Everybody knows that you need to shop around to get cheap car insurance, but buying the right car in the first place is really key in getting something affordable. For young drivers especially, keeping insurance costs sensible can make or break whether you can afford a particular new car at all.
Britain’s insurance system works by awarding cars scores from 1 to 50, according to their insurance risk. Cars rated at 1 are the cheapest to insure, rising all the way to 50.You can find a full explanation of insurance group scheme here.
Here, we round up the cheapest cars to insure, looking at the cars in insurances groups 1, 2 and 3, complete with the What Car? star ratings. After all, just because a car is cheap to insure, it doesn't mean you should buy it.
Insurance group 1
Hyundai i10 (1.0 models)
Not just What Car?'s pick of insurance group 1 cars on sale in the UK, but an all-round desirable car in its own right. It's practical, well equipped and nice to drive and be in.
Also in insurance group 1
Seat Mii (60PS models)
The VW Group owns (among others) VW, Seat and Skoda. And all three sell effectively the same car with modest styling changes and mildly different equipment levels.
Skoda Citigo (60PS models)
This entry-level engined model is a superbly talented city car, combining decent driving dynamics with a pleasing interior and low running costs.
VW Up (most 60PS models)
The (slightly) higher priced of the trio, but it retains its value that bit better and arguably brings with it a more sought-after brand image for the style conscious.
Insurance group 2
VW Up (most 75PS models)
The more powerful 1.0 engine raises the insurance costs, but results in a car that can be considered far more of an all-rounder, at home in towns and capable on more open roads
Also in insurance group 2
Dacia Sandero 1.2 75
Available in basic form as Britain's cheapest new car to buy at £5995. It's average to decent in pretty much every way, and never worse than acceptable. A big car for little money.
Seat Mii (75PS models)
If purchase price is a key consideration our advice is to keep a keen eye on the see-sawing prices between Seat and Skoda, because at different times of the month one is cheaper than the other.
Skoda Citigo (75PS models)
This sister car to the VW Up is cheaper, but with poorer residuals the real cost of ownership between the two starts to narrow. Hence the (slightly) more expensive car is our pick.
Vauxhall Corsa (outgoing 1.0 models)
The teenager’s perennial favourite because of its blend of style and affordability, but there’s no denying this engine is now old and unrefined. Still, the interior’s comfortable.
Toyota Aygo (selected outgoing models)
Easy to like and affordable to own, but until the all-new car goes on sale it lags behind many of its rivals is too many of the key areas for us to really recommend it.
Insurance group 3
Ford Fiesta 1.25 60 Studio
There are better (but more expensive to buy and insure) versions of the Fiesta, but this entry-level model still eclipses rivals by being both more fun to drive and more comfortable to be in.
Also in insurance group 3
Citroen C1 (selected versions, outgoing model)
A likeable if flawed car, and about to be replaced. Main appeal during its run out phase is that big discounts should be possible, so long as you are prepared to haggle hard.
Fiat Panda 1.2 Pop
This engine is our pick of the Panda range, offering the best blend of performance, refinement and economy. It’s a base spec trim level, though, and that means a paucity of standard kit.
Vauxhall Adam 1.2
Vauxhall's answer to the Fiat 500 can be customised in pretty much every way you can imagine, but it’s far from the finest car of its type to drive. This engine is short on performance and refinement, too.
Kia Picanto 1.0 1
Choose from this base spec car in three or five-door format, but don’t expect too much: the ride is slightly too firm and, cabin aside, it’s not too much fun to drive around in.
Skoda Fabia 1.2 60 S
Soon to be replaced by an all-new car, so look for big discounts. You get a lot of space for your money, although the interior is drab and teh driving experience uninvolving.
Peugeot 107 (selected versions, outgoing model)
Also soon to be replaced by an all-new model (it is essentially the same car as the Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1), and also not without merits. If you do buy one, be sure to haggle hard.
Smart Fortwo (selected versions)
If you never venture beyond the city limits, the Smart could be worth considering. The low performance version is not only the cheapest to insure, but also our pick of the engine options.
Ford Ka (selected versions)
If you must have a Ka, our recommendation would be the 1.2 Edge version. But think carefully - the Ka does little to impress in any area, and is eclipsed by almost all its rivals.