Q: What are the most suitable cars for a 17-year-old who has just passed his driving test and wants something with a low insurance group and street credibility? Robert Day
It all depends on your budget, but you're likely to be restricted to city cars and superminis with small engines. As soon as engine size grows and power output rises, so do insurance groups, whether you're looking at new or used cars.
That doesn't mean you can't get something with a bit of street cred, even if it isn't quick.
If you’re buying new, the Citroen C2 is a pretty funky car and the 1.1-litre versions are all in the cheapest group one insurance category. Many young owners modify these cars with aftermarket parts like spoilers, just like they did with the C2's predecessor, the Saxo. Be aware that some modifications could well add to the cost of insurance, however.
So too is the 1.1-litre Fiat Panda, which is more practical than the other cars listed here.
Many 1.0-litre Vauxhall Corsas also slot into the cheapest insurance band and are popular with young drivers, but the car is getting long in the tooth and will be replaced next year.
If you’re considering buying a used car, you’ll get more for your money. How about the Ford Ka – it’s cracking to drive, cheap to run and is now available from as little as £1500.
Lots of new cars are being offered with a year's free insurance which gives young drivers a chance to start building up some no-claims bonuses. Be sure that you'll be able to afford the insurance from year two when the offer runs out, however.
Take a look at the other question this week about how you can reduce insurance costs by considering further driver training and tests or pay-as-you-drive cover.
The Family Car Supplement to be published with the November issue of What Car? will include a run-down of our top 10 first cars for young drivers, both new and used. It’s on sale on September 29.