Buying a first car for a teenager is a tough ask. You want style, substance and comfort but are unlikely to have the budget for all three. Plus, you’ll likely have to spend as much on insurance as you will on the car, so that has to be taken into account too. Young inexperienced drivers also need a safe car that isn’t too powerful or difficult to handle. Good visibility and maneuverability will help them avoid scrapes and bumps.
This is a challenge we see every day and take great delight in tackling. We asked our sales team for a selection of the best first cars for teenagers, the following is what they came up with.
Ford Fiestas are everywhere. They are cheap to own and run, get good petrol mileage, come with some excellent little engines. The bonus is that the fun styling means they look pretty good too. Stay away from the sportier ST model or larger engines and a Fiesta is cheap to insure too! The Fiesta is common, parts are cheap, everyone knows how to service and repair them and there are plenty on the market. The Fiesta makes a very good first car for a teenager and indeed any age.
The new design Peugeot 208 has a better look than the Fiesta, with a little rarity thrown in for good measure. That makes it an excellent option for new drivers who want something a bit different. It has a higher insurance group than the Fiesta but is still affordable to insure. Small engines, a fun drive, low running costs and a far superior interior make it an even better opinion than the Fiesta. And those looks…!
If the Peugeot 208 is a little large, the Peugeot 108 should deliver what you’re looking for. It’s equally funky, with a rounder design than its sibling. The Peugeot 108 is a great city car with responsive engines, light interior, good visibility and comfortable seats. Don’t go for the base model though. Step up and you’ll get a reversing sensor, ideal for learning to park! With a lower insurance group, easier to drive around town and a 4-star NCAP rating, it’s an ideal first car.
The Citroën C3 is a cheap car to buy, insure and run and still manages to be cool. It’s an excellent option for those who don’t mind standing out from the crowd. The Citroën C3 is a small hatch with a great look. If your teenager will be trvelling to and from University or needs to transport bank equipment then the hatch will come in very handy for transporting stuff.
A rounded front end, lots of detailing throughout and a comfortable interior combine to deliver the perfect first car. Small engines mean the C3 is cheap to insure and good on petrol. It will get you to college or university quite happily while transporting friends at the weekend without breaking a sweat.
If you want to be completely different, check out the MG 3. This is a cheap small car that feels like neither of those things. It has a stylish design with modern appeal, a spacious light interior, decent build quality and comes packed with Apple CarPlay and other features. The small 1.5-litre engine is frugal and reliable, making it an excellent option. While not quite as cheap to insure as some others, it comes with a 5 year warranty.
The Dacia Sandero is perfect for new drivers who value substance over style. That’s not to say this car looks ugly, because it doesn’t, but it doesn’t have the chic design of the 208. Build quality is excellent, interiors are spacious and well equipped and you get more for your money than with most other brands.
The Sandero is based on a Renault Clio and uses a Renault engine, which is reliable and good on fuel, which adds to this car’s appeal.
The Toyota Aygo is a common sight in college car parks and for good reason. It’s a smart design that dares to be different. The car also comes with the bulletproof Toyota reliability. This is a city car with modest interior space but enough room for four and plenty of space in the boot. The cabin is light and can include lots of features depending on the trim. Engines are responsive and provide superb reliability and low insurance. It’s hard to argue against this car if you like the looks!
The Fiat 500 is another incredibly popular first car for teenagers. While it’s a higher insurance group than the Peugeot or Renault, it’s incredibly characterful to own. The design looks great and is effortlessly chic. Interior space is better than you might think, with enough space for four, a touchscreen and funky speedometer behind the steering wheel. It will cost more to insure than some, but running costs are very low thanks to a tiny two-cylinder engine. It won’t leave you wanting for power though.
The Volkswagen Polo is the premium option. You’ll pay more to buy a Polo but will likely pay less to own and run it, thanks to its inherent reliability. The design is sensible but is as close to a Golf as a teenager is likely to get without spending thousands on insurance. It has the same look and feel and build quality, so you won’t feel like you’re being short changed. The Volkswagen Polo has a 1.0-litre engine, which keeps insurance low but you’ll pay more to buy it.
The Hyundai i10 is a firm favourite of students and teenagers across the country. The design is funky, the interior space is comfortable and there’s a big boot. The Hyundai i10 is another city car that’s very easy to live with. Build quality is good, interior space is light and well put together and it’s a nice place to be. The small 1.0-litre engine is the same size as the Polo but much more fun. That’s why it’s such a popular first car!