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The UK's most popular first car

Everyone remembers their first car. Whether it was a family hand-me-down that had seen better days, a second-hand motor with a strange yet comforting hum, or the car of your dreams that you’d saved long and hard for, first cars will forever hold a special place in our hearts. But which one is the most popular?

A driver shows of their first car's keys

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We used first car insurance data to work out which make and model is the most common across the UK’s roads. Is yours one of them?

The top first-time cars on UK’s roads

First-time drivers look for a few key things when buying a car: easy driving, affordability and that all-important cool factor. After all, when you’re taking your mates through the drive-through, you want to look good. The top three cars certainly offer all of that in abundance.

An infographic visualising the top fifteen most popular cars for first time buyers in the UK

1. Ford Fiesta Zetec - 16,047 drivers insured in the past 12 months 

Taking first place on our podium is the Ford Fiesta Zetec. This sporty little hatchback packs all the same great features as a standard Fiesta, but with extra premium finishes that help make it such a popular choice. These include 15-inch alloys, front fog lights and a chrome trim, all giving it some bonus style and convincing 16,047 first-time drivers who’ve taken insurance through us to get behind the wheel.

Price: From £995 used to £16,995 new

2. Vauxhall Corsa SXi - 8,311 drivers insured in the past 12 months 

In second place with almost half as many drivers is the Vauxhall Corsa SXI. The Corsa has always been a popular choice with young drivers - the tight control, small turning circle and nifty acceleration make it a great city car, perfect for first-time drivers on the go. The SXi model comes with sporty extras and additional finishes inside, which means a lot for 8,311 fashion conscious first-timers.

Price: From £595 used to £6,495 for newer models

3. MINI Cooper - 8,066 drivers insured in the past 12 months 

Would our top three be complete without a mention for the MINI Cooper? It’s nimble, quick and, of course, small, making it a great choice for any driver looking for an easy way from A to B. We don’t think there’ll ever be a time when the Cooper isn’t cool, and if there is, we don’t want to know about it.

Price: From £995 used to £15,495 new

Rank Vehicle Model Vehicle Make No’ of drivers
1
Fiesta Zetec
Ford
16047
2
Corsa SXi
Vauxhall
8311
3
Cooper
MINI
8022
4
One
MINI
7750
5
Corsa Limited Edition
Vauxhall
7447
6
Corsa SXi (79)
Vauxhall
7304
7
Corsa Life
Vauxhall
6744
8
Corsa Design
Vauxhall
6645
9
Fiesta Zetec Climate
Ford
6559
10
500 Lounge
Fiat
6312
11
Corsa Club
Vauxhall
6291
12
107 Urban
Peugeot
5960
13
Polo S (60)
Volkswagen
5953
14
Fiesta Zetec (80)
Ford
5685
15
Polo E (55)
Volkswagen
4990
16
500 Pop
Fiat
4929
17
Polo Match (60)
Volkswagen
4809
18
Punto (Grande) Active
Fiat
4586
19
Corsa Active
Vauxhall
4543
20
Fiesta Zetec-S
Ford
4450
21
Fiesta Zetec (99)
Ford
4386
22
Fiesta Style
Ford
4243
23
Golf S (80)
Volkswagen
3901
24
Corsa SE
Vauxhall
3878
25
Corsa S Ecoflex
Vauxhall
3793
26
Corsa SXI (85)
Vauxhall
3683
27
Fiesta Zetec S (123)
Ford
3430
28
Fiesta Titanium
Ford
3400
29
Golf Match Tdi (105)
Volkswagen
3319
30
Fiesta Style Climate
Ford
3289
31
Jazz Se
Honda
3252
32
Corsa Sxi 16v
Vauxhall
3225
33
Golf Gt Tdi (140)
Volkswagen
3097
34
Micra S
Nissan
3094
35
Ka Zetec
Ford
3084
36
Polo Twist
Volkswagen
2939
37
Astra Sri
Vauxhall
2864
38
Polo S 16v
Volkswagen
2849
39
Fiesta Zetec Tdci (68)
Ford
2813
40
Astra Sxi
Vauxhall
2791

The car brands first-time drivers love 

Certain car brands just speak to first-time drivers more than others. We looked at our internal data to conclude which brand of cars is the most popular for first time buyers in 2021.

Their ranges includes lots of small, speedy hatchbacks, perfect for city-centre driving and with enough room for your mates to get in the back. They all also offer plenty of style and affordability, making them accessible to people without higher paying jobs while still looking eye-catching when pulled up on the drive.

An infographic visualising the top seven most popular car brands for first time buyers in the UK

1. Vauxhall - 67,519 drivers insured in the past 12 months 

Vauxhall is the most popular car manufacturer for the UK’s first-time drivers. In our list of the top car makes, there are 13 different iterations of Vauxhalls, including numerous Corsas and a couple of Astras, all aiding the brand’s domination of the new driver market.

2. Ford - 57,386 drivers insured in the past 12 months 

Ford is another manufacturer that has its fair share of small cars on offer. While the Fiesta Zetec stands above the crowd as the most popular car for first-time drivers, there are nine other Ford models in our top 40, showing they know what it takes to appeal to a younger market. The Fiesta Zetec S, Fiesta Style Climate, and the impressively named Fiesta Titanium are all among first-timers’ most in-demand cars.

3. Volkswagen - 31,857 drivers insured in the past 12 months 

When you’ve got the Golf and Polo in your armoury, you’re bound to do well with first-time drivers. Volkswagen attracts 31,857 of them to its brand, offering them a choice of two cars that have proved popular ever since their inception. The Golf was actually designed as a replacement for the Beetle, and while it never (thankfully) succeeded in taking the Beetle off the roads, it’s still done alright for itself - it’s in the top three best-selling cars in the world, having shipped over 30 million since 1974.

Vehicle Make No’ of drivers Rank
Vauxhall
67519
1
Ford
57386
2
Volkswagen
31857
3
Fiat
15827
4
MINI
15772
5
Peugeot
5960
6
Honda
3252
7
Nissan
3094
8

The most popular cars by region 

It’s not that different throughout the UK with the Ford Fiesta Zetec the top dog on every road - but there are some interesting arrivals in second and third spot. For example, the South East and South West of England both love the MINI Cooper and the MINI One.

Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsas. They're affordable, they are easy on the eye and they're lots of fun to drive. What's not to love?

A map of the UK breaking down the most popular car for first time buyers in the UK

Looking to buy a first car of your own? 

Buying your first car is an exciting time, with new freedom, new places and, importantly, a new licence all in your possession. We can help make insuring your first car simple, comparing the best deals on the market to ensure you don’t pay over the odds.

Compare all our new driver car insurance deals today and enjoy getting on the road in your first car. You’ll never have another relationship quite like it.

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:

“There’s lots to consider when buying your first car. Smaller cars are often more popular with first-time drivers because they’re cheaper to insure, while also being much more affordable to fuel. They’re also great for shorter commutes, such as getting to and from college or work, and are often similar to the cars you’ll have learnt in which makes them easier to drive.

Also, many may want a car with more horsepower. However, bigger motors often mean bigger rates and can directly impact the price of your car insurance, along with other factors such as where you’ll park your car. This is why it's important to do your research to help save you money on your insurance.

“Typically, first time drivers will already pay a higher insurance due to being new to the road. However, there are always ways to help reduce your premium. To find out more tips on how you can lower your car insurance, check out our guide on ‘how to get cheaper car insurance’ so that you can get the best price before hitting the road.”

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