New drivers: what to look for in your first car and some of the best on the market

Buying your first car is a daunting process for many first time drivers. Picking the right car for you is very important especially for new drivers to ensure they feel comfortable on the roads. In this article, we talk about what first-time drivers should look for in a car and some of the best models on the market right now.

Age and condition

The older the car, the less reliable it tends to be, mainly due to them having been used more, causing more wear and tear. It may be cheaper to buy an older car, but you need to decide whether it is worth it. As a first time driver it is better to have a car that is fully functioning and doesn’t have any underlining issues so that you can drive with an easy mind, so check the service history to see whether everything is in order.


Probably the most important aspect for new drivers is safety, as first-time drivers are usually already nervous to drive, so having a car that you know is safe can help keep their minds at rest. Many different statistics show that new drivers are the most likely to have accidents, even more so if they are young. This makes it very important to pick a car that is safe to drive and has more safety features. It is a good idea to check the vehicles Euro NCAP score and research how it does in crash tests.


When buying a first car, especially for younger drivers, a big factor is being able to buy a car that isn’t too expensive. As mentioned before, often it is seen that accidents occur more often with new drivers due to lack of experience, so buying an expensive car might be a mistake if you are likely to get a few bumps and scratches. Don’t just look at the initial cost of the vehicle; you also need to consider other things, such as insurance. Larger engines usually mean higher insurance costs, so perhaps as a first-time driver you should look at getting a car with lower engine power to help cut the costs down a bit.

Test Drive

To know that the car you are looking at is a right fit for you, it is a good idea to take it for a test drive, to experience it’s handling and see if you feel comfortable driving it. If not tell the salesperson what you don’t like and they will be able to tell you what car might be better for you instead.

Some great first time cars

Citroen C1

Although the Citroen C1 is a small car, it bursts with character thanks to its styling and colourful interior. It is a very lightweight vehicle making it an easy car to handle, and due to its size, it will never be a problem for those of us who are still working out parking. It is an excellent car for safety and was awarded four stars out of 5 by Euro NCAP, with an 80% occupancy rating for adults and child protection. Insurance costs are very low for the C1, which is great for first-time drivers, who will automatically have higher insurance due to their experience. The car has some excellent technology for new drivers, including a reversing camera and hill-start assist which can help with some of the problematic manoeuvres you will perform. 

  • Cost - £139 per month
  • Engine - 1.2 Litre
  • Safety - 4 stars

Kia Picanto

The Picanto is a grown-up stylish looking car that also is very safe and sensible. The vehicle has a mixture of practicality, reliability and a great build to make it one of the best first cars available on the market today. With a low finance offer and impressive fuel consumption, it is excellent value for money. If you buy a new Picanto, Kia now has a new car warranty of 7 years, which can help you have peace of mind that if something does go wrong that wasn’t your fault, it will be sorted quickly and easily. The Picanto also has a lot of technology that can help first-time drivers, including hill-start assist, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, to help make your drives easier.

Cost - £149 per month

Engine - 1.25 Litres

Safety - 3 Stars

Hyundai i10

The i10 is a reliable and surprisingly spacious car. The performance of the vehicle is excellent. However, the engine isn’t too overpowering making the driver feel out of depth, especially on the motorway. The car has a wide track which helps it feel stable whereas some vehicles are more wobbly, making the driver feel out of control. The i10 has some excellent safety and easy driving features, such as Lane departure warning system, cruise control, hill-start assist and much more to help keep first-time drivers safe. The car also comes with air conditioning, MP3 Connectivity and Bluetooth. In some models, there is an inbuilt sat nav, which is particularly handy for new drivers, who don’t know their way around the roads yet. Hyundai offers a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty and five years 24-hour roadside assistance so that you can drive with complete peace of mind.

  • Cost - £132 per month
  • Engine - 1.0 Litre
  • Safety - 4 Stars

DS 3

The DS 3 is a more stylish choice for first-time drivers, as they look very modern and have an attractive character. It is a small car that delivers a comfortable ride. The car has a 3 star Euro NCAP rating and comes with six airbags and a reinforced body structure, with an impressive braking system which is designed to help prevent crashes, to keep the driver and their passengers safe, putting a new drivers mind at rest.

  • Cost - £189
  • Engine - 1.2 - 1.6
  • Safety - 3 Stars

height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">