The cheapest cars to insure for young drivers

If you’ve just passed your driving test, cheap car insurance is probably not the thing that’s exciting you most, but it’s one of the first things you should consider before buying your first car.  
 
So, which are the cheapest cars to insure for young drivers? 

If you’ve just passed your driving test, cheap car insurance is probably not the thing that’s exciting you most, but it’s one of the first things you should consider before buying your first car.  
 
So, which are the cheapest cars to insure for young drivers? 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
5
minute read
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Posted 26 APRIL 2021

What to look for in your first car

The best cars for first-time drivers should be cheap to run and as cheap as possible to insure. That’s the Maserati off the wish list then.  
 
There’s no point in splashing out on the car of your dreams if you can’t afford to run it. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun to drive though.  
 
In general, the best cars for young drivers should be: 

  • Cheap to run: Check out the miles per gallon (MPG) - the lower, the better
  • Easy to drive: This'll help build your confidence 
  • Simple to park: Look out for park-assist features 
  • Safe: Go for cars with a high Euro NCAP safety rating score 

These could all help bring the cost of your car insurance down.  

Check out the car insurance group

Car insurance is responsible for more than half of overall car running costs (53%) and can put a major dent in your finances, especially if you’re a younger driver. So, boring as it is, it’s one of the top things to consider when buying your first car.  
 
When you’ve shortlisted your choice of cars, check which insurance group they’re in. All cars are put into insurance groups, making it easier for providers to calculate the cost of premiums based on the risk of a claim being made. Car insurance groups range from 1 to 50. As a general rule, the higher the group, the more expensive your car insurance will be.  
 
Factors considered include: 

  • New car value 
  • Performance – engine size, 0-60 acceleration time and top speed  
  • Price of parts 
  • Repair costs and how long it would take to repair 
  • Safety – Euro NCAP safety rating and automatic emergency braking (AEB) features 
  • Security features like manufacturer-fitted alarms and immobilisers

If you choose an expensive model with a powerful engine and costly replacement parts, it will most likely be in a higher insurance group.  
 
To help keep the cost of your insurance down, you’ll want to look for a car in the lower groups, say 1-5. 

New or used?

Not many first-time drivers can afford a brand-new car straight out of the showroom. But you may find there’s an affordable choice out there, especially smaller, compact city cars and superminis – ideal first cars for teenagers.

Advantages of buying a new car include:

  • Manufacturer’s warranty – you’re covered for any faults that may crop up in the first few years
  • You can choose the colour, trim and any optional extras you want to add
  • Finance options could allow you to spread out the cost of your new car over time
  • Latest technology and gadgets – for example, USB ports and Android Auto
  • No previous owners and maintenance history to worry about
  • Easier to upgrade to a higher-spec model further down the line

There are also advantages of buying a used car:

  • Usually cheaper to buy outright
  • You're unlikely to be hit with the depreciation as much – new cars can lose up to 60% of their value in the first three years
  • No waiting period – as soon as the payment and paperwork are done, you can drive it away
  • There’ll be plenty of choice, even on a low budget
  • Online sites, buying guides and car valuation tools make it easier than ever to do your research

Best first cars for young drivers 

Based on the cost of cheaper car insurance, this is our pick of the best cars for 17-24-year-olds: 

Model

Insurance group

Average premium**

Volkswagen Up!

1

£636

Citroën C1

1

£704

Peugeot 108

6

£705

Hyundai i10

1

£719

Fiat 500

5

£723

Ford Ka

3

£745

Vauxhall Adam

2

£747

Kia Picanto

2

£762

Toyota Aygo

2

£775

Peugeot 107

3

£776

1. Volkswagen Up!

For a value-for-money city car, you can’t go wrong with the Up! Volkswagen’s compact vehicle has ample space for drivers, passengers and belongings, and is a surprisingly affordable run-around. Some models even include a detachable infotainment system. 
 
Lowest insurance group: 1 
 
Used price range: approx. £4,000 - £13,000

2. Citroën C1

Citroën is among the big names in the world of small cars. The C1 comes in three and five-door options, with the choice of a penny-pinching 1 litre engine too. But it’s the range of trims available and the emphasis on comfort and safety that make all the difference. 
 
Lowest insurance group: 1 
 
Used price range: approx. £2,000-£8,000 

3. Peugeot 108

Peugeot’s city car may seem like a more mature option compared to other small cars on the market. This pared-down vehicle doesn’t neglect the mod cons that young drivers look for in their first car.  
 
Lowest insurance group: 6 
 
Used price range: approx. £3,000 - £8,000 

4. Hyundai i10

There have been three incarnations of the i10 since it was first released, each one better than the last. The latest model boasts a 252-litre boot which makes it one of the most spacious city cars on the market. The interior feels roomy, with enough space to comfortably fit two adults in the back. 
 
Lowest insurance group: 1 
 
Used price range: approx. £3,000 - £15,000 

5. Fiat 500

The self-proclaimed ‘icon’ of city cars has won a legion of loyal fans.  A future classic, it’s great to look at and is available with a soft top for new drivers who can’t get enough of the sun.   
 
Lowest insurance group: 5 
 
Used price range: approx. £5,000 - £18,000 

6. Ford Ka

Originally launched in 1996, it wasn’t until 2008 that Ford gave the distinctive city car a facelift. Models after this year tend to be more comfortable and sophisticated than the first-generation Ka and well worth keeping an eye out for.  
 
Lowest insurance group: 3 
 
Used price range: approx. £1,000 - £4,000 

7. Vauxhall Adam

The Adam is one of the most customisable small cars on the market. New models were sold with the option of 12 exterior colours, three roof colours and 20 wheel designs. The perfect choice for a new driver who’s keen to express themselves - if you can find the perfect combination, of course. 
 
Lowest insurance group: 2 
 
Used price range: approx. £6,000 - £11,000 

8. Kia Picanto

If you’re tempted by the reliable Picanto, keep an eye out for models built from 2011 onwards. The Korean manufacturers turned on the style for the second-generation city car and the good looks remain with new models too. A well-built, affordable and cheap-to-run first car. 
 
Lowest insurance group: 2 
 
Used price range: approx. £3,000 - £15,000 

9. Toyota Aygo

Pronounced ‘I go’, Toyota’s supermini does exactly what it says on the tin, with a reliable engine that ensures it will run for years to come. Drivers are sat relatively high for a clear view of the road, and a tiny turning circle makes parking a breeze. 
 
Lowest insurance group: 2 
 
Used price range: approx. £3,000 - £14,000 

10. Peugeot 107

You won’t have to look far for an affordable 107. The pint-sized supermini has been a big seller for many years and features heavily in used car listings. The distinctive rear window finished with a black tint gives this car more character than your average run-around. 
 
Lowest insurance group: 3 
 
Used price: approx. £3,000 - £5,000 

**Average price amount based on Compare the Market data from November 2020 to January 2021, where total enquiries are over 1,000. The average is based on all variations of the vehicle model and uses risk data from people with different age ranges, addresses and driving histories. You may find a cheaper or more expensive quote based on your circumstances. 

Compare car insurance for young drivers 

The good news is that the cost of car insurance for young drivers has fallen, by £296 year-on-year. According to our latest Young Drivers figures, the average cost of a car insurance premium for 17-24 year olds is at its lowest level since our research began in 2012. But at £1,095, that’s not cheap.  
 
A way you could save money is to shop around and compare car insurance quotes for young drivers. Switching car insurance could save you over £177 by choosing a better deal, according to our latest Young Drivers Research. 
 
Compare car insurance quotes with us today, and see if you could find a cheaper deal.  

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