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Best cars for learner drivers

So you’re learning to drive? Congratulations! Overwhelmed by the choice of cars? Adrian Flux runs through the best cars for learner drivers.

Read our blog on the best cars for new drivers if you’ve recently passed your driving test or the best cars for 17-year-olds if you’re looking for an affordable vehicle as a young driver. And if you want to test drive any of the options, read our blog on buying a used car.

1. Ford Fiesta: Overall winner

Blue Ford Fiesta on white background

Price new: From £19,060

Price used: approx. £9,000 to £12,000

The Ford Fiesta is Britain’s favourite car and it’s easy to see why. Updated with technological advances and some amazingly economical models, the Fiesta has to be on everybody’s list of best cars for learner drivers.

Performance is good no matter which engine you go for. The 99bhp Ecoboost is fantastic and will help to keep running costs down. However, the diesel engines can be a little noisy so do bear this in mind.

The handling on the Fiesta is brilliant, fast and responsive, and it rides better than any of the other cars on this list. It’s a cheap car to run and extremely fuel-efficient, but its resale value isn’t that great.

The cabin is comfortable and spacious, and the trim ranges from cheap and cheerful to luxury or sporty depending on the model.

The Ford Fiesta is our winner. Whichever model you choose, it’s a great car that beats all the other contenders.

Ford Fiesta pros

  • Driving
  • Cheap to run

Ford Fiesta cons

  • Some models are a little cheap inside
  • Not the cheapest option

2. Renault Clio

Orange Renault Clio on white background

Price new: From £18,050

Price used: approx. £8,000 to £12,000

The Renault Clio has been popular with learners for many years thanks to fairly low pricing, decent running costs and attractive styling. The new Clio is a stylish car, which is one of the main reasons the car makes it onto this list. Anyone learning to drive is going to want to pass their test just to get out on the open road in this little beauty.

The Clio comes only as a 5-door model, making it roomy and spacious for when you pass your test and are helping family and friends get around. The interior does feel a little cheap and plasticky, but it is a fairly affordable car so you probably wouldn’t expect the model to be at the height of luxury.

The Clio is an easy little car to drive; steering, pedals, and gear changes are all light and smooth. The Clio offers decent visibility and is easy to park.

Renault Clio pros

  • Style
  • Visibility

Renault Clio cons

  • Interior feels cheap
  • Brakes

3. Citroen C1

Red Citroen C1 on white background

Price new: From £12,785

Price used: approx. £8,000 to £12,000

The 1st generation Citroen C1 was cheap, lightweight, fun, and easy to drive. The new C1 is definitely still reasonably priced and easy to drive. It’s a similar size to the last incarnation, making it ideal for learnerdrivers, especially if you struggle with parking.

The steering couldn’t be easier, making it great for driving around town, but note that the soft suspension can make it a little bumpy. This is made up for by its reliability. The C1, Aygo and 108 all share the same chassis, engine, gearbox, and electrics. And as Toyota have done a lot of the development, it’s safe to say that it shouldn’t break down anytime soon.

A big plus for learners is that a number of Citroen C1 models are in the cheapest insurance bracket, meaning the cost of your insurance should be relatively low.

Running costs are good thanks to the small engine, which still delivers plenty of power as long as you go for the 1.2ltr option. All in all, it’s a great little car that is king of the urban roads.

Citroen C1 pros

  • Driving
  • Reliability

Citroen C1 cons

  • Practicality
  • Suspension

4. Volkswagen Polo

Blue Volkswagen Polo on white background

Price new: From £18,575

Price used: approx. £9,000 to £13,000

VW have an enviable reputation when it comes to building cars, and the Volkswagen Polo doesn’t disappoint. However, it’s higher price tag does limit the number of learners able to afford it.

The VW Polo’s styling is fairly unattractive, remaining relatively unchanged over time, but the build quality more than makes up for this flaw. The steering is responsive and light, while the gears and pedals are smooth and slick.

The flat rear makes reverse parking easier than some of the alternatives and the light clutch helps with parallel parking if you’re still struggling with clutch control.

It’s a great car to learn to drive in, but the rear window doesn’t offer great visibility and the price could be a deal breaker for some.

Volkswagen Polo pros

  • Steering
  • Parking

Volkswagen Polo cons

  • Price
  • Rear visibility

5. Fiat 500

Old red Fiat 500 on beautiful street

Price new: From £14,274

Price used: approx. £8,000 to £15,000

The Fiat 500 has been around quite a while now, but it still wins plaudits for its styling. The 500 is a funky little car and attractively priced, plus it stands out from its rivals and has a lovely colour-coded cabin.

It’s not all good news, though. The clutch isn’t the best, making stalling a frequent possibility. Once you get going, however, the steering is a little too light and the pedals are crammed together in a small footwell.

Manoeuvring is simple thanks to the small turning circle, but visibility is poor because the rear window is relatively small the the wing mirrors don’t use the best design. The 500’s a good car, but it will take some getting used to and isn’t to be recommended for nervous learner drivers.

Fiat 500 pros

  • Gears
  • Turning

Fiat 500 cons

  • Cramped pedals
  • Rear visibility

6. Vauxhall Corsa

Red Vauxhall Corsa parked in front of building

Price new: From £17,070

Price used: approx. £8,000 to £17,000

The Vauxhall Corsa is an excellent choice for learner drivers. It’s an easy car to drive and offers a comfortable cabin with a steering wheel, seats and mirrors that are all easy to manoeuvre.

It’s tricky to stall as the clutch uses a system that increases the revs slightly as you lift it. Visibility is good once you’re moving, and the steering is pretty good too, but it is less agile than the Fiesta.

The engine is quiet and comes in a variety of choices so choose carefully. Braking is good and reliable, but it’s not the funnest to ride if that’s what you’re after. It’s a good little car but there are better options out there.

Vauxhall Corsa pros

  • Smooth ride
  • Handling

Vauxhall Corsa cons

  • Poor spec
  • Dull to drive

Get a learner driver insurance quote

The good thing about many of these smaller, lower powered, cars is that they are both affordable to run and cheap to insure. The next step is to find out how much your favourite will cost to insure, so call one of our friendly staff on 0800 369 8590 for a learner driver insurance quote or book a callback at a time that suits you. Cover starts from just 65p a day.

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