with the driver given plenty of scope to adjust their seat and steering wheel to exactly suit their needs.


Best cars for new drivers: From £14,000 to £15,000

 

New Vauxhall Corsa Energy 1.4

New Vauxhall Corsa Energy 1.4 red

Price: from £14,080
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance group: 6

The Corsa has been one of the UK’s best-selling cars for some time, and has been universally praised by reviewers for its practicality and affordability (the What Car? review is particularly helpful). Chose the Energy trim and you’ll benefit from appealing features including electrically heated front seats and steering wheel, automatic lighting control, and height-adjustable driver’s seat.

New MINI 3 door Hatch

New MINI 3door hatch

Price: from £14,620
Euro NCAP rating: four stars
Insurance groups: 15-23

The MINI hatchback is compact, cool and quirky, and comes with a 1.2 litre engine, making it perfect for new drivers looking to secure insurance for the first time. Highlighted by What Car? as being one of the top ten small cars currently on the market, it has a premium, stylish feel that makes it a popular choice with young motorists.

New Peugeot 208

New Peugeot 208

Price: from £14,630
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 5-15

Top Gear have praised the 208 for being “good looking and cheerily willing”, and noted that the latest incarnations offer an interior that’s “much better quality than its predecessor, with posher materials and a more upmarket feel”. Its impressive economy ensures running costs stay low, while the secure-feeling handling is sure to provide any nervous new drivers with a welcome confidence boost.


Best cars for new drivers: £15,000 plus

 

New Audi A1

New Audi A1

Price: from £15,560
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 9-22

It might be one of the most expensive cars in our rundown, but the Audi A1 is more than worth the investment. It essentially offers all of the fantastic Audi qualities you expect from the rest of the range in a more compact, easy-to-handle package. Plus, as What Car? points out, it offers “a gorgeous interior that’s nicely screwed together and the promise of superb resale values”.

New BMW 1 Series 116d 3-door SE

New BMW 1 Series 116d 3-door SE

Price: from £21,840
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance group: 18

Looking to get your time on the road off to the most stylish of starts? Then the BMW 1 Series could be for you… Top Gear have called it “a brilliant premium hatch that appeals to both keen drivers and the economically minded”. It comes with a powerful 1.5 litre engine, and you can upgrade to the Sport model for more spec if you’d like.


Still not sure which car fits the bill? The JCT600 team are happy to answer any questions you have about these or any other models, and help you find a car that exactly suits your needs – either give us a call to chat, or drop into your local dealership. Or if you’re ready to start looking at what we have available right now, you can start your car search here

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