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You’ve passed your driving test, gained a new independence or decided to move away from a life of public transport. Yes, it’s time to buy that first car.

For a first time driver, it’s important that you do your research before taking the plunge. Although buying a new car may feel tempting, this will be an expensive choice for a first time driver! There’s a great choice of affordable ‘nearly-new’ cars on the market, so take your time, and have a look at what’s available.

Small city cars a great option for new drivers – not only because they are easier to park and handle, but they’re also usually cheaper to insure.

Now comes the crucial decision – which one to go for?

1. Ford Fiesta

The Fiesta is the UK’s best-selling car of all time, and is popular with first time drivers.. It drives well, looks good and features a range of perky engines that deliver staggering fuel economy (up to 88mpg on some diesels). Insurance and tax are cheap as chips and with a wide range of specifications available, there’s a used Ford Fiesta to suit any budget at Carbase. 

2. Toyota Aygo

As far as urban run-arounds go, they don’t come much better than the Aygo. It really is the ultimate city car with an ultra-frugal, yet surprisingly nippy, 1.0-litre petrol engine keeping running costs minimal. Some clever tweaks under the bonnet also mean minimal emissions, so much so that you’ll pay a maximum of £20 tax annually and avoid city congestion charges too. Our stock of used Toyota Aygo’s are available in a range of colours and specifications enabling you to find the perfect one.

3. Suzuki Swift

A hidden gem, Suzuki’s success on the world’s rally stages with the Swift in the noughties was directly incorporated into the road car. The result is a real driver’s car with the best handling and most responsive steering in the class as well as a stylish design and sporty interior. The cabin is roomy and trim levels are excellent. Despite all this you’ll still benefit from low insurance. Low tax models are also available making this another great first car option.

4. VW Polo

Almost at Fiesta levels of popularity, Volkswagen’s original small car seamlessly blends German build quality and reliability, with a durable interior and a wide choice of economical engines (especially the superb diesel 1.4). A first-class supermini, the hatchback Polo has had five updated generations since it was launched back in 1975. Our range of used Polos also have a variety of quality engines and excellent extras such as parking sensors, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and DAB digital radio. Additionally, no small car holds its value like a Polo, so while prices are higher than some rivals, you’ll certainly have more money in your pocket when it comes to selling time.

5. Renault Clio

Bags of personality, fun to drive and with the most comfortable ride of any car in the class as well as a roomy cabin. It’s no wonder the Clio’s popularity has surged in the past decade. Plus, the five-star Euro NCAP rating makes it one of the safest used cars on sale. Excellent trim levels and strong noise insulation make you feel like you’re driving a far more expensive machine.

6. Skoda Fabia

One of the best used small cars around, the Fabia shares the same underpinnings as the VW Polo and SEAT Ibiza and features superb build quality, a high level of trim and gives you reliability as well as fuel efficiency. The Fabia range also includes low tax models as well as excellent extras like MP3 player Aux inputs and cruise control. Skoda’s image is improving all the time, but you can still pick up a bargain if you choose your Fabia wisely.

7. Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall has taken a huge leap forward with the Corsa; its sharp styling and well-finished interior offering a big leap in refinement and comfort. The diesels, especially the 1.3s, in the range are some of the most frugal superminis around. Some of the later models even include a fuel-saving stop/start mode for lengthy traffic jams.

8. Hyundai i20

Thanks to the i20, a small Hyundai has become a viable alternative to a Fiesta or Corsa. Neat styling and a robust build are a good start and the engine (especially the 1.4) is reliable and refined enough to make long-distance travel comfortable. Strong handling and low insurance costs are also major plus points. The real ace in the pack is the trim level; even on the base model, it outdoes most rivals.

9. Fiat Punto

While it doesn’t have the iconic status or styling of the 500, the Punto undoubtedly gives more bang for your buck than its smaller sibling; and for a near-identical price. Drivers love its sporty looks, but are also impressed by a super-frugal range of engines; Fiat being one of the first manufacturers to fit a car of this size with an impressively lively 900cc twin-cylinder turbocharged unit. While it’s lively under the bonnet – the Punto has low running costs and a great safety record. The small size makes it a perfect choice for a first car.

10. SEAT Ibiza

Sharing the same platform as the VW Polo, the Ibiza brings Mediterranean style into the mix. It’s equally at home in town or on the open road, features a wide range of engines to choose from and is an increasingly popular used car purchase.  If value for money and the ability to transport four adults in comfort is what you’re after, it’s well worth a look.

Fancy the sound of any of these? If so, then pop into Carbase for a test drive today and take a look at our wide range of options for your first used car.

Still not sure which car to pick as your first? Take a look at our guide of what to look for in your first car here!

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