Best cars for young drivers and how to afford them

For a young person who has just passed their test, going out car shopping for the first time has to be one of the highlights of their teenage years. For someone who previously had to rely on public transport or mum’s ‘taxi service’ to get around, finally getting their own car holds the promise of freedom, fun and endless adventure.

However, when the excitement dies down it’s time to face the reality of being a young driver on today’s roads. With fuel costs at an all-time high and the price of insurance for a young driver often outweighing the value of the car, it can be tricky to balance the desire to own something fast and flashy against the need to be able to pay for it.

Here we feature the best cars for young drivers:

Tax Busting Cars
Because of the way road tax is calculated today, modern cars with very low CO2 emissions qualify for free road tax. Some of the popular choices include:

The Kia Picanto
free for the 1.0l model, buy new from £7,700 The Fiat 500 – free on the 0.9 TwinAir. Very cool retro styling but with a £11,500 price tag and a long waiting list it’s best to look for a used model.

Insurance Beaters
Low powered cars are not only economical to drive, but also attract a lower insurance premium, which for young drivers is a seriously high priority:

Citroen C1
Cheap to run and the lowest insurance group. Buy new and you’ll often be offered between 1-3 years free insurance and servicing.

Vauxhall Corsa 
Yes it’s in this list too. Models from 2006 onwards with smaller engines are group 1 insurance, and a top choice for young drivers

Running Rich
Getting to the heart of the matter, these three cars offer the lowest pence per mile running costs when it comes to buying and fuelling the vehicle:

The 60bhp three-door version of this city car costs just 12.3p per mile to run at today’s fuel prices.

Skoda Citigo 
Cheap to buy and with the same running costs as the SEAT, this has to be a winner for cash-strapped youngsters

Finding the cash

If you are buying used, you might be able to raise the full amount yourself, with a little creative planning. Top tips for raising cash for your car include:

  • Selling old CDs, consoles and games online
  • Find out if you can weigh in clothes for cash 
  • Get a part time job (if you are still in education) 
  • Babysit, or do household chores for friends and neighbours 
  • Make money online by doing surveys for cash

If you plan to buy new, it can be tempting to rush into the first finance deal you see, but often the interest rates on hire purchase deals are much higher than you’d get with your own bank. Sizeable ‘balloon payments’ at the end of the term make these deals less attractive options than the dealers would have you think.

Getting a personal loan is often the cheapest way to do things, but try to raise as much cash as you can to put towards it to get the best rates on your finance.