Buying a used car can save you lots of cash compared to buying brand new. Whether you’re after a cheap runaround or a dream machine you’ve lots of choice on the second-hand market (2020 Update).

Buying a used car can be a daunting prospect but it doesn’t have to be. You can pick a car up for a few hundred quid but unless you’re a competent mechanic buying something more than 10 years old is just asking for trouble. A service history is essential and fewer owners the better, here’s our Top 10.

Vauxhall Corsa – From £1,000

The Vauxhall Corsa is top of the Vaux for young drivers but it’s also popular with boy racers so steer clear of modified versions. They may look the part but have probably been raked within an inch of their lives. The Corsa D, fourth generation, is a good place to start.

best cars for new drivers
top 10 used cars 2020

Skoda Fabia – £1,300

Under the skin of a Fabia you’ll find a VW Polo so thanks to VW reliability they make a fab second-hand buy. They come in 3 and 5 door versions, there’s even a
practical estate, and are plentiful in supply plus they’re affordable and cheap to run. 

Toyota Aygo – From £1,000

Toyota’s are the best-built cars in the world so they make a no brain-er second-hand buy. Powered by a 1.0-litre 67bhp they were popular OAP cars, so there should be lots of low mileage versions, previously owned by a little old ladies, that won’t cost you a lot of money.

top 10 new cars for new drivers 2020

Ford Ka – From £1,500

The Ford Ka is often over looked thanks to the popularity of the Fiesta but it makes a great used buy. The first gen models are cheap and cheerful and the second gen, that were made from 2009-2016, can be picked from around £1,500.

Fiat 500 – From £1,400

Our most popular choice for first time buyers. Available in a range of trendy colours to match your style. Fashionable yet affordable, with only £30 road tax and cheap insurance. The most popular model is the 1.2-litre petrol POP so expect plenty of used models to pop up for sale.

top 10 used cars for new drivers

Citroen C1 – From £1,900

Cars don’t come much cuter than the Citroen C1 but they’re also affordable and fun to drive. As it’s a city car there’s plenty of low mileage models to chose from and the first-gen facelifted model pictured, left, is just a good looking as the current model.

Mini One – From £1,000

Stylish and fantastic to drive, the mini one is every first time drivers desire. A comfortable size and well-weighted steering making it a pleasurable drive for all. There is loads of cool retro touches inside to and you can’t beat that go-kart like handling. Stick to the easier to insure, 1-4-litre MINI One and enjoy!

VW Polo – From £1200

VW are famed for their reliability so the Polo makes a lot of sense, there’s plenty of trim levels and engines on offer. Find a mint, 10 year-old fourth generation with low mileage and you’ll be good for another 10 years, trouble free driving. There is diesel Polo’s but after the VW scandal just stick to the petrol engines.

Ford Fiesta – From £800

Like Peter Pan the Fiesta never grows old and their popularity in Northern Ireland means there’s plenty to choose from. Mk7 models start from only £800. It’s a great city driving vehicle with all the stylish extras.

top 10 used cars for new drivers
top 10 new cars for new drivers 2020

Kia Picanto – £1,500

The Picanto isn’t exactly a looker, especially the face-lifted first gen pictured, right. But Kia’s unbeatable seven-year warranty means you can buy a second gen, 2016 for around £5,000 that’s still covered for four more years and 60,000 miles.

We recommend that you shop around to find the best deals and prices. Always bring someone with car knowledge with you when buying a car to make sure you are getting the right price and everything is in working order.

It’s also a good idea to check the price of insurance for the year and model of the car you are looking at before you buy.

Want more advice?

See our guide on tips for buying a car and cutting your insurance costs.