Best cars for learner drivers

We’re taking a look at the best cars to learn to drive in for those who are looking to get their first set of wheels!

learner getting new car
Learning to drive is one of the best things about turning 17. The freedom of the open road awaits you and soon you will no longer have to ask Mum or Dad for a lift. That’s why so many young people choose to get learner insurance so they can start private practice as well as driving lessons with an instructor – because it will help them get that pass and the freedom quicker!
Lots of young drivers choose to get in this extra practice behind the wheel of a parent’s car. For others, some choose to buy their own car before passing, which is absolutely fine to do, and often a great choice if you’re able to do so – it means you can get comfortable and confident in driving the car you’ll be using once you pass.
So, what is the best car for a 17-year-old learner? Well, it depends and there’s a few things you should consider when it comes to getting on the road at 17. Take a look at our top tips for getting on the road as a learner driver below, as well as the cars the learners who are insured with Marmalade are using!

Consider the cost

Working out what you can afford to buy, and run is essential. There’s a few different options to consider:

  • You may consider buying an older car – because older means cheaper, right? Well, no, not always. Sometimes they can often cost more to run, insure and maintain over a newer car

  • You may look to buy a new car - New cars are more fuel efficient, have better safety features and often are cheaper to insure. Whilst the cost of the car itself will be higher than a second hand one, things like fuel, insurance, tax and maintenance costs also need to be considered

  • You may want to share the family car - this can often be the cheapest option, as the young driver themselves doesn’t need to buy any car, only the insurance for them to drive Mum or Dads car. This is a great way if, as a young driver, you don’t quite know what car you want to get when you pass.

Think about the long term use

When it comes to actually passing your test and buying a car, some young drivers like to get something similar to, if not the same as, what they are learning to drive in with their instructor. Afterall, they know what this car is like, have experience driving it, and won’t have to think about the differences in brakes or biting points that many cars have.
Having said that, other learners like to completely mix it up and get something totally out of their comfort zone that will see them through years to come after passing their test. It’s all about personal preference – sometimes it’s best having a small car to learn to drive in, but it’s also worth considering what you will use the car for once you pass. For instance, if you’re an avid golf player and know you’ll be spending every weekend at the driving range, something to fit the clubs in is probably the best way to go!

The best cars for learner drivers in the UK

Whichever car you decide to get – there is nothing more exciting than getting on the road at 17. For those who are considering buying a car to learn in, we’re here to help! We decided to take a look at the best cars for 17 year old learners, by looking at the top cars young drivers have used to practice their driving last year with Marmalade Insurance. Will any of the cars on this list spark your interest when it comes deciding what to learn to drive in?

Top 10 cars to learn to drive in


Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is Britain’s best-selling car of all time and it continues to be one of the top choices for learner drivers again and again. It’s safe, compact, stylish, reliable and cheap to run. It also has loads of safety features and things to help when driving, like Active Park Assist, Lane Keeping Aid and Cruise Control – all things that make driving that little bit easier. Might this just be the best small car for learner drivers?

Vauxhall Corsa

Everyone loves the Vauxhall Corsa, right?! It’s a great choice for any new driver. Vauxhall are renowned for high quality and reliable cars, something any learner will be looking for when buying a set of wheels. The new model Corsa comes with 5 doors as standard but is still very easy to handle and park, so the extra room in the car doesn’t compromise the driving style and it’s super easy to drive.

Volkswagen Polo

VW Polo
Volkswagen have been making the Polo since 1975 and it’s always been popular with young drivers. It’s fun, diverse and great in size which means it’ll see you through from being a nervous new driver to reliable road user! It comes with a heap of safety features too which makes driving it even better!

Volkswagen Golf

vW Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is an absolute legend in the motoring world and will continue to be for years to come -making it the perfect car for any young driver. It’s classy, well-engineered, stylish, reliable and fun. What more could you want in a first car?

Fiat 500

Fiat 500
This fun, quirky and retro inspired car is one of the best sellers year on year. It’s great on fuel and keeps running costs low(47-72mpg). Not only that, it’s light and easy to handle, and definitely looks the part! The new Fiat 500 Mild Hybrid range even allows young drivers to have lower C02 emissions and help resolve sea pollution – with the introduction of recycled fibre made from plastic collected from the sea which is used in the interior! It’s easily one of the best small cars for learner drivers.

Renault Clio

The new Clio is a showstopper and stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons. With 5 doors, plenty of space inside, brilliant driving comfort, and great savings on MPG and road tax costs, it’s easy to see why so many learner drivers opt for the Clio! Not only that but it comes in a range of different colour options so you can really make it your own!

Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra
The latest Astra is in its seventh generation and looks and drives better than ever! It comes with plenty of space, fully kitted out with great tech and will keep you going for years to come, it’s super reliable! Not only that, but it’s also pretty good when it comes to costs too, with road tax at only £130 for a year – the latest version has lower fuel consumption and has cut C02 emissions from the previous model by 19%!


Mini Cooper
A great option for a first car is a Mini – usually either a Mini Cooper or a Mini One are the popular choice, whichever funds allow for. They’re quirky and quintessentially British, and probably something many young drivers have dreamt of owning one day! Not only that, but they’re great to drive and help young drivers feel fully in control of their car!

Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo
This fun, quirky car by Toyota is a great first car option. It’s small in size but big on style and comes with loads of options for personalisation to really make it your own. The Aygo inside is comfortable to drive and has a quality build so you know you can rely on this small car to get you where you need to be!

Seat Ibiza

seat ibiza
There’s a reason why young drivers love the SEAT Ibiza so much – it has everything you could need as a new driver – safety features and things that make it great to drive. Whilst it may be a little bigger than other new car options, it’s a car that will see any young driver through for years to come for its space, reliability and practicality.

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