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

Whether you've got Β£1000 or Β£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

Words By Alex Robbins

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Best used cars for new drivers for less than Β£5000

3. Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo has always been one of the most upmarket small cars, and this latest version is no different. That means values are high, and consequently you won’t get as much car for your money, but if you can live with a lower specification, you get a higher-quality interior, better build quality and a comfortable, grown-up-feeling driving experience. Polos should be hard-wearing and durable, too, with relatively few reliability issues, as long as you stick with a petrol, manual car.

We found: 2011 1.2 60 S, 60,000 miles, Β£4988

Read the used Volkswagen Polo review

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2. Vauxhall Corsa

Even at this price, the Vauxhall Corsa makes a compelling buy. Because it’s such great value, you’re getting a newer, better-specced car for your money than with most other rivals; what’s more, the attributes that make the Corsa so desirable at Β£2000 still count here – that is to say, it’s high-quality interior, comfortable ride and impressive amounts of space. Granted, it isn’t quite as much fun to drive or as high-quality as some rivals, but it’s a very solid all-rounder.

We found: 2012 1.2 Excite, 12,000 miles, Β£5000

Read the used Vauxhall Corsa review

Find a used Vauxhall Corsa in the What Car? Classifieds

1. Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta is a very likeable small car. It’s exceptionally good fun to drive, for starters, with direct steering that lets you snick it into corners and a responsive, well-balanced chassis, yet it’s also comfortable on long journeys. You also get a great range of efficient yet zesty engines, and it’s great value, both to buy and to run. Inside, it isn’t quite as classy as a Corsa or a Polo, and nor is it as well equipped, but see past that and the Fiesta is a more enjoyable car to drive and own than either.

We found: 2011 1.25 Zetec, 32,000 miles, Β£4995

Read the used Ford Fiesta review

Find a used Ford Fiesta in the What Car? Classifieds

And one to avoid…

Fiat Punto

It looks good value, but at this price there are far better cars than the Fiat Punto which is poorly made, unreliable, uncomfortable and uninspiring to drive.

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