The best cars for first-time drivers on a variety of budgets

Your first time behind the wheel after passing your test has to be one of the all-time best feelings. That sense of immediate freedom, of endless possibilities and control over your destination for the first time is hard to beat.

So if you’re planning on getting out on the road, then you’ll need a car. We’ve picked out some of the best options taking into account a variety of budgets.

Up to £1,500 – Seat Ibiza

Seat Ibiza
Seat Ibiza

We’d argue that £1,500 represents a decent and reasonable first budget, giving the ability to own a reliable and easy to run first car option. We’d pick out a Seat Ibiza at this point as there are plenty of examples around and plenty can be found for far under this budget.

Though a 1.4-litre version might be tempting it’s the 1.2-litre we’d opt for if you’re looking to keep both running and insurance costs down.

Up to £3,500 – Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo
Volkswagen Polo

Up your budget and you’ll be able to net quite a snazzy Volkswagen Polo. The top of this price point will grab a decent 2010-plate version, bringing smart looks and an efficient 1.2-litre petrol engine.

Though 59bhp might not sound the most exciting – and we’ll admit, that’s not a lot of power – more than 50mpg and Group 3 insurance will likely be positive enough traits to offset the performance deficit.

Up to £5,000 – Mini One

Mini One
Mini One

Fancy a slice of retro styling? The Mini One could be the car for you. Though it might be tempting to go for the more powerful Cooper version, the less punchy One is a better option for first time drivers looking to keep insurance premiums down.

Stylish and well made, you’ll be able to grab a 2010 model for this £5,000 price tag.

Up to £7,500 – Fiat 500

Fiat 500
Fiat 500

Got a little more cash to use? This £7,500 is more than enough to snag a very smart example of the uber-stylish Fiat 500. In fact, this is enough to buy a later 2017 model, and one with impressively low miles on the clock too.

Thanks to a compact 1.2-litre petrol engine, the 500 will be both cheap to run and cheap to insure, too.

Up to £10,000 – Mercedes A-Class

Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Want a taste of the premium way of life? For a £10,000 budget that could be a Mercedes A-Class. Packed with high-end features, it’s certainly a stylish way of getting around for the first time.

We’d argue that the 1.5-litre, A180-badged diesel option is the best variant to go for as despite its relatively large engine size it pushes out 109bhp, which should mean that insurance costs won’t break the bank.