Getting behind the wheel for the first time is an exciting milestone. No doubt about it, a driver’s license comes with a newfound sense of freedom and independence. Of course, buying a car is the final hurdle. So, what are the most popular first car choices for new drivers?

Read on as we take a look at the best-selling models winning over new drivers. From the zippy Volkswagen up! to the tough-as-nails Suzuki Ignis, we have options for every new driver.

Volkswagen up!

It’s hard not to love the high-spirited Volkswagen up! Compact and fuel efficient, this model boasts a low price point and fantastic safety features. Not to mention a playful name! Perfect for city driving, the Volkswagen up! is easy to manoeuvre and park in tight spots. This is a huge plus for new drivers and makes the Volkswagen up! a solid addition to our roundup of the most popular first car models.

Most models fall into insurance group 10 or lower, which means you won’t have to fork out a fortune when it comes to paperwork. This is largely thanks to the standard 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. It’s not a supercar but it will get you from A to B in style. You’ll also enjoy savings at the forecourt, with the Volkswagen up! offering around 50 mpg.

Looking for the most popular first cars with zero-emissions? Consider upgrading to the all-electric VW e-up! You’ll get almost 160 miles of range, plus a clean conscience when it comes to emissions and air pollution.

Honda Jazz

You’ll see everyone from brand new drivers to weekend football mums driving the dependable Honda Jazz. We love the sleek silhouette, sporty aesthetic and compact size. It’s not only cheap but also amazingly reliable. If you’re thinking of buying second-hand, it’s one of the most popular first cars for people on a budget. Buy new and you can get behind the wheel of the all-new hybrid model powered by a combustion engine and electric motor.

Hyundai i10

Safety is front and centre in the latest Hyundai i10 model. This makes it a top pick for parents looking for peace of mind. Beyond a full suite of safety features, extras like a rear-view camera, cutting-edge connectivity and intelligent climate control make the Hyundai i10 one of the most popular first car options. The basic model is great for new drivers, or you can upgrade to a higher trim level.

Depending on what trim level you choose, expect the i10 to fall into insurance groups 3 to 10. SE is the cheapest while the top-of-the-range N Line will set you back a little more. The i20 is a great upgrade if you’re looking for something a little sleeker.

Volkswagen Polo

The much-loved ‘supermini’ has undergone a glow up in the Volkswagen Polo. It’s a little more spacious than the VW up! which makes it great for road trips. Whether you’re heading to Wales for a camping weekend of hitting up festivals like Glastonbury and Latitude, the Polo will get you there without a fuss. 

There are plenty of upgrades available but to be honest, the standard Life trim has everything a new driver needs. This includes electronic stability control, automatic headlights and more. No wonder it’s one of the most popular first car models in the UK.

Suzuki Ignis

Most new drivers don’t have the cash to drop on a luxury Land Rover. Cue the Suzuki Ignis, a micro SUV with all the grunt of a big offroad vehicle. It’s small enough to use as a city car but four-wheel drive functionality makes it more than capable of ploughing down mud-splattered trails. When it comes to versatility, the Ignis has earned its place in our most popular first car roundup.

Even better, it doesn’t cost a fortune to run. Under the hood is a small 1.2-litre engine that offers plenty of power and around 50mpg. Insurance is a little higher than usual, with the Suzuki Ignis falling into group 15 or higher despite its compact dimensions and small engine. Models start at around £16,000, though if you browse the second-hand market there are some great deals to be found.

Tips for buying your first car

New drivers are generally young, often studying or just starting out in the world of work, so it makes sense to keep costs as low as possible. Below, we cover some tips on how to stretch your pound further when shopping for your first car.

Reliable

The last thing you want as a new driver it to be continually hit with repairs and maintenance bills. The most popular first cars are reliable and shouldn’t drain your bank account. Don’t be fooled. Reliability doesn’t necessarily mean buying new! Second-hand cars with a good servicing history can still be unswerving. According to the lads at Top Gear, the Honda Jazz is one of the most reliable used cars on British roads.

Economical

Fuel efficiency is a big concern for all motorists, not just new drivers. Of course, most new drivers aren’t as financially secure as their more experienced counterparts. This means it’s worth considering fuel efficiency when shopping for your first car.

Cheap to insure

In the UK, cars are categorised into one of 50 insurance groups. A national panel decides what group your car falls into based on a series of factors. These include performance, safety, security and the cost of repairs. Choosing cars in lower groups is a clever way to save on insurance. For example, cars like the Hyundai i10 and Fiat Panda fall into group 1 while luxury cars like the Audi E‑Tron fall into group 50.

Consider car finance

Want to get behind the wheel of your first car faster? Instead of settling for a subpar model, use car finance to stretch your pound further and secure the keys to one of the most popular first cars. Visit the My Car Credit website to get a car loan quote online and hit the road.

Rates from 9.9% APR. Representative APR 12.4%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
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Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
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Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
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  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
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£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 12.4%, annual interest rate (fixed) 12.36%, 47 monthly payments of £196.44 followed by 1 payment of £206.44 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,939.12, total amount payable is £9,439.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

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