The cheapest new cars for young drivers to insure

First cars young drivers

Plenty of factors come into play when choosing your first car, many of them involving money. Buy the wrong car and you could pay out more for your insurance premium than a down-payment. This list of the 10 cheapest cars for new drivers factors in insurance, buying and fuel, and comes courtesy of Compare the Market. We’ve ordered the list based on insurance premiums, so let’s count them down…

10. Seat Ibiza

First cars young drivers

We begin with the Seat Ibiza. Cousin to the Volkswagen Polo, it adds a bit of Spanish style to the German dependability beneath its skin.

The Ibiza range starts at £15,600 for the basic 1.0-litre petrol. It achieves fuel economy of 50.4mpg, but insurance is a bit pricey. The average premium is £1,199.

9. Volkswagen Polo

First cars young drivers

Volkswagen’s sub-Golf supermini has long been a popular choice among new drivers, bringing strong resale values – thank the VW badge – and solid quality to the table.

The Polo range opens with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol. It produces 80hp and can manage 48.7mpg, according to official tests. It’s in insurance group six, three above the Ibiza, although the average premium is cheaper, at £1,160.

8. Renault Clio

First cars young drivers

Another long-serving favourite of the first-time driver is the Renault Clio. Safe, stylish and affordable, the Clio has been popular with the newest to our roads for more than 25 years.

The cheapest new Clio will cost you £14,295. It’s more efficient than the Polo and Ibiza, eking out 54.3mpg from its 1.0-litre TCe engine. It’s the last remaining car on this list with an insurance premium over £1,000, costing £1,117 on average.

7. Fiat Panda

First cars young drivers

Fiat’s quirky small car might sit in the shadow of the 500, but it keeps the attention of the budget-conscious driver. It’s going mild-hybrid in 2020, which will improve fuel economy and emissions.

The entry-level 1.2-litre petrol Panda is good for 44.1mpg – not up to the standards of previous entries. With a £10,080 starting price, it does undercut them by more than £4,000, however. It’s also cheaper to insure; a group three rating means an average premium of £915.

6. Hyundai i10

First cars young drivers

Likewise, the Hyundai i10 has long been a champion of the budget-conscious. It may not have the style or badge kudos of others, but it comes with an impressive five-year warranty.

The i10 can be yours for £10,025 if you choose the 68hp 1.0-litre engine. It’ll return 55mpg if you drive carefully, and cost £915 on average to insure.

5. Peugeot 108

First cars young drivers

The Peugeot 108/Citroen C1/Toyota Aygo triplets have been on sale for 15 years now. Tiny engines, low running costs and excellent maneuverability give them enduring appeal.

The 108 is a little more expensive than its Citroen sibling (found further up this list), starting at £12,265. It’ll deliver an impressive 55mpg from its 1.0-litre petrol engine and insurance is group six. That’s an average premium of £899.

4. Skoda Citigo

First cars young drivers

Skoda has recently discontinued the petrol-powered Citigo in favour of the iV electric version. If you can find one at a dealer, it’s likely to be great value.

List prices for the petrol Citigo started at £8,890 and it achieves 54.3mpg. As for insurance, that will set you back £871 on average.

3. Fiat 500

First cars young drivers

After 13 years on sale, the Fiat 500 is still going strong. Its inimitable sense of style perhaps outweighs the fact it’s behind on tech and rather long in the tooth. Like the Panda, it’s also going mild-hybrid for 2020.

At present, you can get into a 500 for £12,165. Its 70hp 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine manages 51.3mpg and it’s insurance group two – with average premiums of £870.

2. Citroen C1

First cars young drivers

Another of the Citroyogeot triplets, here’s the Citroen C1. It bests its French relative on price while, depending on your opinion, sacrificing a bit of style. It’s probably the more sensible choice of the two.

Especially because it undercuts the Peugeot’s opening price by almost £2,000. It can be had for £10,470, with a 1.0-litre engine good for 56mpg. Its other trump card over the 108 is insurance. The average premium is £868.

1. Volkswagen Up

First cars young drivers

The overall winner, however, is the Volkswagen Up. Like the Lupo that came long before it, the Up is perhaps the defining small car of its decade. Stylish, quirky, fun and well made, the Up ticks all the boxes for plenty of people.

Prices for the VW kick off at £9,260 and it offers 54.3mpg. Where it beats the Citigo is on insurance, with an average cost of £818. That makes it the cheapest car to insure here.

Bill Plant named the best driving school in the UK

Bill Plant Driving School Volkswagen T-Roc

The Bill Plant Driving School has been named National Driving School of the Year at the Intelligent Instructor Awards 2019.

It was one of two awards for the company, with the driving school also scooping the Driver Instructor of the Year award for one of its driving instructors in Scotland.

Three driving schools were up for the national award, with the judges looking for a company that actively supports its pupils and instructors.

Customer service, innovation and effective instruction were other factors taken into consideration.

Last year, Volkswagen became the sole vehicle supplier for Bill Plant, with the company using T-Roc and Golf models.

The T-Rocs available to learner drivers are 1.6 TDI SE models, with the Golfs boasting the same engine but the SE Match trim. There’s a small premium for drivers to receive tuition in the T-Roc.

According to Bill Plant figures, the average learner will spend £1,222.47 on driving lessons, plus an additional £23 for a theory test and £62 for their practical driving test.

Drivers aged 17 and 18 have the highest first-time pass rate of any age group (50 percent overall). Of the 1,266,796 Brits who passed their theory test between April 2018 and March 2019, only 761,791 went on to pass their practical test.

‘Happiness and success’

Bill Plant Driving School Volkswagen

Tom Hixon, head of instructor support at Bill Plant, said: “We’re thrilled to have won the award for National Driving School of the Year, this is something our driving instructors across the UK can join in with us to celebrate our collective success.

“We’ve made some significant improvements within the business over the last couple of years, with the happiness and success of instructors and pupils at the forefront of everything we do.

“It’s great to have our hard work and achievements recognised – especially when you’re up against such well known competitors – and we’re excited to continue to further enhance the business and take Bill Plant to the next level.”

Nervous new drivers are avoiding ‘routine’ driving situations

Nervous young drivers

A survey of 1,000 UK drivers has revealed some interesting insights into the habits of new drivers. This includes deliberately avoiding certain routine driving situations.

Parking predicament

According to the data, over a third of respondents (36 percent) said they actively avoided having to parallel park, while more than a quarter said that they will go the extra mile, or few miles, to park in a way that doesn’t involve reversing in.

Outside lane anxiety

Thirty percent of respondents said that the outside lane of a motorway was a lane too far for their nerves behind the wheel. 

Nervous young drivers

Just over a fifth (22 percent) said that they’d go out of their way to avoid junctions and roundabouts that take them out of their comfort zone. Similarly, 22 percent said they’d do the same to avoid hills.

In other words, many new drivers don’t feel confident driving on much of the UK’s road network. So much so, that ten percent said they’d be happier behind the wheel if their car had dual controls, so that passengers could intervene if needed.

That completes the top five, which reads as follows:

  1. Parallel parking
  2. The outside lane on dual carriageways/motorways
  3. Reverse parking into an enclosed space
  4. Steep hills which might require a hill start
  5. ‘Tricky’ junctions or roundabouts

Nervous young drivers

“It seems the UK’s drivers are passing their test and still feeling extremely nervous about many of the quite routine manoeuvres and situations you face on the roads,” said Sue Waterfield, head of marketing for Young Driver

“However, it’s understandable given the average learner only has 40 to 50 hours of driving before they pass their test. It stands to reason that the more experience young people have behind the wheel, the better a driver they will be – and the more ‘automatic’ those basic skills become.”

Young drivers could be banned from the road at night

Young drivers not allowed to drive at night

New plans announced by the Department of Transport could see young drivers banned from the road at night. This would be part of a graduated licence system for new drivers.

The graduated system is proposed under the Road Safety Action Plan in response to figures which suggest that a fifth of new drivers are involved in an accident within the first year of driving. Along with restricting driving at night, the scheme would look at minimum learning periods, and not driving with passengers under a specified age.

What do young drivers want to be tested on?

The length of this transitional period for novice drivers has not been specified. Present rules state that new drivers should have their licence revoked if they accumulate six points within their first two years on the road. Normally, 12 points are the maximum, with the accumulation of more resulting in the loss of a licence.

‘Help new drivers to stay safe’

Young drivers not allowed to drive at night

“We want to explore in greater detail how graduated driver licensing, or aspects of it, can help new drivers to stay safe and reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads,” said road safety minister, Michael Ellis.

Responses to the proposal have been mixed. Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for the road safety charity Brake has said that, “we must do all we can to keep young drivers safe and this starts with making our licensing process more robust.”

Similarly, Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) “believes that it will allow young drivers to gain valuable experience, while reducing the risks associated with night-time driving and the carrying of multiple passengers.”

Effective enforcement required

Young drivers not allowed to drive at night

The RAC and the AA are worried about whether such restrictions could harm employability for some young people, for example those who work night shifts.

“Graduated driver licensing has the benefit of providing a more controlled environment when learning how to drive, however, this must be balanced so it does not disadvantage young drivers who need to use vehicles for night work” said RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes.

“We certainly would welcome a minimum learning period, or indeed a minimum number of learning hours required, while there may also be merits in restricting new drivers from carrying some passengers at certain times of the day and possibly even having a stricter drink-drive limit for new drivers.

“But we would also encourage the Government to look closely at providing incentives for the uptake of telematics-based policies for new drivers, and consider how any new rules governing new drivers can be effectively enforced.”

Young drivers not allowed to drive at night

The AA registers similar sentiments, with president Edmund King adding: “For many people, excessive post-test restrictions could negate the purpose of them having a driving licence in the first place – such as driving to work on early or late shifts when public transport is not convenient.

“This is why any post-test restrictions must be properly researched and piloted first to ensure they do not place an unnecessary burden on new drivers.”

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Younger drivers most likely to trigger serious accident alerts


Britain’s biggest black box car insurance company has released new data that appears to show that some of the riskiest drivers on our roads are also some of the youngest.

Insurethebox has been providing telematics-based car insurance since 2010. It recently analysed its records for 2017 – and has found that, from 4 million miles of driving data, drivers aged 17-21 were responsive for more than 7 in 10 of the most serious ‘high impact collision alerts’ via its Accident Alert service.

These alerts are auto-generated when dangerous incidents are detected. It works in a similar way to eCall, the automatic emergency call function that’s now mandatory on new cars sold in the EU.

The alerts are triggered when a significant G-force is registered: the system will examine the time of day, whether the vehicle is still moving, and what road the car is on. If it senses an accident is a possibility, contact with the driver is automatically attempted. If this unsuccessful, the emergency services can remotely be alerted by an operator.


For younger drivers to generate such a high proportion of the highest-level collision alerts is naturally damming, but the firm is framing it as a positive: “Our Accident Alert service is an example of telematics technology making UK roads safer,” said its road safety manager Simon Rewell.

“We provide young drivers with the benefits of connected motoring – and they don’t need to buy a brand new car to access it.” 

Insurethebox revealed some other interesting findings from the data: it seems drivers who trigger Accident Alerts between midnight and 5am are six times more likely to require emergency services, with 43 percent of all accident alerts being triggered after 5pm.

The highest number of alerts throughout the year were triggered in December, while vehicles on a 30mph road are six times more likely to trigger an alert than those on a motorway, no matter what time of year it is.

Read more:

Rising costs forcing young drivers off the road


Rising insurance costs, mounting debts and the cost of lessons are to blame for young people being priced out of driving. That’s according to research commissioned by InsuretheGap, which found that 22% of under 25s cannot afford to learn to drive.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) says that the average cost of a driving lesson in the UK is £24, and you’ll need to factor in the cost of a provisional licence (£34 if you pay online), the theory test (£23), and a practical driving test (£62 weekdays or £75 evenings, weekends and bank holidays).

Assuming you have 10 lessons, that’s a total cost of £359, before you’ve considered the cost of insurance and the actual car. Passing first time could save you time and money.

More young driver news on Motoring Research:

Car insurance is a further barrier, with the average cost of a policy just under £3,900 for a 17- to 20-year-old driver. Little wonder, then, that an online petition called for car insurance for 18- to 25-year-olds to be capped at £1,200 a year.

InsuretheGap’s survey went on to say that without the support of parents or a bank loan, a quarter of young drivers would be unable to buy a car, and 24% said they would like to buy a car but would be unable to cover the running costs.

“When one in six jobs specifies that the applicant must have a driving licence, this generation are potentially being held back by their lack of wheels,” said Ben Wooltorton, director at

“The RAC Foundation analysed 847,000 job vacancies last year and found that jobs requiring a valid licence ranged from a zoo worker, a chef, sales consultant, security guard, hairdresser and even gymnastics coach, so we’re not just talking about driving jobs here”.

If you want to go out, don’t buy a car

Meanwhile, a similar study into the cost of motoring conducted by Admiral found that motorists under the age of 25 are having to fork out £3,435 a year to stay behind the wheel. This cost is broken as follows:

  • Fuel: £1,077
  • Insurance: £1,014
  • Maintenance: £558
  • Vehicle Excise Duty: £411
  • MOT costs: £375

The research claims that motoring is forcing young drivers to sacrifice social plans to stay on the road. Around two-thirds shelved plans to go shopping, while 60% decided against attending a music festival. Nearly half of under 25s were forced into abandoning holiday plans and smartphone upgrades, while 60% cancelled a romantic date.

Let’s just hope you love your car enough to forgo the opportunity for a candlelit meal with somebody you ‘met’ on Tinder.

Young drivers warned: lie about your insurance and lose your car

Young drivers warned: lie about your insurance and lose your car

Young drivers warned: lie about your insurance and lose your car

The RAC has discovered that almost half of young drivers are willing to name a parent as the main driver of their car in a bid to save money on insurance.

The motoring organisation’s survey of 500 17 to 24-year-olds found that 47% didn’t see the problem with ‘fronting’ – despite it being an illegal practice that could leave your car uninsured.

This is despite the majority (57%) of young motorists questioned admitting they realise the act is against the law.

“Fronting is where someone other than the main driver of a car is said to be the policyholder,” said the RAC’s insurance director Mark Godfrey. “In the case of a young driver who is the most frequent driver of a vehicle, this tends to be a parent with a longer, proven good track record as a driver and therefore attracts a lower insurance premium than their son or daughter would.”

With 18- to 20-year-old drivers paying £993 a year for car insurance on average, it’s not a surprise to see young people resorting to desperate measures in a bid to save cash.

The RAC says that young men know more than young women about fronting – perhaps because of the myth that males pay more for their insurance than women.

Godfrey added: “It’s important for anyone who has done this to realise that it could result in invalidating the policy for everyone covered by it, not just the young driver concerned. What’s more, its illegal activities like this that increase the overall cost of insurance for all young drivers.

“The fact our research shows more young males are aware of fronting may be because they think their insurance premiums will be higher than young women’s which, of course, is no longer the case since the EU ruling that gender cannot be used in determining premium prices.”

If drivers are found to be fronting, their insurance company might refuse to pay out in the case of a crash, and could force them to compensate for damage caused to other vehicles.

You could also be refused insurance in the future, be charged more – and the police could hit you with a £300 fine and six penalty points for driving without insurance. Your car could also be confiscated.

The RAC says young drivers should reduce their car insurance costs by legal methods such as buying a car with a smaller engine or having a telematics ‘black box’ system fitted to monitor their driving behaviour.

This electric car can be driven by a five-year-old

This electric car can be driven by a five-year-old

This electric car can be driven by a five-year-old

A UK manufacturer has developed an electric car that can be driven by a child as young as five – with sensors to detect obstacles and a remote-control allowing adults to stop it if required.

The makers of the Firefly say it “handles and drives like a full-sized car”, and fills a gap between ‘toys’ aimed at under-fives and ‘real’ cars, able to be driven from the age of 10 through Admiral’s Young Driver scheme.

The two-seater is powered by two electric motors, providing a top speed restricted to 10mph. It uses hydraulic disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, independent suspension, and even an electronic tablet-based dashboard.

It can be operated in Junior or Experienced mode – with the former limiting top speed to 5mph and using sensors to bring the car to a halt if it detects an obstacle.

This electric car can be driven by a five-year-old

In either mode, a supervising adult can bring the car to a halt using a remote control switch which can be operated from 120m away.

Young Driver head, Kim Stanton, said: “Firefly is something very special, it’s a real car in its own right, designed, engineered and manufactured in the Midlands, Great Britain – home of the car industry.

“We know that youngsters will enjoy driving it and that through this they will learn about road safety, finding out about the basics of driving and gaining a better understanding of how it feels to be behind the wheel. That can only be of benefit when it comes to them being pedestrians, cyclists and future motorists out there on the roads.”

Revealed in pre-production prototype form at the Gadget Show earlier this year, the Firefly is now being officially launched –  with a price tag in the region of £5,750 plus VAT when it goes on sale next year.

That’s strong money for a car that won’t legally be able to be driven on the roads, but children will be able to have a 20 minute driving lesson in the Firefly for £19.99 through the Young Driver programme.

Young drivers in the UK most likely to be distracted by 'attractive pedestrians'

Young drivers in UK most likely to be distracted by ‘attractive pedestrians’

Young drivers in the UK most likely to be distracted by 'attractive pedestrians'

Drivers aged between 18 and 24 in the UK are more likely to be distracted by ‘attractive pedestrians’ than anywhere else in Europe.

That’s according to research by Ford, which questioned 6,500 young drivers across Europe about the risks they take behind the wheel.

The survey found that two thirds of young drivers admit to being more relaxed about their driving in summer – which explains why motorists in this age group account for 21% of road deaths during the summer months. This drops to 15% at other times of the year.

Ford is offering free training for young drivers through its Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) programme. By the end of the year, 20,000 drivers across 13 European countries will have benefited from the scheme.

DSFL manager Jim Graham said: “Summer is a great time to enjoy the freedom of driving, which is as much a part of being young today as it was for previous generations. But too many young adults are dying in car crashes caused by a combination of inexperience and poor decision making.”

The majority of young driver fatalities involve young men, and the Ford survey confirms they are more likely to engage in risky behaviour.

Young men are three times as likely as young women to be distracted by attractive pedestrians, while 25% have been stopped by the police compared to 16% of women.

They’re also more likely to speed, use mobile phones while driving and drive after consuming alcohol.

Graham added: “It is crucial that we find the right way to reach young people with these very important messages and to ensure that as many drivers as possible have the opportunity to benefit from DSFL training.”

Alarmingly, 57% of young drivers admit to driving more safely with parents or grandparents in the car, and 41% said they would take more risks with friends in the car.