First cars in the 1980s vs today!

Are the cars that were popular in the 1980s a distant memory or are they still popular today? We're taking a look!


We love looking back on how driving has changed over the years – from the times when the parents of the young drivers now, were young drivers themselves! Here we’re looking at the best first cars from the 1980s.

Top 5 cars for young drivers in the 80s & 90s!

Best first cars for young drivers today

You may be surprised to discover that the favourite cars of young drivers in the 80s and the favourite cars of young drivers today aren’t as different as you think! We’ve compiled a list of the Best First Cars for young drivers, with the standout qualities for each and also some of the main things to look out for when buying a new set of wheels.


Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta 1980s
The Ford Fiesta is a supermini that has dominated the car market since 1976. This was the way Ford would compete with other popular cars at the time like the Fiat 127 and the Renault 5. Not only did it compete, it blew them out of the water! Young drivers at the time were smitten for the Ford Fiesta and loved by everyone. There was even a model for the boy racers, the XR2 version released in 1984 would get you from 0-60 in 9.3 seconds which was very quick for its day!

Vauxhall Nova

Vauxhall Nova
This classic car was launched in 1983 and was available as a two or five door hatchback, as well as a two/four door saloon (but the latter never really took off as much). To compete against the Ford Fiesta and Austin Metro in the 80s, Vauxhall threw the Nova in the ring and it did pretty well – selling nearly 500,000 in the UK alone. Any young drivers reading this may not remember the Vauxhall Nova and that’s ok – because when they released the second generation, Vauxhall decided to drop the Nova name and opt for something we think you may recognise… Corsa!

Morris Mini

Morris Mini
The launch of the Morris Mini Minor in 1959 stole the hearts of people all over the world. Their small size, quirky looks and great performance made these cars great for young drivers then and now! They became even more popular in the 1980s (of course, who doesn’t want to feel like they’re starring in The Italian Job?) The designer of the Mini switched between companies over the years (British Leyland, Rover, Austin etc) but all had the cool and quirky look we’ve come to know and love!

Austin/MG Metro

Austin Metro
Launched in 1980 as the Austin Mini Metro, this car was intended to complement and eventually replace the Mini. It quickly became a very popular car for young drivers and was named What Car? Car of The Year in 1983. In total there were over 2 million Metros made before production stopped in 1998 – it didn’t replace the Mini but instead became a great car in its own right.

VW Polo

VW Polo
In 1975 Volkswagen launched the VW Polo but it wasn’t until the introduction of the Polo Mk 2 coupé in 1981 that young drivers really took it to their hearts. Since the launch there have been more than 14 million Polos sold around the world with 1.2 million of them in the UK. These quality and affordable cars were all the rage in the 80s, and still are!

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