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Buying a car | 01.07.2013 - 15:37

The Best Cars for New Drivers

Purchasing a starter car is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming process for new drivers. Many new drivers are young, without an established driving record or credit history. This can make obtaining financing difficult, and insurance costs may be quite high to match.
Ford Fiesta

The Best Cars for New Drivers

Younger drivers may yearn for a car that's fun to drive, while their parents would prefer a stodgy vehicle that comes with a high safety rating. Striking the balance between these different aspects can seem difficult, but searching for the right fit is part of the fun of it. Fortunately, there's a wider range of options on the market than ever. With a bit of time and research, even new drivers on a tight budget can find a great fit.

 

Keeping Running Costs Low

Running costs can seem prohibitively high for inexperienced drivers, with the combination of taxes, insurance premiums, and rising fuel prices. Choosing a used car with a lower sticker price can seem easier on the wallet, but it could lead to higher insurance prices and difficulty in finding financing. Used vehicles may also incur greater servicing costs over time, which also needs to be factored into the overall running costs. Paying for regular maintenance may seem like a slightly useless expense, but it can help you avoid paying for major repairs down the road.

To keep costs down, new drivers will most likely want to look for a car that's slightly used, but not so old that it requires extensive maintenance. Choosing a model with a great safety rating will please both parents and insurance companies, and taking out comprehensive insurance can lower bills. It's also worth shopping around to find the lowest insurance rates and considering extra driving courses to get a better deal. Fuel economy is another issue to take a look at, with hybrid vehicles or those with diesel engines requiring less money at the pump. There have been some major strides in engine technology over the past few years to keep up with rising fuel prices, so you'll find no shortage of efficient options.

 

The Top Five Cars

The top cars for new drivers will combine great value for money with excellent safety ratings. They are fuel efficient; yet don't carry a high initial price tag to cancel this out. Naturally, new drivers don't want to sacrifice on fun when looking for a starter car. The best cars are not only practical, but carry a bit of zip in the engine and have a spring in their step. The following are five of the top contenders for new drivers, which will not only help build confidence as a driver but keep bills down at the same time.

 

1. Ford Fiesta

One of the classic cars for teenagers, the Fiesta continues to be a great buy for new drivers of any age. This sporty little city car offers good value with a low starting price and decent fuel economy. Drivers can choose from models dating back to the 90's for a real bargain or look for a brand new Fiesta for something more reliable; and find plenty of options in either case. Ford is known for their quality cars, and service costs can be kept low with regular maintenance. Parts for the Fiesta are easy to find due to their ubiquity, so there won't be any surprise expenses at the shop. Although the Fiesta is small, it offers enough space for a first-time driver and all of his friends to ride in style.

 

2. Toyota Kluger

An SUV may not seem like an obvious choice for new drivers, because they tend to come with a higher price tag and thirst for fuel. Yet for new drivers who need a reliable family car with lots of space, it can be well worth the investment. One top choice is the Toyota Kluger or Highlander, with a seven seat capacity and extensive safety features. Many Toyota Kluger reviews on motoring.com.au put emphasis on the safety aspect of the vehicle, with newer models carrying eight airbags and blind spot warning. All of this high-tech safety gear can be ideal for new drivers who are still getting a feel for the rules of the road.

 

3. VW Polo

New drivers will pay a bit more up front for a VW Polo than for some of the other cars on this list. Volkswagen is a more luxurious brand, but they are known for their fine craftsmanship and for building cars which are built to last. Buying a Polo gives you an entry-level VW that will last for a decade. This car is reliable and easy to insure as a result, with a high safety rating and great fuel economy. It may not be the most exciting choice, but Polos do come equipped with a full range of amenities and machinery that runs like clockwork.

 

4. Kia Rio

Another great value hatchback to rival the Fiesta, the Kia Rio is a sporty little supermini that's a great deal of fun to drive. The newest models offer an extremely impressive 68mpg fuel economy, but even older models still are quite efficient. Although it may look small, a Kia Rio review by motoring.com.au mentions plenty of leg and headroom for passengers. The build quality is solid, as is the steering and handling so drivers can feel safe and in control behind the wheel.

 

5. Peugeot 206

The Peugeot 206 is a cute, sporty option for anyone who is looking for a bargain basement price. This model comes in a wide range of different trims, so you could choose a no-frills used Peugeot if you're on a tight budget or splash out for a sportier build like the GTi. New drivers who are concerned about running costs might want to take a look at a Peugeot with a diesel engine, because this is one area where the French automaker truly excels. A diesel Peugeot 206 will save you loads at the pump.

Although these are five good examples of decent cars for new drivers, there's a sea of options out there which are worth comparing. By taking running costs into account along with the features of the car, you can find the best fit to get you started as a motorist. 

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