If you’re a young driver armed with a £10k budget to buy your first or thereafter car, be prepared, because with that amount of money you can take your pick from some truly fantastic small cars. For under £10k, you’ll get to choose from some brand new models and nearly new options on the used car market that enjoy low mileage and great prices.


When it comes to the best vehicles for young drivers, you’ll consistently see reviewers and auto experts proclaim the many virtues of small cars, and in this regard, we’re no different. Compact city cars, superminis, and small hatchbacks really are the best types of vehicles for newer drivers. Not only are they cheaper to purchase, they also tend to be:

  • Cheap to run
  • Fuel efficient
  • Cheap to insure
  • Cheap to service
  • Easy to drive
  • Easy to manoeuvre
  • Easy to park
  • Great at building driver confidence


The vehicles on this list all have starting prices roughly around £10k (give or take a few grand), providing affordable options for young buyers to purchase a brand new car. In addition, all of the models are available for even less on the pre-owned market, suiting all incomes below the budget mark. Please, read on to see what we’ve chose as our best cars under £10k for young drivers.


The Dacia Sandero is superb value for money. If you’re armed with a £10k budget, then you can opt to buy the Sandero outright for brand new, as prices start around the astonishingly low £8k mark. For young drivers wanting to save money, it also has a range of frugal engines that return good miles per gallon (MPG) and a cheap insurance bracket, ensuring very low day-to-day running costs. Whilst it might be fairly standard to drive and the interior geared more to the functional, rather than the eye catching, you still get a lot of car for your money. It’s spacious inside the cabin and it offers a practical 320-litre boot. Overall, the Sandero looks pretty good too, especially considering its price. And it doesn’t have to be a completely no frills affair either. The two trims available are both under £10k, with handy hill start assist as standard, and useful rear parking sensors (plus an optional parking camera) and cruise control offered in the Comfort range.

Best features:

  • Very good value for money
  • Very low starting price
  • Very cheap to run

Used prices start from £2,000


Hot in second place with starting Used prices from roughly £11k, this is the first of our cars for young drivers that if you’re willing to extend the 10k mark by just a grand, you can buy it brand new. For those wanting Used prices under £10k, then rest assured you’ll find lots of models and great deals available for this vehicle, and all the upcoming ones, on the used car market. As to the Picanto, this is a sprightly compact city car with stylish good looks. And that appeal continues on the inside, with the cabin finished to a high standard with nice materials, especially at this price range.  It has agile handling and a light feel, providing a fun go-kart like driving experience. It also sits in a low insurance bracket and offers good mpg, proving cheap to run. Bought new, you get a fantastic 7 year warranty too.

Best features:

  • Stylish looks
  • Fun to drive
  • 7 year warranty


Used prices start from £750

3. HYUNDAI i10

The all-new Hyundai i10, from roughly £13k, comes with stylish looks on the inside and out and some impressive technology to justify its slightly higher price, including autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, high beam assist, and a driver attention alert. For under £10k, you can even find recent models with useful kit from 2017 to 2019, quite easily too. And the i10 is a great car. It’s nippy, manoeuvrable, and it’s easy to drive. It has a spacious cabin (particularly for a city car) that will fit three friends in the rear seats for shorter journeys and, more comfortably, two for longer trips. It has a low insurance group and offers cheap running costs, with two frugal, low capacity petrol engines. Simply put, the Hyundai i10 is an ideal car for young drivers.

Best features:

  • Stylish looks
  • Easy to drive
  • Spacious cabin


Used prices start from £1,000


Firstly, before we talk about the C1, this is really a joint fourth place paired with the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo, as these three near identical cars share the same platform and offer similar starting prices. They are also all well-suited to the needs of young drivers, and what we say below about the C1 can be applied to its siblings. Starting from roughly £11k, but with a wealth of used deals below £10k, the Citroen C1 ticks all of the right boxes young drivers hear so often: it is cheap to run, it sits in a low insurance group, and it is easy to manoeuvre and park. The C1 is also enjoyable to drive (a most important point in our books) and it enjoys rather cool styling, which can be personalised to suit your own tastes, including the option of a soft-top convertible, allowing you to feel the sun on your neck whilst driving around town. In short, it’s a fantastic city car with lots of appeal.

Best features:

  • Enjoyable to drive
  • Cool styling and personalisation
  • Cheap running costs


Used prices start from £800


Similar to the Citroen C1, the Volkswagen Up shares a platform with the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii. Again, the similarities of these cars warrant that they all sit together in a shared fifth place. However, the latest Citigo (i-EV) and Mii (Electric) will be excluded as these are solely electric vehicles now and sit firmly above our under £10k bracket. Older models, however, fit the bill just fine. So, how does the Up fare? Well, it is fun to drive, it comes with a wealth of personalisation options, it has a range of frugal engines that will achieve 60mpg or better, and it sits in a low insurance group. Furthermore, like its siblings, it has good build quality too. It’s also good value for money. And, like the Citroen C1, when you go looking for deals you have the added bonus of being able to increase your range by including its sister cars – this could help you find a cheaper price, a better model, or a version with more equipment.

Best features:

  • Fun to drive
  • Low running costs
  • Good build quality


Used prices start from £1,900

6. FIAT 500

Of all the compact city cars on the market, the Fiat 500 is the one with the most iconic looks. Unsurprisingly, it’s a popular vehicle, particularly with younger drivers. With its dinky dimensions and very low running costs, it’s also perfect for city driving. And that’s where the 500 thrives, although it must be noted it has limited levels of practicality and, on longer journeys, the rear seats are not particularly comfortable for adults. But what it lacks, the Fiat 500 more than makes up for it with its retro charm. It also enjoys a reasonable starting price when bought new, in line with others on this list. When it comes to the under £10k mark, however, you can find nearly-new models from as recent as 2018, with less than 10,000 miles on the clock. Typically, such deals are available from around £8,000, which is definitely a bargain for such a cool looking car.

Best features:

  • Iconic looks
  • Cheap to run
  • Great deals

Used prices start from £1,800


At just under £13k, Suzuki’s best-selling supermini provides young drivers with an entertaining vehicle that’s fun to drive with light steering and a punchy edge. The latest models, which enjoy a rather stylish design, are also available with all-wheel drive for better grip in poor weather and self-charging hybrid technology for greater fuel economy. For buyers with a strict £10k budget, you can also find recent models from 2017 onwards for roughly £7,000, leaving you with some extra spare change for the very low running costs (or for an impromptu holiday). Inside, the car is surprisingly spacious for such outwardly compact dimensions, plus it has a decent 265-litre boot. All-in-all, it is a great little car that suits a wide range of budgets, as well as catering to the needs of new and young drivers alike.

Best features:

  • Fun to drive
  • Affordable price range
  • Low running costs

Used prices start from £450


With a starting price on the higher side of this list (from roughly £13k), the Skoda Fabia still manages to prove itself great value for money. Better yet, nearly new models on the used car market can be enjoyed for considerably less, with (potentially) massive discounts available up to £3,000 on versions less than six months old, which brings the price bracket right within the perfect range for our list. And what you get for your money is a very safe car that is easy to drive, cheap to run and cheap to insure, with a spacious cabin that is comfortable and very practical. Overall, the Skoda Fabia is a very commendable supermini that you’ll often find recommended for new drivers. It’s an all-round package and a very good one at that.

Best features:

  • Great value for money
  • Easy to drive
  • Spacious and practical

Used prices start from £300


If you’re a young driver who’d like an SUV, but with the cheap running costs of a small car then take a peek at the Suzuki Ignis, a practical supermini with a raised ride height and chunky SUV looks. It’s a quirky, yet stylish compact vehicle that has a lot of character. It’s also a lot of fun to drive, with light steering for a sprightly and nippy ride experience. Used prices start on the higher side for this list, with new models from approximately £13.5k. However, on the used car market, you can grab almost new variants from 2017 onwards, with as little as 15,000 miles on the clock, for bang on the £10k mark or just less. Sadly, the Ignis does have a higher insurance group than other superminis, although it does offer good fuel economy and cheap day-to-day running costs.

Best features:

  • SUV styling and raised ride height
  • Fun to drive, with light steering
  • Economical and cheap to run


Used prices start from £700

10. MG 3

From approximately £12k, the MG 3 is a supermini with a low cost starting price that offers sporty looks and a surprisingly fun driving experience, especially considering it is only available with a single 1.5-litre petrol engine, which is a bit of a let-down. That issue aside, the MG 3 has rather nice handling, with good grip and precision. Take it onto a twisty country road and you’ll find it comes into its own. However, although you can find numerous models for under £10k, it’s hard to recommend the MG3 when strong rivals on this list offer similar Used prices and all-round greater packages. Then again, if you really like the sporty styling and can find one with lots of tech at Used prices under £10k, it could certainly prove worthwhile.

Best features:

  • Surprisingly fun
  • Good handling
  • Low starting price

Used prices start from £2,150

Looking for your first car and don’t want to spend more than £10,000? We’ve got plenty of cars to choose from at

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Back to articles January 21, 2021

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