Top 10 used cars for new drivers

//Top 10 used cars for new drivers

Top 10 used cars for new drivers

Paul Connolly sets out his top 10 used buys under two grand.

  1. Suzuki Swift (2005-10)
    Engine: 1.3 petrol Price: from £1,900
    Insurance group: 3+
    The second-generation Swift is a fun driving car, with a good load space due to a folding rear seat. Road handling is excellent for a car of this class, and its funky design usually gets the thumbs-up. If you’re patient you should be able to find a 1.3GL model in early 2006 vintage for around £1,900.
  2. Ford Fiesta (2002-08)
    Engine: 1.25 petrol Price: from £1,500
    Insurance group: 8+
    The sixth generation Ford Fiesta was a big breakthrough offering great all-round driving, a modern interior and lots of kit. It basically offers everything a super-mini should, and there are good bargains to be had out there. I’d plump for the early 1.4-litre TDCi diesel model as the best all-round used buy. If you can afford it, go for the upscale Ghia or Zetec models.
  3. Vauxhall Corsa (2000-06)
    Engine: 1.2 petrol Price: £1,000+
    Insurance group: 1+
    The Corsa isn’t the evergreen young person’s car for a reason: it looks good – even in 2000-2006 vintage – is very reliable and spare parts are easy to find and won’t break the bank. Go for a model in good condition that has been well looked after and you can’t go far wrong.
  4. Citroen C2 (2003-09)
    Engine: 1.1 petrol Price: from £1,500
    Insurance group: 1 – 3
    The Citroen C2 is an excellent city runaround. If you’ve got in the region of £1,990 you should be able to find pick up something like a 2004 model 1.1i LX 3-door. As a sportier alternative to the 1.1 petrol, check out a 2003 1.4-litre diesel or even a 2003 C2 GT.
  5. Peugeot 1007 (2005-09)
    Engine: 1.4 petrol Price: from £1,800
    Insurance group: 3-5
    The Peugeot 1007 wasn’t a huge hit when it first came out, thanks to its funky – maybe too funky back then – design. But it has retained its value surprisingly well in second hand guise and has proved very popular for bargain hunters. There’s a choice of four engines: if you fancy a little more poke choose the 1.4-litre petrol. The 1.4- litre HDi diesel is so economical it barely sips fuel.
  6. Renault Clio
    Engine: 1.2 petrol Price: £1,999
    Insurance group: 2+
    The Clio has always been a popular car with first-time buyers, with good reason. This price bracket buys you the Mk 3 model, which was a big step forward over its predecessor, and was one of the best cars in its class. If you haggle hard, you can pick up a 2006 model in 1.2 Expression trim for just under £2,000.
  7. Volkswagen Polo (2001-05)
    Engine: 1.2 petrol Price: from £1,400
    Insurance group: 2+
    A reputation for reliability and quality build means a Volkswagen should be on everyone’s list of potentials. The Polo is an excellent used buy, with good interior styling and a reputation for reliability. A three-door 2003 1.2E model should cost from about £1,400.
  8. Seat Ibiza (2002-08)
    Engine: 1.2 petrol Price: from £1,000
    Insurance group: 3+
    The sporty Ibiza is SEAT’s sister car to the Volkswagen Polo (2002-2009) and Skoda Fabia (2000-2008) – all three share the same platform and use the same components. In addition to the sharp styling, it’s impressively equipped, easy to drive around town and comes with a good choice of engines. It ticks a lot of boxes for a wide range of small car buyers and as a result is a very popular used buy.
  9. Toyota Yaris (2005-09)
    Engine: 1.0 petrol Price: from £1,350
    Insurance group: 2+
    The Yaris was a bit of a trailblazer for the supermini generation, winning the 2000 European Car of the Year award. Well designed and extremely reliable, it makes a great used choice. Plump for a 2002 GS model and you should pick one up from around £1,650.
  10. Kia Picanto (2004-11)
    Engine: 1.1 petrol Price: from £1,495
    Insurance group: 3+
    City cars don’t come much better than the Picanto. It’s not the best looking, or even the best to drive. But as an all round package, including Kia’s incredible warranty, fuel efficiency, and level of safety features, it’s pretty hard to beat. If you spot one, you’ll need to be quick as used Picantos can shift very quickly indeed.

Remember, as always, haggle hard for a good bargain – and make sure to get all the paperwork sorted before you hand over your cash!

Paul Connolly is Sunday Life motoring correspondent.