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So you’re a young driver looking for a new cheap car, or perhaps you’re a parent looking to surprise your son or daughter with their first auto? If you’re stuck for ideas on what’s a good, affordable vehicle for a newer driver, then this list is for you. 

BUYING A NEW CAR VS USED  

Whilst the cars we’ve chosen as our best picks are all very reasonably priced and amongst the cheapest vehicles you can buy brand new, young drivers don’t always have the budget to afford the latest model. And even if you do, it’s still a good idea to check out the used car market. After all, new and pre-owned vehicles both have their own pros and cons to consider. Typically, new cars:

  • Cost a lot more upfront 
  • Have the latest technology and safety features 
  • Have that unmistakable new car shine 

Second-hand cars, however, can be just as special, especially if they’ve been well-cared for by the owners. Usually on the used car market: 

  • Models are significantly less to buy 
  • There is an excellent range to choose from 
  • You can find an even better car within your price range 

Before you settle on buying new or used, it is a good idea to have a look at available finance deals in advance and select a few cars and models you like the look of. Arm yourself with as much information as you can ahead of buying, that way you are more likely to find better deals and strike a better bargain. 

BEST CHEAP NEW CARS FOR YOUNG DRIVERS 

The cars on this list are all well-suited to the needs of young drivers and buying a brand new model is affordable, with the vast majority enjoying competitive prices sitting around the £10k mark from newAdditionally, all of the vehicles offer low running costs and efficient engines with good miles per gallon (MPG). Of course, these cars also have excellent used deals too, cutting costs even further. Please, read on to discover our top 10 best cheap new cars for young drivers.  

 

1. HYUNDAI i10

The all-new Hyundai i10 is a fantastic city car that has a very affordable starting price. Furthermore, it comes well-equipped as standard and it has an excellent selection of important safety technology, not as optional extras, but again, as part of the package for new models. These include useful features such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist, high beam assist, and a driver attention alert. The car is all-round great value for money, offering low running costs and great MPG. And just as noteworthy, the Hyundai i10 is good to drive with agile handling and a comfortable cabin that’s spacious enough for two or three friends in the rear seats. 

Best features:

  • Great value for money 
  • Lots of safety kit as standard 
  • Well-equipped as standard 

PRICES FROM £750 

2. DACIA SANDERO

Essentially Renault’s budget brand, Dacia cars are astonishingly cheap to buy brand new. In fact, the Dacia Sandero is the cheapest car on this list with a new entry-level model approximately £7k. And sticking to the theme, the Sandero is cheap to run and cheap to insure as well. Furthermore, the car doesn’t shy away from its place in the motoring world. It embraces it, wearing its low cost with pride. It doesn’t try to be fancier than it is, it solely tries (and succeeds) to offer a true budget motor. It is simple to drive, practical inside, and very comfortable. Entry-level models (understandably) are sparsely equipped, but at its low price that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. All-in-all the Dacia Sandero is a car that’s great value for money, especially if you’re looking to save a lot of your hard earned cash. 

Best features:

  • Cheapest car to buy new 
  • Low running costs 
  • Great value for money 

PRICES FROM £2,000 

3. SKODA FABIA

Sitting around the 13k mark for a brand new model, the Skoda Fabia is surprisingly on the higher end of pricing in this top 10 list of cheap cars. But what you get for that money is well worth it. The Fabia is a very safe car (scoring a full five stars in stringent Euro NCAP safety tests), fitted as standard with AEB, curtain airbags, stability control, and traction control, plus Skoda’s excellent Front Assist braking system, which automatically applies the brakes when it senses a low-speed collision. The initial trim level comes fairly well-equipped with other useful tech as well, such as a 6.5-inch touchscreen with USB connection and Bluetooth, and stop/start engine technology to reduce fuel consumption. The car is great value for money, proving cheap to run and insure. It’s also easy to drive and, typical of the Skoda brand, very practical with lots of neat touches, like a handy built-in umbrella for when you have to leave your car on a rainy day. 

Best features:

  • Great value for money 
  • Lots of standard safety kit 
  • Easy to drive and practical 

PRICES FROM £200 

4. VOLKSWAGEN UP!

The VW Up narrowly misses out on a top spot on this list, offering a fantastic all-round package. As a cheap car should, it has good MPG and low cost insurance. And for young drivers, it has a very important aspect somewhat lacking in the Sandero and Fabia: it is fun to drive. For many buyers, this could push the VW Up into podium position alone. The economical car also comes with a wealth of personalisation options to make the vehicle look and feel like it’s designed just for you. It has a decent range of frugal engines and if you’re looking for a cheap electric vehicle (EV), it ticks that box too with the e-Up, although it does add a considerable amount to the starting price compared to petrol versions. However, if you are looking for a low cost EV, the VW e-Up shares a platform with the all-electric Skoda Citigo i-EV and Seat Mii Electric – all three models make excellent electric city cars, on a par with one another, giving you more choice to find a great deal. 

Best features:

  • Fun to drive 
  • Cheap to run 
  • Lots of personalisation options 

PRICES FROM £5,000 

5. KIA PICANTO

If you’re looking for a vehicle with a sprightly feel to it, then it is worth considering a Kia Picanto. The compact city car has agile steering for a go-kart like driving experience that is light, nippy, and good funIt’s a nice looking vehicle too, with a sportier edge to it compared to some of the other, more functional models on this list. This attractive styling continues on the inside, with the interior using good quality materials, particularly for this affordable class of car. When it comes to pricing, the Picanto sits just under 10k brand new, including a very impressive 7 year warranty, which goes hand-in-hand with the car’s great reliability record. Furthermore, the Picanto enjoys a low insurance rating and good fuel economy as well, proving cheap to run.  

Best features:

  • Fun to drive 
  • Attractive styling 
  • 7 year warranty 

PRICES FROM £500 

6. PEUGEOUT 108

Sharing a platform with the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo, which (spoiler alert) also feature on this top 10 list, the Peugeot 108 is a funky little city car with stylish looks. It is available in both three and five-door body styles, and for added enjoyment it has the option of a full-length folding roof, turning the car into a convertible for those summer days at the beach. The 108 is incredibly cheap to run, with an excellent reliability rating and a good level of equipment as standard. The basic five-door trim level, for example, comes with auto headlights, keyless entry and start, and a handy reversing camera. And to give drivers more time behind the wheel and less time worrying about things like insurance, Peugeot has a fantastic finance package, Just Add Fuel, which takes care of breakdown cover, insurance, road tax, and servicing for the first three years.  

Best features:

  • Stylish looks 
  • Incredibly cheap to run 
  • Excellent reliability 

PRICES FROM £3,300 

 

7. FORD FIESTA

The Ford Fiesta sits at the higher end of the pricing scale for the best cheap new cars for young drivers, with a starting price just shy of £16k. However, if your budget can afford it, then consider the Ford Fiesta a frontrunner and podium contender. The iconic car is very popular on British roads and understandably so. It has stylish looks, it is cheap to run, and it has a good reliability record. Importantly, the Fiesta is a lot of fun to drive too, a point aided by the fact that it has some of the best handling in its class. For equipment, the entry-level trim includes useful tech like an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and handy safety kit, such as a lane-keeping system. An optional driver’s assistance package, adds further tech and safety features to the car, including adaptive cruise control and pre-collision assist. And if the Fiesta is out of your budget range, you could always consider a used model, which average around £8k with a wide selection to choose from thanks to the car’s ever-lasting popularity. 

Best features:

  • Fun to drive 
  • Class-leading handling 
  • Cheap to run 

PRICES FROM £300 

8. CITROEN C1

In our opinion, the dinky Citroen C1 is the best looking car out of its two siblings, the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo. It’s certainly the most unique with the option to choose contrasting colours on numerous aspects of the car, from the wing mirrors to the roof, which is also available as a drop-top convertible (like the 108) for that wind in the hair feel. Indeed, the C1 has a lot of personalisation options to choose from, allowing you to get the right car feel for your personality. Again, similar to Peugeot, Citroen also offers a handy finance package that takes care of road tax, servicing, breakdown cover, and insurance for the first three years. It’s called Simply Drive and it does take a lot of hassle out of the equation, allowing drivers to focus their time on the road. To round the package off, like its fellow platform sharers, the C1 has good handling, an enjoyable driving experience, and an economical range of engines for those all-important low running costs. 

Best features:

  • Low running costs 
  • Enjoyable to drive 
  • Lots of personalisation options 

PRICES FROM £800 

9. TOYOTA AYGO

With the heaps of praise for its sister cars, the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1, it should come as no surprise to find the Toyota Aygo on this list. Similarly, the car ticks many of the same boxes too, proving frugal to run and agile around town, this time all wrapped up in bold stylingThe basic trim level comes with a radio with MP3 compatibility and if you opt for the next level up (which we’d recommend) you get useful tech like a seven-inch X-Touch infotainment system and a reversing camera. Inside, the interior is of a good quality with comfortable seating too. Furthermore, the many similarities between the platform sharing cars means you can essentially take your pick from the three different brands, safe in the knowledge they are very similar. This allows you to find the best new or used deals near you, or at the very least lets you pick the one with the exterior that most appeals to your sense of style. 

Best features:

  • Agile around town 
  • Frugal running costs 
  • Good quality interior 

PRICES FROM £650 

10. SUZUKI SWIFT

Suzuki’s best-selling supermini, the Swift is an efficient and affordable car with very low running costs. The latest models are also kitted out with mild, self-charging hybrid technology, meaning the Swift now has even greater fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. And, importantly, it still has a low starting price. On the road, the Swift is also entertaining to drive, with a sense of punchiness to it and light steering, providing a fun experienceThere is a good selection of trim levels to choose from, all of which prove very reasonably priced considering the kit availableHowever, if you are looking for a real bargain, then it could also be worth considering a pre-owned Suzuki Swift. There are lots of models to choose from on the used car market, with some fantastic deals less than £1k. 

Best features:

  • Excellent fuel economy 
  • Very low running costs 
  • Entertaining to drive 

PRICES FROM £580 

Looking for a cheap car now that you’ve passed your driver’s test? We’ve got loads of affordable cars that are wallet-friendly to run at Motors.co.uk 

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Back to articles February 5, 2021

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