Best used cars for new drivers (and the ones to avoid)

Whether you've got £1000 or £10,000 to spend, a great first car is within your grasp. To prove it, we've brought together the very best – and worst – used first cars for every budget...

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Alex Robbins
23 Mar 2016 08:00 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

Best used cars for new drivers for less than £2000

3. Skoda Fabia

Best used cars for new drivers (and the ones to avoid)

Robust, reliable, safe and spacious, the Skoda Fabia is one of the most sensible first cars you can buy. OK, so it isn’t the coolest thing on four wheels and nor is it particularly exhilarating to drive, but it’s still pleasant enough, with excellent ride comfort and smooth controls that make manoeuvring easy. And with huge amounts of room in the rear seats and a decent-sized boot, it’s a first car that should be able to cope with every eventuality.

We found: 2006 1.2 12v Ambiente, 38,000 miles, full service history, £1995

Read the used Skoda Fabia review

Find a used Skoda Fabia in the What Car? Classifieds


2. Renault Clio

Best used cars for new drivers (and the ones to avoid)

The previous-generation Renault Clio is one of the best first cars you can buy for £1000, and so it goes at the £2000 mark, too, with this version. Not only is it a particularly safe small car, having scored five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests when it was launched, but it also feels upmarket inside and rides extremely comfortably. You get plenty of toys, too, plus light steering means it’s easy to drive, and prices are low, making it a fantastic bargain. Electrical niggles can again be a problem, but most faults are generally cheap and easy to fix.

Best used cars for new drivers (and the ones to avoid)

There’s almost a Vauxhall Corsa on every street corner, so finding a good one to buy shouldn’t be hard. What’s more, this generation Corsa won our Car Of The Year award back in 2007; it’s a cracking little car, with a great interior, plenty of space and impressive ride comfort. But most attractive of all is the price; heavy depreciation when new meant the Corsa shed its value very quickly, and that now means today’s first car buyers can pick one up for pennies.

We found: 2007 1.2i Club, 51,000 miles, full service history, £2000

Read the used Vauxhall Corsa review

Find a used Vauxhall Corsa in the What Car? Classifieds

And one to avoid…

Proton Savvy

Best used cars for new drivers (and the ones to avoid)

It’s astonishing that the Proton Savvy is as expensive as it is when you consider how cheap it feels. It’s slow, tacky, noisy and inefficient, too – we’d run a mile.


Best used cars for new drivers (and the ones to avoid)