Best Of

Best first cars

There may be a few things to think about when you’re looking to buy your first car, but there are loads of options out there on cars that cover all the bases. Here are our top picks.

Words by: First published: 25th January 2018
It’s a pretty exciting time when you’re looking to buy your first car.

You’ll probably want something fun, cheap to buy and run, with low insurance groups, good fuel economy, easy to drive and manoeuvre, and a decent amount of safety kit.

If you want to tick all those boxes, you’ll most likely be looking at a small car, as they are the most affordable to buy, and usually have small engines and good fuel economy. All that means they will be in the lowest insurance groups too.

If you’re in the position to be able to buy or finance a new car, these would be a great place to start.
  • Volkswagen Up/Skoda Citigo/Seat Mii – the high class one(s)
  • Kia Picanto – the fun to drive one
  • Dacia Sandero – the bargain one
  • Hyundai i10 – the practical one
  • Renault Twingo – the ‘make it your own’ one
Volkswagen Up/Skoda Citigo/Seat Mii – the high class one(s)
Here are three choices in one, as underneath, the VW Up, Skoda Citigo, and Seat Mii are the same car, and they’re all good. All three have models in the lowest insurance group, they’re all small enough to drive around town, and they all have the maximum five-star rating from safety organisation Euro NCAP. And if that’s not enough, you’ll be happy to know they’re fun to drive in and out of town too, with each model averaging at least 60mpg as a bonus.
Kia Picanto – the fun to drive one
When you’re building a small car, there’s only so much room to make it look good, but the Kia Picanto gives it a fair crack with its funky lines all over the place. And it looks pretty smart inside too. On the road, it’s good to drive whether you’re in town or on the motorway, and if you find a nice bit of road with plenty of corners, you’ll have some fun with it too. With a Kia, you get an impressive 100,000 mile/seven-year warranty, and it’s got a great reliability record. The standard Picanto scored three stars for safety with Euro NCAP, but with the Advanced Driving Assistance Pack you get as standard on the third trim up, it scored four stars.
Dacia Sandero – the bargain one
Ok, so maybe a Dacia Sandero doesn’t sound like the coolest car in the world, but it’s a great option if you want the most car for your money. It’s bigger than most superminis, but costs the same price as a city car. So if space and practicality are as important as low insurance costs, it’s the one for you. The most basic model will be the cheapest, but if you can afford it, go for the next trim up to get yourself a better level of equipment. The Sandero scored four stars in its Euro NCAP safety rating.
Hyundai i10 – the practical one
Don’t worry about the 1.0-litre engine in the Hyundai i10 being too small, it’s the best one in the range. This is also an enjoyable little car to drive, with a smooth and comfy ride. It’s surprisingly spacious and practical, and everything inside feels very hard-wearing. It comes with a five-year warranty too, and scored a four-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Renault Twingo – the ‘make it your own’ one
Not only does the Renault Twingo already look quirky, there is lots of scope to personalise it. But you don’t just want it to look up to scratch, and it’s a great little car to drive and manoeuvre around town too: it has a tiny turning circle thanks to its unusual rear-engine layout. The least powerful non-turbocharged engine is the smoothest of the lot too. The Twingo scored a four-star Euro NCAP safety rating.