The 11 Best Cars for New Drivers to Buy in 2020

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 2020.

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 £12k
£12k – £14k
£14k – £16k

Best cars for new drivers: Under £12k

Volkswagen up!

Volkswagen up! in blue

Price: from £9,325
Euro NCAP rating: 5 stars
Insurance groups: 1+

The up! is the smallest of the growing Volkswagen family, with the supermini being commended by WhatCar? 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”.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Price: from £9,999
Euro NCAP rating: 4 stars
Insurance groups: 15+

The Mirage is Mitsubishi’s smallest car, but despite its small proportions, it’s big on features and versatility. There’s space for five, so plenty of room for mates and their stuff, plus its excellent fuel economy means longer gaps between trips to the petrol station. And what does that mean? That’s right, less money spent!

Kia Picanto

Price: from £10,045
Euro NCAP rating: 3 stars
Insurance groups: 2+

WhatCar? 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.

Best cars for new drivers: From £12k to £14k

Peugeot 108 

Price: from £12,265
Euro NCAP rating:  4 stars
Insurance groups: 6+

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.

Kia Rio

Price: from £12,645
Euro NCAP rating: three stars
Insurance groups: 1+

Dubbed a “grown-up supermini” by AutoCar, 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.

Best cars for new drivers: From £14k to £16k

Volkswagen Polo

New Volkswagen Polo in red

Price: from £15,390
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 3+

This small hatchback may have been around a while, but this sixth generation model 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.

Vauxhall Corsa

Price: from £15,550
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). This all-new Corsa promises to redefine what you can expect from a small Vauxhall, with impressive levels of kit even on the entry-level SE trim.

For the first time, the Corsa will be available with a fully electric powertrain too, though prices for the Corsa-e start at a less wallet-friendly £30k.


Mazda2 in white

Price: from £15,795
Euro NCAP rating: four stars
Insurance groups: 9+

Highlighted as offering “punchy performance and decent economy” by AutoExpress, 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.

SEAT Ibiza

SEAT Ibiza in blue

Price: from £15,645
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.

Best cars for new drivers: £16k+

Peugeot 208

Price: from £16,250
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 5+

Just like Vauxhall with their new Corsa, Peugeot have also totally renewed their popular 208 hatchback, with a sharp new look and an interior ready for the new decade.

Inside, there’s Peugeot’s cutting edge 3D i-Cockpit, giving the driver a configurable heads-up display along with a 10″ touchscreen infotainment system.

Audi A1

Price: from £18,435
Euro NCAP rating: five stars
Insurance groups: 9+

It might be the most expensive cars in our rundown, but the all-new 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. WhatCar? 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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