The 12 Best Cars for New Drivers to Buy in 2019

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 2019.

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 £11k

New Kia Picanto Kia Picanto in white

Price: from £9,270
Euro NCAP rating: three stars
Insurance groups: 2+

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 Volkswagen up!

Volkswagen up! in blue
Price: from £9,325
Euro NCAP rating: 5 star
Insurance groups: 1+

The up! is the smallest of the growing Volkswagen family, with the supermini being commended by What Car? For its everyday costs, reliability and safety whilst also being described as an enjoyable drive. Available in three and five door “the up! is as classy as city cars get”.

New Peugeot 108 Peugeot 108 in purple

Price: from £9,690
Euro NCAP rating:  four stars
Insurance groups: 6+

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 Vauxhall Viva

Vauxhall Viva in red

Price: from £10,480
Euro NCAP rating: 4 star
Insurance groups: 3+

What Car? say that the Viva was originally “marketed as a practical and affordable small car” making it the ideal choice for a new driver, with “the message being that this is a car with the same ethos of the original but revamped for the modern day”.


Best cars for new drivers: From £11k to £14k

New smart ForTwo coupe

Smart ForTwo electric car

Price: from £11,415
Euro NCAP rating: four stars
Insurance groups: 3+

This eye-catching car – the bigger brother of the smart fortwo – is ideal for anyone who’s just passed their test, “with the tightest turning circle of any car on sale, you can spin it through impossible gaps, and still park it nose-on to the kerb” according to the Top Gear review.

New Kia Rio Kia Rio in red

Price: from £12,220
Euro NCAP rating: three stars
Insurance groups: 1+

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 Mazda2

Mazda2 in white

Price: from £13,595
Euro NCAP rating: four stars
Insurance groups: 9+

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.


Best cars for new drivers: From £14k to £15k

New Volkswagen Polo

New Volkswagen Polo in red

Price: from £14,235
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 3+

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 driveability. It was even named Supermini of the Year in the 2016 Auto Express Awards.

New Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa in red

Price: from £14,820
Euro NCAP rating: four stars
Insurance group: 3+

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). Choose 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 Peugeot 208

New Peugeot 208 in silver

Price: from £14,900
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 5+

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: £15k plus

New SEAT Ibiza

SEAT Ibiza in blue

Price: from £15,125
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 5+

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.

New Audi A1

New Audi A1

Price: from £15,605
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 9+

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. What Car? points out its “smooth ride and tidy handling” and its “rock-solid resale values”.


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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