Best used cars for new drivers

From insurance-friendly superminis to practical seven-seaters, these cars are ideal for new drivers, whatever their age

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Jul 30, 2020

Congratulations on passing your driving test! It’s time to tear up your ‘L’ plates as you hit the open road alone for the first time. The question is: which used car should you buy?

This all depends on your circumstances. If you’re a young driver, it makes sense to buy a car that’s small and cheap to insure, since insurance costs can be very high on some larger and faster models. If you’re a more mature new driver, you might fancy something that’s easy to drive, with good visibility and space for the family, so you can quickly get comfortable with life behind the wheel.

A wide range of used cars are available on BuyaCar that are ideal for new drivers, with prices to suit all pockets and a very handy 14-day money-back guarantee. Best of all, whichever car you choose, we deliver it straight to your door, so all you have to do is choose a car, place your order and the car will come to you.

If all this sounds good to you, we're here to help you get started on choosing your first car with a selection of great value PCP finance deals and monthly payments from as little as £100 per month, even with a low deposit. Keep reading to discover which car best suits your needs.

Best used cars for new drivers

1. Nissan Micra

Our pick Nissan Micra 0.9 IG-T N-Connecta
Used deals from £8,750
Monthly finance from £132

You may have been taught to drive in a Nissan Micra, so why not choose one as your first car? The current Micra is a world away from the fuddy duddy image of the older models, with smart styling, some cool features and a modern interior.

Better still, all current Micra models sold in the UK get a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating, which will be reassuring as you take to the road, while cars powered by the 1.0-litre petrol engine fall into the lowest insurance group rating, making it easier to get affordable cover.

Upgrading to the N-Sport or Tekna trim levels adds the convenience of a rear-view camera and rear parking sensors to make parking simpler, and you can get hold of all that in a used Nissan Micra for less than £10,000 or around a £150 per month on BuyaCar.

NISSAN MICRA BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Skoda Fabia

Our pick Skoda Fabia 1.0 MPI SE
Used deals from £7,250
Monthly finance from £122

Car insurance can be expensive for new drivers - whatever your age. The combination of inexperience and the absence of a no-claims discount means that a four-figure premium could be on the cards in your first year.

So it pays to drive something that’s cheap to insure while you build up your no-claims bonus. Step forward the Skoda Fabia. It’s based on the Volkswagen Polo, but you’ll pay less for the Skoda. Cars with the 1.0-litre non-turbocharged petrol engines sit in the lowest insurance groups, so getting cheap cover shouldn’t be a problem.

All Fabia models are easy to drive, but we’d recommend opting for SE specification, as rear parking sensors come as standard. Upgrading to SE Drive adds front parking sensors, while a rear-view camera is available as an option on all but the entry-level S model. All of this comes in at a price well below the £10,000 mark while PCP finance costs start from less than £150 per month for decent low milage models.

SKODA FABIA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Dacia Logan MCV

Our pick Dacia Logan MCV 0.9 TCe Comfort
Used deals from £8,980
Monthly finance from £153

We’re going to let you into a little secret: not only is the Dacia Logan MCV really inexpensive to buy, the running costs are kept in check by economical engines, low insurance groups and slow depreciation. It’s not the most exciting car you can buy, but the boot is large enough to swallow the kitchen sink and a week’s worth of washing up, while there’s plenty of room in the cabin for you and four mates.

We’d avoid the basic Access version, which lacks a radio and air-conditioning, but the other models are reasonably well-equipped. Crucially, there’s little in the way of distractions, leaving you free to concentrate on the driving.

The joy of Dacia is that its cars are just so cheap. Even the very latest Logan MCV models with the turbocharged 0.9 TCe engine - which offers much stronger acceleration than you'd expect considering its small size - and Comfort trim come in at around £11,000, while finance is also great value from under £200 per month.

DACIA LOGAN MCV BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Fiat 500X

Our pick Fiat 500X 1.4 Multiair Cross Plus
Used deals from £8,290
Monthly finance from £137

The Fiat 500X is a crossover designed for people who fancy the retro charm of the 500 city car but require a little more space and practicality. It’s arguably one of the best looking cars in its class, while tonnes of personalisation options are available to help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s been on sale a while, so the engines and trim levels have changed over the years, but the Lounge trim features front and rear parking sensors. Meanwhile, 500X Cross Plus and Sport models include a rear-view camera.

Cross Plus and City Cross versions could be useful for new drivers, if only for their extra body cladding and bumper protection. Well, you can never be too careful. BuyaCar prices start from around £9,000, or £150 per month on a four-year PCP deal.

FIAT 500X BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Honda HR-V

Our pick Honda HR-V SE
Used deals from £10,495
Monthly finance from £175

The Honda HR-V is one of the most underrated compact SUVs you can buy. It benefits from a large 470-litre boot, which is bigger than the one you’ll find in the Nissan Qashqai, while the front seats offer plenty of room for two adults. It’s a little less spacious in the back, but the ‘magic seats’ provide plenty of flexibility, folding up to let you load tall, bulky items, or folding down to extend the boot space.

New drivers will like the high driving position and the slick, easy-to-use six-speed gearbox. We’d recommend the SE trim level, as it boasts front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, rain-sensing wipers, forward collision warning and a lane departure warning system - there's also a choice of petrol and diesel engines at similar prices.

The other factor in the HR-V’s favour is Honda’s legendary reputation for reliability, so you can look forward to a stress-free life with the car. Prices start from £11,000 for a used HR-V on BuyaCar, while some great PCP finance deals drop the starting cost to well below £200 per month.

HONDA HR-V BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Our pick Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 1.5 Verve
Used deals Limited stock

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is one of a number of compact SUVs hoping to attract your attention. Its bold styling ensures that it will stand out in the supermarket car park, but that’s not the reason why we’re recommending it to new drivers.

Even the entry-level Verve trim offers the kind of kit that will take the stress away from driving, including a rear-view camera, an emergency braking system to stop you hitting the car in front, hill start assist to stop you from rolling back when pulling off on an incline and headlights that come on automatically when it gets dark.

You also get Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels and illuminated cup holders - because everyone needs an illuminated cup holder. Top-spec models even come with four-wheel-drive, which will be handy if you live halfway up a mountain, but this does make the Eclipse Cross a bit more expensive than other options on this list. Remember you'll be able to make use of Mitsubishi's five-year warranty, though.

MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Vauxhall Zafira

Our pick Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 CDTi SRi
Used deals Limited stock

Not every new driver is a teenager or recent graduate. Maybe you’ve passed your test later in life and are about to embark on the school run for the first time. If so, you'll need a practical family car with lots of space in the rear seats and boot.

Although the world is falling out of love with people carriers, they remain the most flexible and spacious vehicles for family life. Thanks to its clever seating arrangement and unashamedly family-focused approach, the seven-seat Vauxhall Zafira is an automotive unsung hero.

It’s not exciting and the cabin isn't the most stylish, but it’s easy to drive and, just as importantly, easy to load with people and their luggage. Some will have led a hard life ferrying children around year after year, but there are plenty to choose from, so there are many low-mileage, well looked after versions, too.

VAUXHALL ZAFIRA BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Volkswagen Touran

Our pick Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI SE Family
Used deals from £16,600
Monthly finance from £258

The Volkswagen Touran is one of the most popular seven-seat cars in Europe. It’s rather expensive when new, but many buyers are prepared to pay a premium for an image-friendly badge, a quality interior and low running costs.

All of which means the Touran is a terrific used buy. The interior is good at standing up to years of muddy boots, Happy Meals and boiled sweets, while the high driving position provides a commanding view of the road ahead.

The Touran in SE trim features front and rear parking sensors, but it’s worth finding an SE Family model for its sat-nav and panoramic sunroof. We’d also recommend the 2.0-litre diesel for its blend of performance and efficiency, even with the full quota of seven people on board.

VW TOURAN BUYERS' GUIDE

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best British-made cars

  2. Best Cars for Beginners

  3. Cheapest car insurance for young drivers

What our customers say