Best First Car

From the timeless Fiesta to the fabulous Fiat 500 and everything in between. Here’s Marmalade’s list of the best first cars for young drivers in 2022.

Girl celebrating new car
Congratulations, you passed your driving test! With so many brands, models, and options to consider it can be a headache, so we have put together a guide to the 10 best first cars for young drivers. The previous generation’s idea of a first car for young drivers after passing their test was a decent, yet cheap, old runaround as insurance costs were insanely high! However, now that we have more accessible and affordable credit options, your best first car to buy could actually be brand new.
What is the best first car to get? With such stiff competition, it’s difficult to state what is the best first car to buy, but ideally, it's simple to drive, affordable, cheap to insure with low running costs. It’s a huge bonus if it looks cool, is in a colour you like, and has a wicked stereo, but everyone has different needs when it comes to choosing the best first time cars. Quick tip! In today’s climate with increasing petrol prices, fuel economy is a priority so bear that in mind over aesthetics!
Hopefully, our top 10 cars have given you a little inspiration on what your new ride will be! It’s also important to remember that there are many things to consider when choosing your perfect car. Here are 4 things to look out for before buying a new set of wheels.

Best car insurance for first time drivers

Looking for a car in a low insurance group will help to keep running costs low, as they tend to be more economical and cheaper to insure. You reduce the cost of insurance further with a black box insurance policy.

Road Tax

Remember to check how much tax your new wheels will cost you – smaller cars with lower emissions will generally be cheaper to tax. It's good to know that if you finance a car through Marmalade, your first year’s tax will be paid for!


Check the Miles per Gallon figures for the cars you’re considering. This will help you to work out what running costs may be. Remember, newer cars tend to be more fuel-efficient than older models which will see you saving at the pump!


Safety is incredibly important and it could reduce the risk of a claim, which could save you money on your insurance too. Check your chosen cars NCAP safety rating, and check out other young drivers reviews to see what they think!

Ford Fiesta

Fod Fiesta 2022
Britain’s top-selling car of all time continues to be a solid best car for first time buyers thanks to its safety record, standard Ford reliability, and being a fun, easy drive. Fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto it’s perfect for today’s young, tech-obsessed driver. A large touchcreen infotainment system displays the SatNav and music apps, so there’s less risk of fines for mobile phone use. The innovative MyKey feature ensures safe driving with the ability to set a maximum speed and stereo volume, and there’s Active ParkAssist, Adaptive Cruise Contol and a Lane Keeping Aid to keep you safe behind the wheel.

Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa 2022
Another top-seller for many years, the Corsa makes the shortlist for best first car deals not just for sporty looks and excellent engineering but also its affordability. With low insurance and high fuel efficiency it’s a top contender. Technology fans won’t be disappointed as it boasts a 7” infotainment touchscreem to host SatNav and music apps, and the LED headlights and leather steering wheel make it a very sleek, best first car for a new driver. For those curious as to what is the best car for a teenager’s first car - this is it.

VW Polo

VW Polo 2022
A fantastic city car in a low insurance group, the Polo has been around for almost 50 years and continues to be a favourite best car for new drivers in the UK. Renowned for its build quality, comfort and space it’s surprisingly roomy inside and thanks to its reliability it holds on to its value. With impressive safety features like Pedestrian Detection and Front Assist with City Emergency Braking all helping to minimise the risk of accidents, the Polo is a smart choice as a best first car for a teenager.

Fiat 500

Fiat 500 2022
It’s easy to see why the Fiat 500 is considered one of the best cars for a first car. Based on its namesake from the 1950’s, the cute and classic, retro Mini-esque design makes it one of the most stylish small cars available. With a choice of either a diesel or petrol engine, it’s efficient on fuel (47-72 mpg) and is low on insurance costs. The Hybrid range has lower CO2 emissions and makes for a smoother, quieter drive, and the fact that the seats are made with recycled fibre made partly from plastic collected from the sea will please the eco-friendly drivers.

VW Golf

VW Golf 2022
While it’s one of the more expensive cars on the best first car list, this timeless classic has been topping charts and winning hearts for almost 50 years now. Spacious like the Polo and easy to drive, it’s well equipped with some impressive tech. A fully digital cockpit, wireless mobile phone charging and even voice control - say “hello Volkswagen” and your car will recognise your voice, personalise the air conditioning and respond to requests such as “Where can I find a Thai restaurant nearby?”. You can also control the SatNav, phone and entertainment system by voice so it’s a hit for the tech-savvy young driver.

Renault Clio

Renault Clio 2022
One of the more affordable options is the Renault Clio, yet it isn’t lacking when it comes to design, tech and overall appeal. This smart supermini boasts a large touchscreen for infotainment, and a layered interior design to rival the Audi A1. A 5 star safety rating, low insurance group and low running costs make this a very attractive package for new drivers. It’s impressingly spacious for all passengers and has a boot larger than its peers. With excellent value on finance deals it’s no surprise the Clio continues to feature in the top 10.

SEAT Ibiza

Seat Ibiza 2022
A consistent favourite amongst new drivers, the SEAT Ibiza boasts a sportier design than its mechanical twin, the Volkswagen Polo. With LED headlights, keyless entry and a very cool infotainment system that can mirror your phone’s display it will please the tech-savvy young driver. 5 doors and a spacious boot are standard so your passengers won’t be cramped, and with automatic emergency braking, safety is a key feature. If you’re looking for a car that’ll suit a young driver for years to come this is a smart choice.

Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra 2022
Now in its eighth generation and a trendier, sportier aesthetic than its predecessors, the Astra is sure to be a hit with new drivers this year. With the new ‘Vizor’ black-out front-end styling and sleek interior, it’s clear Vauxhall have upped their game with the Astra. The ‘Pure Panel Pro’ cockpit hosts two digital screens on the dashboard; one for the speedometer and rev counter, the other for the infotainment system. It’s got plenty of space plus it won’t break the bank with its running costs. Overall this British made car is top notch.

Ford Ka+

Ford Ka+ 2022
The Ka has been around for over 25 years now and has been rebranded as Ka+. Promising medium-car space for small-car money, it’s all about value. It’s surprisingly big inside. With more room than most city cars, it’s a sturdy, practical car - a best first car to buy for a teenager. With a 6.5” touchscreen, smartphone mirroring, air-conditioning, speed limiter and cruise control as standard this nippy city car suits first time buyers on a tight budget but in need of space. If you’re asking what's the best car for first time drivers, then the Ka+ ticks all boxes.

Audi A1

Audi A1 2022
A popular choice with new drivers who can afford to spend a little more on their first wheels, the Audi A1 is aimed at the young, urban audience. Audi oozes quality and reliability, so this stylish car is a perfect option for new drivers. It’s smart inside, and roomy too. With a steering wheel from the TT, the Virtual Cockpit is fully digital and the infotainment screen is touchscreen only. The A1 is a smooth ride, nevr failing to bring a smile when you’re behind the wheel.

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