If you’ve just passed your driving test, congratulations – it’s a big achievement that opens up a whole new world of travel to you. Once you’ve managed to get the passing grade on the big day, it feels like a weight off your shoulders – but now you need to choose a car.
It can be hard to find the perfect car for you, but we think that the best option is pretty much always a hatchback. We’ll explain why in the article below, plus we’ve even included our five favourite small hatchbacks for young and new drivers.
Not all new drivers are young, after all. Plus, you might be a parent or relative reading this looking for a car for your loved one – and if that’s the case, you might need to sell your current car to help pay for it. If that’s the case then don’t worry, there are now loads of online services that do this for free such as the Parkers Value My Car tool. Once your know your budget, you can start narrowing down some of our options below.
Firstly though – why are hatchbacks great choices for new drivers?
Hatchbacks are cheap to insure
The number one reason to pick a hatchback as your first car is because they often come with small engines that bring low insurance costs. The best options are usually 1.0-litre petrol units as they aren’t very powerful and insurers don’t penalise them as much as larger engines for new drivers.
This is often seen in insurance group ratings, which go from 1-50. The lower the number, the better, and hatchbacks often sit in groups 1-10 depending on a number of factors.
Hatchbacks are cheap to buy and run
Costs are a huge part of buying a car when you’re new to things, and you want a car that’s affordable to buy but also cheap to run. Hatchbacks are small and light, and their small engines tend to be economical and cheap to run. They offer lower maintenance costs as well.
Hatchbacks are fun to drive
Hatchbacks are small and light, which means they’re a lot of fun to drive, even though they’re not very fast. It’s a great way to get into driving and enjoy the process more, since you’ll be having fun on every journey. The manual gearboxes and revvy engines of small hatchbacks add to the fun as well.
Best cars for new drivers:
The Renault Clio is a great example of a hatchback for young drivers. The entry-level engine is cheap to insure and run, plus the Clio is enjoyable to drive, practical, well-equipped and affordable to buy. It’s a great all-rounder and is our pick for the best car for any new driver.
The Volkswagen Up is a smaller car than the Clio, and while it’s a hatchback it’s technically in the city car class. This means it’s really easy to drive and park, since it’s so small, yet it’s also really practical and has a bigger interior than you might expect. The small engine means it’s cheap to run but also a lot of fun to drive.
The Kia Picanto is another small city car that’s easy to park and brings a lot of fun because it’s so small and light. The engine is peppy and enjoyable to use but also cheap to insure and returns good fuel economy. It’s comfortable, well-equipped and cheap to buy as well.
The Ford Fiesta is one of the most enjoyable cars to drive for anyone, let alone a new driver. A wide range of engines means there’s an option for young drivers (a three-cylinder non-turbo petrol) and there’s plenty of standard equipment. The Ford is great on a twisty road but also comfortable and quiet inside.
The Fiat 500 is a hatchback option for those who want to stand out – its stylish looks and funky interior design means it’s bound to put a smile on your face. It’s fun to drive, but not the most practical. The small petrol engine means it’s cheap to insure and run just like the other cars we picked out.