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Top five cars for teenagersBack

It’s the moment you dreaded. Despite your pride in them finally passing their driving test, you are now faced with the prospect of finding the right car – at the right price – for your teenager.

As we all know insurance premiums have reached a new high in 2011, especially among younger drivers. As a consequence a car’s insurance group can be just as important as the purchase price.

Overall, most parents and young people are looking for safe, small-engined cars that are cheap to run and service. A good dollop of style and coolness is also important for any self-respecting teenager or twenty-something.

So what should you think about when buying a first car? Here are four considerations:

  • Price: small city cars and hatchbacks are perfect for young drivers. Make sure you shop around for the best price though. A nearly new or used model could offer a great saving on the list price. As these cars are often produced in volume they are very competitively priced.
  • Safety: ensuring your loved ones are as safe as they can be when driving is an obvious priority. Check for NCAP ratings and standard safety equipment such as airbags.
  • Insurance: check insurance groups of prospective cars and get comparative quotes to understand how much cars will cost to insure.
  • Economy: low running costs for young people on tight budgets are a priority. Check mpg figures for all vehicles in your shortlist, as well as official C02 figures – remember that cars producing less than 100 g/km of the gas are exempt from road tax charges.

With this checklist in mind, here are five cars worth casting your eye over:

Vauxhall Corsa – the latest, fourth-generation Corsa is great to look at and fun to drive. Ticking the ‘cool’ box and still being practical and cheap to run, the Corsa leads the supermini field. The 1.2 litre petrol engine is the pick of the bunch for many, and ‘Design’ trim brings a list of desirable extras.

Find used Vauxhall Corsas from £1,779

Ford Fiesta – the latest incarnation of the Fiesta is considered to be better value than the smaller Ford Ka. Previous versions also have a strong line-up of economic but punchy petrol and diesel engines. Spacious inside, the Fiesta is simple and low-cost to maintain and run.

Find used Ford Fiestas from £2,925

Volkswagen Polo – with a strong reputation for reliability, Volkswagen models hold their value well and the Polo is no different. Strong residuals mean that it is more expensive to buy though, and insurance and servicing costs are higher than rivals.

Find used Volkswagen Polos from £3,699


Toyota IQ – the smallest of the bunch and a real city car – with eye-catching looks to match. The IQ is an expensive buy, but should hold its value well. The 1.0 litre engine averages 65.7mpg and does not incur road tax.

Find used Toyota IQs from £6,491

Renault Clio – the Clio maintains some of the chic ‘va va voom’ that made it such a success. Like the Corsa, Fiesta and Polo, the Clio has been through several incarnations since launching in the early Nineties. The latest version is now reaching the end of its lifespan, but the Clio remains a quality car, with the 1.4 litre petrol engine offering the best mix of performance and economy.

Find used Renault Clios from £1,917

Posted by Leana Kell on 01/07/2011