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Best first cars: Cheap new cars to insure

Whether you’re after a stylish city car or something a little more spacious, the cost of insurance shouldn’t stop you from getting what you want.

Words by: First published: 7th September 2016
For any new driver looking to buy their first car, the cost of insurance is a major issue. In fact, the price of the monthly premium could be even more important than the price of the car. However, the good news is, even if you confine yourself to cars in the two lowest insurance groups, there’s no shortage of decent options.

Whether you’re after a stylish city car or something a little more spacious, the cost of insurance shouldn’t stop you from getting what you want. And, there’s no better proof of that than our experts’ recommendations.
  • Dacia Sandero
  • Hyundai i10
  • Kia Picanto
  • Kia Rio
  • Renault Twingo
  • Seat Mii/Skoda Citigo/Volkswagen Up!
  • Skoda Fabia
  • Smart ForFour
  • Vauxhall Adam
  • Vauxhall Corsa
Dacia Sandero
You simply can’t get more new car for your money than the Sandero. If space and practicality are as important as low insurance costs, this product of the Renault empire is your dream car. It comes pretty well equipped (as long as you avoid the most basic model), and is surprisingly enjoyable to drive. It's easy around town, but still up to longer schleps along the motorway.
Hyundai i10
Pretty much every 1.0-litre version of the i10 sits in the lowest insurance group. There’s no need to worry that such a small engine is too feeble in a car this size, though: it’s the sweetest engine in the range. It’s more than up to getting the i10 around town, and not out of its depth on the motorway. Beyond that, the i10 is also surprisingly spacious, and the hard-wearing feel is backed up by a five-year warranty.
Kia Picanto
The name of Kia may not spring immediately to mind when you’re looking for a smart runaround, but the Picanto is a fine car, with plenty more to attract you beyond the looks. There’s the solid build quality, the good list of standard safety equipment, and above all, the superb seven-year warranty.
Kia Rio
Only a few of the Rio models are in the lowest insurance groups, but they feature all the aspects that make the Rio an attractive buy. It looks good inside and out, and there’s enough space inside to take three of your mates with you. If you’ll be doing that regularly, make sure you go for the more practical five-door model. And, if you really want to keep your running costs down, choose the super-economical 1.1-litre diesel engine.
Renault Twingo
The Twingo is a great-looking little thing, but the real beauty of it is the scope for personalisation. From the wheels to the paint colour, decals and mirror caps, you can have it in whatever colour you want. It’s a great car around town, too. It's nice to drive and really easy to manoeuvre, thanks to a tiny turning circle that comes courtesy of its unusual rear-engine layout.
Seat Mii/Skoda Citigo/Volkswagen Up!
Underneath, the Mii, Citigo and Up! are the same car, and they all come highly recommended. Each of the three ranges includes several models in the lowest insurance group, and all combine city-friendly small size with a remarkably mature feel out of town. There’s also the added bonus of a maximum five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.
Skoda Fabia
In terms of space, practicality and comfort, the Fabia is up with the very best in its class. It also has a full five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, and Skoda’s cars consistently perform very well in reliability surveys, so it comes with plenty of peace of mind. The only drawback is that the engine you’re obliged to choose if you want the cheapest insurance is rather unrefined and weak.
Smart ForFour
Perhaps surprisingly, if you want a cheap-to-insure Smart, you have to stick with the larger ForFour. That’s no bad thing, though, as the ForFour shares much of the smaller ForTwo’s distinctive looks, as well as giving you useful extra practicality and just as much scope for personalisation. It’s fun to drive, and the 1.0-litre engine is very economical.
Vauxhall Adam
The Adam is Vauxhall’s rival to cars like the Mini and Fiat 500, but whereas their design harks back to classic cars, the Adam is unashamedly modern. If you can get beyond some of the more cringe-worthy option names – James Blonde, anyone? – you’ll find a car that’s easy (and cheap) to personalise to your heart’s content.
Vauxhall Corsa
The Corsa may be a little less flash than the Adam, but it’s exceptionally good value for money, and a pretty decent-looking thing in its own right, especially the Sting model, with its sports stripes. Admittedly, there aren’t many Corsas in the lowest insurance groups, but like every model in the range, they’re easy to manoeuvre and well-equipped.

Interested in buying a Dacia Sandero?