Beginner’s car – What is a beginner’s car and what should you look for?

August 16, 2022

Beginner’s car

The world is open to you once you have your driver’s license. But your driving lessons were costly and there isn’t much left to buy your first car of your own. So what do you choose to do? An old junker, a small car or do you prefer to borrow mom and dad’s big car? But be honest: do you want to be held accountable every time you come home (again) with damage to the car?

New or used car for beginners

The choice of a beginner’s car depends largely on your budget. But why buy a new car when the risk of damage as a novice is still high? On an old bike you have to learn, they say. Cars have gotten better and better in recent years, so buying a used beginner car is not at all unwise.

What is a sensible first car?

Be real: that sports car you dream of is not the best choice. Rather, look for a compact beginner’s car, a model from the A or B segment, which you can oversee well and which is not too expensive to buy – and in insurance, road tax and maintenance. As a young driver, you are statistically at a higher risk of driving damage, which is why the insurance premium is high. Try to drive damage free anyway, as this builds up your no-claim discount. Also important: small cars are lighter and more fuel efficient. That saves road tax and fuel costs.

So what is a nice beginner’s car?

Fun, of course, is a matter of taste. And in the used car market, popular models are simply more expensive than less popular entry-level cars. What do you care what others think of your car? Not everyone can drive a tuned Honda Civic. And besides: a lot of power is not a happy combination with inexperience – you really have to “boss” the car around. But then again, there are plenty of pretty nice beginner cars, outside of fashionable Minis and Fiats 500, or Polos and Fiestas.

Fiat 500C
Fiat 500C

Smartly choosing a beginner’s car

Bear in mind that those well-known German models are hugely popular – and therefore value-added and ‘at the price’. Don’t forget also that, for example, small Korean cars – nowadays – and Japanese – for years – have a good reputation when it comes to quality. And if you don’t care about your first car, a compact Kia Picanto or Hyundai i10 – the brands are closely related – is suddenly a lot more fun than you already thought.

KIA Picanto 1.2 DPI 2020 - Car Test/Review

Car for beginners of ‘alternative’ brand

The same goes for other little ones. Consider, for example, the previous generation of the Toyota Aygo. The Peugeot 107/108 and the Citroën C1 are just the same in the basics, so even with the Peugeot and Citroën you can still have a lot of fun with a used one.

Or the Volkswagen Up. That one forms a trinity with the Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo – then you drive a Volkswagen clone instead of the original, but it still saves money. And there are more models that can be found under a different brand name at a slightly lower price and are also perfectly satisfactory as a beginner’s car.


Large selection of cars for beginners

Apart from the models already mentioned, you can choose numerous suitable beginner cars. Consider the second generation of the Ford Ka – which from 2008 until 2016 had the Fiat 500 as its base. And of the Peugeot 208, 207 and 206 there are numerous used cars to be found. And, of course, the Japanese Nissan Micra, Mazda 2, Mitsubishi Space Star and Suzuki Celerio if you want to think “out of the box…

Also read: