It’s a proud moment for a parent when your child has just cast aside their L-plates. Passing the driving test is a rite of passage and a step towards independence.
If you’re thinking of helping to buy your child their first car, you’ll probably be looking for something safe, reliable and good value. Here are some great options for the freshly passed driver.
This little Volkswagen ticks all the boxes: it’s safe and reliable, yet also fun to drive. Plus, there’s a nice amount of tech within the car.
And that’s not all - it’s also great value both to buy and run. “Key to the appeal is a low price, plus all cars sit in insurance group one or two,” says motor reviewer Auto Express - which named the VW Up! the ‘Best City Car’ for three years in a row.
While shopping around, bear in mind that the SKODA Citigo and SEAT Mii are both largely mechanically identical to the VW Up! So, broadening your search could bag you a bargain. New versions of the Citigo and the Mii are electric-only, whereas it’s still possible to get a VW Up! with a petrol engine.
Price: RRP £11,840 new, from £2,305 used*
The Ford Fiesta is the best-selling car in the UK and it’s also ideal for new licence holders. It’s stylish and fun to drive, but it also has a range of peace-of-mind safety features. For example, the MyKey system allows you to set a maximum speed limit and stereo volume for the car.
According to What Car?, “It makes an excellent new or used choice, and the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol Ecoboost engines are particularly good.”
Price: RRP £16,385 new, from £5,595 used*
The Kia Picanto looks attractive and gives drivers bang for their buck. This is in part because it’s still available with a petrol engine, while many other cars in this class have gone electric.
What Car? - which rates it as the ‘Best First Car for New Drivers’ - says, “The Kia Picanto is a fine small car, with a smart interior, tidy handling and, if you pick the 1.25 MPi 83 engine, decent performance and economy.”
It also scores highly on safety features and reliability. Plus, if you buy new, it comes with a seven-year warranty.
Price: RRP £9,395 new, from £4,505 used*
A long-time favourite, the Polo is safe, reliable and comfortable - as you’d expect from Volkswagen. Recent models are more spacious than their predecessors, and come with swish infotainment systems.
It’s also the winner of the What Car? ‘Small Car of the Year’ award. The expert car-review site says, “It leads the class in lots of areas, offering a great choice of perky engines, good space inside and the sort of ride you’d expect from a good family-sized car.”
Price: RRP £15,010 new, from £7,115 used*
The Hyundai i10 is very reasonable to buy and run, and - with the exception of this year’s latest model - among the cheapest on this list to pick up second-hand.
According to Auto Express, “You get plenty of kit for your money... There are electric windows, air-conditioning and a decent stereo with MP3 connectivity and Bluetooth, while top-spec cars offer a 7-inch touchscreen with sat-nav to help you find your way."
It also handles well, is easy to park and surprisingly spacious to boot.
Price: RRP £10,551 new, from £2,335 used* (2014 - 2020 model)
The SEAT Ibiza is stylish, which is likely to appeal to younger drivers. It’s comfortable and roomy, and yet looks impressively sporty.
Auto Express has high praise for the Ibiza’s safety features and in-car technology: “It gets a raft of safety, connectivity and luxury tech which is relatively new to this sector. Included is pedestrian detection with auto braking, adaptive cruise control and wireless charging for mobiles.”
Price: RRP £16,245 new, from £6,135 used*
If you’re looking for a car that suits a new driver and gives you peace of mind as a parent, one of these options may be just what you’re looking for.