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Have you just passed your driving test or is your test coming up? We’ve rounded up some of the best cars for first-time drivers.
Bristol Street Motors

Top Picks: Best First Cars for New Drivers in 2024

Top Picks: Best First Cars for New Drivers in 2024

Passing your driving test and getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time by yourself is one of life’s big milestones. The freedom it brings to go wherever you want, whenever you want.

If you are a first-time driver, chances are you want a car that’s affordable to run. That’s where we can help.

We’re looking at 10 of the best first cars for new drivers in 2024.


What to look for in a first car

There are a few keys to look for in your first car including the insurance group and road tax. Both can directly influence the affordability of your first car.


Car insurance groups

All cars fall into one of 50 UK insurance groups which helps the insurer to determine how much premium you will pay. Insurance groups are decided by how much risk the vehicle carries of being involved in an accident or stolen. The lower the risk, the less insurance you will pay.

As a new driver, you can be subject to higher insurance costs as you have less experience driving.

However, by choosing a car with a low insurance group, you can reduce your insurance costs.


Road tax

Road tax is based on a car’s age, engine size, fuel type, and CO2 emissions. Generally speaking the lower the emissions, the less road tax you will pay. Currently, electric vehicles are exempt from road tax, however this is set to change from 2025.



1. MINI Hatchback

A MINI Hatchback is a great car for new drivers. With a compact design, manoeuvring and parking is made easy. They are also renowned for their go-kart-inspired handling, making it fun to drive.

Choose from manual and automatic transmissions, as well as four trim levels – One, Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works.

While it might be small on the outside, there’s plenty of space on the inside with up to 211 litres of boot space in the latest model. You can also benefit from a range of driver and safety equipment to make every journey run smoothly.

Used MINI hatchback deals



2. Dacia Sandero

The Dacia Sandero is the car that slots perfectly into your daily life.

As one of the most affordable new cars in the UK, it offers great value for money with all the essentials you need for a stress-free journey.

Inside the class-leading interior, you’ll find an 8” touchscreen with built-in navigation. Plus plenty of storage compartments. The space can be adapted to your needs with a large boot capacity of up to 328 litres and a rear folding bench seat.

Safety is a top priority throughout with a range of features including Automatic Emergency braking, and Hill Start Assist. To make parking effortless, there’s also rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.

Used Dacia Sandero deals



3. Ford Fiesta

Ask anybody what their first car was, and the Ford Fiesta will more than likely be mentioned. It was the UK’s best-selling car for 12 years in a row, and it’s not hard to see why.

The latest generation supermini is stylish, efficient, and packed with smart technology. If you are in the market for something sporty, the Fiesta will be right up your street.

You can choose from two engine options – petrol or mild hybrid. The hybrid engine offers improved fuel economy with no need to plug in and charge.

Inside the Ford Fiesta, smart technology makes every journey effortless. Enjoy smartphone integration with the FordPass app, which provides real-time traffic updates. As well as vehicle location services.

Ford announced in 2022 that the Ford Fiesta would be discontinued in the summer of 2023. However, used Ford Fiestas are still available.

Used Ford Fiesta deals



4. Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 is a small city car that is perfect for first-time drivers. It’s small enough to fit into tight spaces, but big enough to house all your daily essentials.

Whether you’re giving friends a lift or need extra space for your next road trip, the roomy interior is extremely versatile. When the rear seats are in place, the boot has a capacity of up to 252 litres. Pop down the seats, and this increases to 1,050 litres of space.

There are also plenty of connectivity features so you can stay connected on the road. The 8” touchscreen offers smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. While the fully-digital LCD cluster displays all important driving information.

Used Hyundai i10 deals



5. MG3

Looking for a great value hatchback? The MG3 could be just the car for you. With plenty of features to make every journey enjoyable, it also comes with a seven-year manufacturer warranty.

Two trim levels are available – Excite and Exclusive Nav, both with a 1.5 litre petrol engine and five-speed manual transmission.

Inside the spacious interior, there’s an 8” colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay to help you stay connected on the road. If you need an extra helping hand when it comes to parking, the Exclusive Nav trim has a rear parking camera.

There’s plenty of room in the boot, with a capacity of up to 285 litres, or 1,262 litres when the rear seats are folded down.

Used MG3 deals



6. Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF is a great electric car for first-time drivers. It’s compact, efficient, and filled with the latest technology. Enjoy a fully electric range of up to 168 miles (WLTP) and quick charging.

Using a home wall box, you can charge the LEAF in around 7.5 hours. If you quickly need power on the move, you can charge the battery from 20-80% in 60 minutes using a fast-charging point.

While electric cars may seem more expensive at first, they are cheaper. This is due to lower running costs, and cheaper servicing and maintenance than petrol or diesel cars. They are also exempt from any charges in Low Emission and Clean Air Zones (CAZ).

Used Nissan LEAF deals



7. Peugeot 208

If you are looking for a sporty supermini, look no further than the Peugeot 208. Its stylish exterior will be the envy of all your friends.

You have the option of three powertrains – petrol, hybrid, or 100% electric, depending on your budget. With three trim levels also, you can tailor the spec according to your needs.

The entry-level 208 Active comes with LED headlights, and a PEUGEOT i-Cockpit with 10” touchscreen. There’s also smartphone mirroring via the Wireless Mirror Screen.

Depending on the trim level, other features include a 360-degree HD vision camera, as well as Lane Positioning Assistance.

Used Peugeot 208 deals



8. SEAT Ibiza

The SEAT Ibiza is an affordable hatchback as a first car with plenty of features to help you live your best life.

With six trim levels available from the entry-level SE to the top-of-the-range XCELLENCE Lux, you can customise Ibiza to your needs. Whichever one you go for, there’s a 1.0 litre petrol engine as standard with a five-speed manual transmission. Fuel consumption is also decent at 53.9mpg.

Standard features include an 8.25” colour touchscreen, and Full Link smartphone integration. Plus, cruise control helps you maintain a consistent speed on longer journeys.

Used SEAT Ibiza deals



9. Skoda Fabia

Drive in comfort with the Skoda Fabia. Skoda Fabia is one of best city cars for new drivers. The compact car is packed with everything you need to feel more relaxed when you get behind the wheel.

Three trim levels are available – SE Comfort, SE L, and Monte Carlo. The SE Comfort is our top pick for new drivers, offering plenty of standard equipment for your money.

The stylish exterior features LED headlights, daytime running lights, and 15” alloy wheels

Inside, there is a range of infotainment and connectivity features. These include an 8.25” display with Wireless Smart Link for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

As standard, you also get rear parking sensors to make manoeuvring into any space simple.

Used Skoda Fabia deals



10. Vauxhall Corsa

Another one of the nation’s most beloved cars is the Vauxhall Corsa. Not only are they stylish but also affordable to run.

With a redesigned look, it now incorporates Vauxhall’s signature visor and new LED lighting, making it better than ever before. There are also plenty of powertrains on offer with the option of petrol, hybrid, or electric.

Step inside and you’ve got everything you need for a safe and convenient drive. Connect your smartphone with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto which will be displayed on the 10” infotainment screen.

If you are still feeling a bit cautious behind the wheel, there’s a range of features to help. These include Speed Sign Recognition and a Driver Drowsiness System.

Used Vauxhall Corsa deals


Cars for first time drivers at Bristol Street Motors

Let our friendly team help you find your first car. With a wide range of new car and used cars from top manufacturers, you won’t be short on choice.

Buying your first car is a big deal and that’s why we offer a range of car finance options to make it seem less daunting. These include Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Personal Contract Hire (PCH), and Hire Purchase (HP). If you aren’t sure which one is right for you, our team can help explain the differences.

To start the search for your first car with Bristol Street Motors, find your local dealership and book an appointment.


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