So, you have finally passed your driving test and you are thinking about buying your first car? No longer will you have to wait for the bus in the rain, or pay for lifts. Now comes the dilemma, which car? What is the best first time car for you?
The overall process can be mind boggling, with a variety of places that you can find an ideal first car on offer, including buying a new or used car from a private seller or main dealership, leasing your first car or buying at an auction. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what works best for you and the budget that you have available to work with.
Firstly, when looking at the budget that you have overall, consider all the cost’s that add up; your insurance, MOT, road tax and servicing. You may find that as you have only just passed your driving test, most insurance quotes will be coming in pretty high. In time and with more experience, your insurance will decrease in price and become more manageable but for now, it’s important to make sure that you can afford to take on the car that you choose along with the cost to insure it.
75% of first time car buyers focus on the price of their first car, which opens up the opportunity to look for something affordable and maybe a few years older to keep costs lower. Here at Hippo, we offer an extensive range of used vehicles on lease terms, with a much more reasonable price tag, perfect for first time drivers. A selection of used cars can be found here
The length of your lease agreement will also play a factor in this, as the total payment is stretched across the months that you agree. So, the longer your agreement, the more affordable your monthly payment will be. There are a range of lease options available out there, which include different options at the end of your agreement. This makes things flexible for you, with the choice of paying one final payment to keep the vehicle or alternatively handing the vehicle straight back.
Choosing your first car is exciting! Keeping costs low, it makes sense to keep things practical for your first car, looking for something that ticks all of the boxes; affordable, safe, economic and of course still looks the part. With this in mind, we have taken a look at five of the best picks for first time buyers.
1. Skoda Citigo
The Citigo is one of the most affordable deals out there, offering a nimble 1.0 litre petrol engine, it might not be the fastest out there but even when working hard, the engine runs smoothly creating an agile run along country roads and on the motorway too. Boasting 50 mpg, the Skoda Citigo isn’t just affordable to buy but also affordable to run. The handling is second to none, with light and easy steering matched with a body control that rides the bends without too much swaying. The size of this city car makes parking much easier, especially out and about where you can slip into tight fitting spaces easily.
The interior is surprisingly spacious, though only offers space for four overall, with a generous amount of boot space for such a small built hatchback. The recently refreshed 2017 Citigo includes the addition of a built-in app service and smartphone cradle to allow for navigation apps on the move. The upgraded spec does include cruise control and parking sensors for just £450 extra, which might help when getting to grips with the sizing of your car and the space around it.
2. Volkswagen UP!
Our next contender in the small city car segment is the faithful Volkswagen UP! Although almost identical to its rivals the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, the UP! boasts a premium finish throughout the interior and exterior, sealed by the reliable VW badge. The entry level model is a three-door vehicle with plenty of room still for both luggage and passengers. Should you have passengers most of the time, then it might make sense to upgrade to the five-door version for ease.
This nippy model is offered in a variety of 1.0 litre petrol engines, with a turbocharged version bringing 89 bhp. All variants can be upgraded with blue motion technology, improving fuel consumption and decreasing your CO2 emissions by using a stop-start system. The UP! is a smooth and consistent drive, even when taking on long motorway drives. The light steering, and body controls ensure the UP! tackles any bends and bumps in the road effortlessly.
The interior features a gloss dashboard and quality materials and finishes for the small city car. The entry level infotainment pack is fairly standard, offering only a basic CD/DAB system, though the dashboard includes an aux input to play music through your phone. You can upgrade on infotainment, with a 5.0-inch screen, USB socket and Bluetooth as standard for the higher trim.
3. Seat Mii
Seat created the Mii to reflect the need for affordable smaller cars to the current youth market. This model takes inspiration from the Volkswagen UP! both including similar layouts, with slight tweaks to the overall interior and exterior. Available in two 1.0 litre petrol engines, which both come with engine stop-start as standard, boosting fuel economy. The ride is comfortable and handles well at high speeds with precise steering and a stable body when passing bends and corners.
This hatchback claims a spacious interior, including bags of leg room in both the front and back, aswell as plenty of practical storage for making those trips with friends. The boot space is the largest for a hatch of this size, trumping the Citigo and the UP! whilst also offering the upgrade of an adjustable boot floor, acting as second boot compartment beneath. The infotainment system on the entry level Seat Mii, doesn’t offer much more than basic CD/DAB system and space for an aux lead. A quick upgrade will get you Bluetooth and a removable 5.0-inch colour screen for use with navigation on the move.
4. Toyota Yaris
Slightly bigger than 1-3, the Yaris has been a big player in the small cars sector for years now, with a refreshed model hitting the streets earlier this year. Toyota replaces the original 1.3 litre petrol three door with a powerfully refined 1.5 litre diesel engine for improved furl consumption, though this model can struggle to keep up with high speeds and uneven terrain when pushed to it’s limit. The new and improved suspension aboard the Yaris makes for a smoother and more comfortable journey, with added light steering to compensate for any bends and corners.
The Toyota Yaris is spacious for a car of it’s build, offering adequate space for all passengers, as well as a large boot that can be doubled by dropping the seats. The materials used in the Yaris are of high quality and give a higher-end feel to the car than some of this size and price. The entry level Yaris comes complete with a 4.2-inch colour screen on the dashboard, reducing the cluttered buttons around this. The infotainment pack also includes Bluetooth and DAB radio as standard, with the option to upgrade for increased technology here.
5. Kia Rio
The Rio is the slightly bigger pick from our top five, and has evolved over the years in terms of space and practicality. Kia have also refined and changed the available engines in a bid to advance the driving experience. The model is offered in four petrol engines and a pair of diesel engines. The nippy 1.2 litre engine is ideal for getting around town but not the best for longer motorway journeys. The 1.0 litre turbocharged engine is worth the extra spend for the extra power and speed, especially if you may be taking lengthy commutes on the motorways. At speed the Rio handles well, with quick steering through bends and across uneven ground, making for a darty journey.
Although the Kia Rio is still a small car, there is plenty of space on offer here from the legroom available, to extra luggage compartments in the cabin. The boot in the Rio is the biggest in the small car sector, which can even be compared to larger vehicles in this category such as the Ford Fiesta. The boot area includes a selection of hooks and ties to ensure any luggage doesn’t move during your journey. The Rio entry level comes complete with Bluetooth and a 3.8-inch colour screen as standard. The screen may be slightly small to use on the move, but does improve the cluttered buttons across the dash. Upgrades are available for further technology and increased screen size should you wish, but the full package still does the trick.
We understand that it’s imperative to select the perfect first car, something that fits with your available budget, lifestyle and look overall. We offer a greater range of ideal first cars online that you can view using our handy toolbar which allows you to add your monthly budget to search. If you see something that you like, our account managers are on hand to take you through the full process and explain the lease terms available and the best deals for you. We offer no deposit deals on most of our available models, which can help when looking for the most affordable option for you.