Best used cars for learner drivers

Costs for new drivers are spiralling, so read our top 10 list of the best used cars for learners that are less than £10,000 and have group three insurance or lower...

Nobody should discriminate based on age, but it seems the odds are stacked against new drivers, especially the younger ones, from the start.

Best used cars for learner drivers

Aside from the expensive of learning to drive and taking the test, it’s often the high costs of insurance that puts most teenagers off driving.

That’s where we can help (although not with the cost, sorry), because we’ve put together a list of the most affordable used city cars and small cars with low insurance groups. None on this list has an insurance group higher than three, making each perfect for a new driver. That way, you should be able to get a competitive quote for coverage. Plus, no entry on this shortlist will cost more than £10,000 to buy.

So read on to find out what's the best car for new drivers, counting down from the highest insurance group to the lowest. And remember, you can browse our What Car?'s Used Car Buying service to find over 145,000 used cars for sale that are quality checked, come with a warranty, are less than eight years old, and have covered less than 100,000 miles.

10. Ford Ka+

Ford Ka+

The lesser-known Ford Ka+ may not be the belle of the small car ball, but it's one of the more spacious cars in the class in the rear. It’s also quite nice to drive with a more supple ride than most small cars.

Ford Ka+ (cont.)

Ford Ka+ - interior

The pre-facelift model has the slightly more refined four-cylinder engine, rather than the occasionally rough three-cylinder example in later ones. And while that engine is relatively large in capacity, it’s only in group three for insurance and manages 56.5mpg. 

We found: 2017 Ford Ka+ 1.2 Zetec, 14,869 miles, £6490

Read the used Ford Ka+ review here

Search for a used Ford Ka+ for sale with What Car? >>

9. Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa

Of course the Vauxhall Corsa was going to feature in a list of learners cars. Many reading this will either be taking their test, or have just passed it in one, due in no small part to the fact that the Corsa is so easy to drive. All the control weights are easy to get along with, visibility is good and running costs are low. Even though it has the largest engine on the list, it still manages 55.4mpg, and its competitive 74bhp means that it has group three insurance.

Vauxhall Corsa (cont.)

Vauxhall Corsa - interior

The Energy example we found is loaded with kit, including a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, air conditioning, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Plus, it’s inexpensive, making it a very affordable set of wheels for newbies. 

We found: 2017 Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 Energy 5dr, 30,632 miles, £6490

Read the used Vauxhall Corsa review here

Search for a used Vauxhall Corsa for sale with What Car? >>

8. Seat Ibiza

Seat Ibiza

Perhaps a bit cooler than the Corsa, the Seat Ibiza is an award-winning small car with a big boot and plenty of space for mates in the rear, plus it's nice to drive. You can still get a SE Technology example within our insurance group three limit.

Seat Ibiza (cont.)

Seat Ibiza - interior

SE Technology comes with all the equipment you’d expect and an intuitive 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system. Fuel economy can’t quite match some of the others here, at 57.6mpg, but then the Ibiza is one of the largest cars in its class.

We found: 2018 Seat Ibiza 1.0 SE Technology, 17,521 miles, £8790

Read the used Seat Ibiza review here

Search for a used Seat Ibiza for sale with What Car? >>

7. Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10 1.2 SE auto

Like many of the other cars on this list, the Hyundai i10 is a cinch to drive, but it also has slim window pillars at the front for excellent forward visibility and plenty of rear leg room for taller passengers.

Hyundai i10 (cont.)

Hyundai i10 interior

Its 1.0-litre engine may not be a powerhouse, but fuel economy is decent at 60.1mpg and it sits down in insurance group two. 

We found: 2017 Hyundai i10 1.0 S, 20,781 miles, £6270

Read the used Hyundai i10 review here

Search for a used Hyundai i10 for sale with What Car? >>

6. Volkswagen Up

Volkswagen Up

Our 2020 Used City Car of the Year is a great choice for new drivers, because it's nice to drive, has easy-to-judge dimensions and a peppy engine. All that’s true of its Mii and Citigo siblings, but the Up has a classier interior and holds its value better, so it’ll be worth more than the others when you’re done with it.

Volkswagen Up (cont.)

Volkswagen Up (2012-present) - interior

Its official economy figure is one of the best around, at 64.2mpg, while group two insurance of the Take Up model will keep a smile on your face.

We found: 2017 Volkswagen Up 1.0 Take Up 5dr, 32,084 miles, £6498

Read the used Volkswagen review here

Search for a used VW Up for sale with What Car? >>

5. Seat Mii

Seat Mii front

If you want something sporty, the Seat Mii is the one to go for - particularly in FR Line guise, because then it gets some snazzy 16in alloy wheels, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, front foglights and sports suspension.

Seat Mii (cont.)

Seat Mii interior

Just because it looks smart, doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot to run it, since insurance is only group two and it sips fuel at a rate of 64.2mpg.

We found: 2017 Seat Mii 1.0 FR Line 5dr, 16,256 miles, £7495

Read the used Seat Mii review here

Search for a used Seat Mii for sale with What Car? >>

4. Skoda Citigo

Skoda Citigo

The Skoda Citigo is just as practical as its Seat and Volkswagen siblings, but the package as a whole is a touch more restrained and sensible. You can get a better-equipped SE model for less money than the Up that'll be equipped with luxuries such as air-con, alloy wheels and an upgraded infotainment system with Bluetooth and a phone connection to run apps from your mobile.

Skoda Citigo (cont.)

Skoda Citigo - interior

Look out for the more economical Greentech version for better fuel economy (68.9mpg) and still enjoy the same low insurance group of two.

We found: 2017 Skoda Citigo 1.0 SE 5dr, 30,267 miles, £6000

Read the used Skoda Citigo review here

Search for a used Skoda Citigo for sale with What Car? >>

3. Nissan Micra

Nissan Micra

This is the start of the group one insurance cars, which isn’t too surprising for the Nissan Micra, because not only does it have automatic emergency braking to help prevent you from getting into a low-speed collision but also lane departure warning to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Nissan Micra (cont.)

Nissan Micra - interior

2. Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo driving

Like the Seat Ibiza we talked about earlier, the Volkswagen Polo is a spacious small car with plenty of equipment as standard. It may not be quite as darty to drive as the Spanish alternative, but then it's quieter once on the move and drops down into insurance group one, weirdly making the classier car the cheaper of the two to run if you’re young.

Volkswagen Polo (cont.)

Volkswagen Polo interior

You don’t have to do for the least powerful 64bhp version in order to get low insurance, either, because the more powerful 74bhp 1.0-litre (capable of 60.1mpg) also manages to get into the lowest group. 

We found: 2018 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 SE, 23,500 miles, £10,450

Read the used Volkswagen Polo review here

Search for a used VW Polo for sale with What Car? >>

1. Skoda Fabia

Skoda Fabia

It may not be the newest small car design, but the Skoda Fabia is still a really good package for new drivers. The clutch is easy to operate, the steering is light, all the controls have a slick and precise feel and the outward visibility is really good. SE models, like the example we found, even get rear parking sensors as standard, so there’ll be no embarrassing crunches made in front of your friends as you back into a space.

Skoda Fabia (cont.)

New Ford Fiesta & Seat Ibiza vs Skoda Fabia

In fact, the Fabia comes with all the latest technology, such as a touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and automatic emergency braking, the latter of which contributes to the Fabia’s group one insurance rating. Couple that to 57.6mpg fuel economy and the affordable price of a used Fabia and you have the best-value package for new drivers.

We found: 2017 Skoda Fabia 1.0 SE, 14,000 miles, £6994 

Search for a used Skoda Fabia for sale on What Car? >>

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