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The best new cars for first-time drivers

Choosing a first car can be a tough decision for new drivers. Not only is there insurance to think about, there’s also the all-important daily running costs, too – all on top of the purchase price.

While some new drivers ‘get what they’re given’, others are luckier and have the choice of the new car market. There are plenty of decisions to make – it’s important not to compromise on style after all a first car is perhaps the most memorable car for most drivers. Connectivity is also particularly important, with features such as Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay typically being high on the priority list for those in the market for a first car today.

Parents will likely be more concerned about safety, and of course, anything that can keep insurance costs down will likely go down a storm.

With all that in mind, here are the top 10 new cars which we recommend as first cars, and what they are available from each month on finance.

Volkswagen Up!


The Up! has been a big hit with new drivers, thanks to its quirky looks, well-built interior, cheap insurance groups and infotainment. Prices start from £9,325 new, and it’s available from as little as £109 per month on a four-year contract with a £2,800 deposit. You also get an AUX port, DAB radio, as well as a Volkswagen, Connect app as standard, too. The mid-spec Move Up! is the one to go for, though, as it gets a five-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth.

Vauxhall Viva


The Viva is Vauxhall’s smallest car – slotting in underneath the popular Corsa in its range. It’s great around town and is fitted with an insurance-friendly three-cylinder petrol engine. Unfortunately, only top-spec models which come with a touchscreen, but it’s still a great first car. It’s priced from £10,175, and available on finance from £132 a month with a £2,000 deposit for a four-year deal.

Suzuki Celerio


The Suzuki Celerio might not be the first choice car for new drivers, but the value for money it represents is fantastic. Prices start from as little as £7,499 with Suzuki currently offering a £500 discount against the model. Over four years, you can get a Celerio from just £89 a month, with a £1,700 deposit.

Hyundai i10


The Hyundai i10 is one of the better driving city cars around, with two good small engines available, too. Prices also start from £8,995 with Hyundai’s current discounts. It’s also reasonably well-equipped, with top-spec models being particularly well kitted out for the price. It can be had from £122 per month on a three-year deal along with a £2,100 deposit.

Fiat 500


The 500 is the best first car on this list for style-conscious first drivers and is easily customisable for those who want their first car to be truly unique. While it’s a bit more expensive than the others on this list – costing from £11,615 – it’s great value when bought on finance. A £1,300 deposit and £139 per month will secure a 500 over four years.

Dacia Sandero


The Dacia Sandero is the cheapest new car on sale in the UK – a title it can wear proudly amidst a new car market that seems to be becoming ever-more pricey. While it’s not particularly stylish, for those that want something brand new and dependable, it’s hard to go wrong with the Sandero.

Priced from £6,995 new, you can get one from just £89 per month with a £1,350 deposit over three years. The question is, would you rather have a brand-new car or a brand-new iPhone for the same monthly payments? Think about it…

Kia Picanto


The latest Picanto may not be the first car that springs to a 17-year-old’s mind, but it’s actually a very good offering. The Picanto comes with a great 1.25-litre engine that’s cheap to insure.

Prices start from £9,500, or just £109 a month on a three-year deal with a £2,100 customer deposit. If you have an old banger lying around, you could also get £2,000 off a new Picanto by trading it in as part of a scrappage deal.

Toyota Aygo


The Toyota Aygo is another first car which offers plenty of style and with its distinctive front grille and black carbon front ‘X’, it certainly stands out. Prices start from £8,995, while it should also cost pennies to run thanks to its frugal 1.0-litre petrol engine. You can also get it with a canvas ragtop, too, for extra style. It’s worth noting it’s based on the same platform as the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1, too.

Over a three-and-a-half-year deal, an Aygo is available from £129 each month with a £2,000 deposit. Toyota is also running a scrappage scheme at the moment, too.

Ford Fiesta


The Fiesta is a bit bigger than the other cars here, although provides additional space and further engine choice than the rest of the cars listed here. It’s also the best car to drive on this list by some distance, too. This does mean that it’s noticeably more expensive – and is priced from £13,670 – although you get plenty more kit for your money, including Bluetooth, USB, automatic lights and lane-keep assist.

On finance, a three-year deal will cost £215 a month over three years, with a £2,500 deposit upfront.

Vauxhall Corsa


The Corsa is perhaps the obvious choice as a first car, given just how many people have had one. While not as fun to drive as a Fiesta – it’s a few thousand pounds cheaper at £11,050. The entry-level Sting model also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, bonnet, roof and boot stripes, a leather steering wheel, Bluetooth, USB and cruise control, which is an impressive standard kit list. A £2,400 deposit and £144 per month will finance it over four years – meaning it’s not all that much more expensive than some city cars.

Can’t afford a new car as your first car, or think it’s waste of money? We’ll be picking our top 10 used first car buys in the coming weeks.

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