What's the best first car ever

Cars for novice drivers

Our Novice driver's guide show them, the best cars for beginners and what to look for when buying a used car. Next to the counselor we provide you with an informative Young Driver novice driverVideo ready. You will also find the most important points in our Used car checklist. You can download it here as a Download PDF, print it and always have it to hand. They're like that well prepared for a purchase.


When it comes to the first car of one's own, the wishes and requirements differ widely. Some just want to be mobile and spend as little as possible on it. The others are already dreaming of big, powerful cars. But is the second variant really a good idea? Let's take a look together to see what the ideal car for novice drivers is all about.

Can you even afford your own car?

As a novice driver in particular, you should think carefully about which car you actually trust yourself. This affects driving itself and your finances. Even an older, small car is the first really big financial burden for most young people. Of course, it is difficult to find the right balance. A used car for a few hundred euros costs little at first, but will usually result in high running costs for repairs.

Therefore, you should definitely be clear in advance how much money you have available for the first purchase and how high the maximum running costs can be. Be honest about it and admit it to yourself if you cannot afford your own car for the time being.

What does the ideal car for novice drivers look like?

For the rest of the article, we assume for the time being that you can afford your own car in whatever form. With it we can also take care of the type of car. As a novice driver, you should keep in mind that you shouldn't make it unnecessarily difficult for yourself. Therefore, small and agile cars in particular have always proven their worth as entry-level cars. They make it easier to find a parking space, they use less fuel and they are cheaper to buy.

In addition, in recent years the manufacturers have given their small models better and better equipment. And it is precisely these small cars that are slowly reaching an age at which they can become interesting used cars for you. They already bring many safety and assistance systems with them and offer a surprising amount of convenience. One can definitely say: Many small cars have developed strongly towards the middle class.

As you can see, there are many good reasons to bake smaller rolls, especially at the beginning. In the years to come, you will have enough time to approach larger cars, both technically and financially.

List of popular beginner cars

We asked around, looked at comparative tests, and put the results together into a list of popular cars for novice drivers. The order does not correspond to any particular rating or ranking.

In addition, we would like to give you some more detailed information on the named candidates. In order to get a good mix of as little money as possible and a still fit car, we have restricted our search to first registrations from 2014. At the age of five, the vehicles are in their prime used car age and are already noticeably cheaper.

Nevertheless, you can also find much cheaper cars if you are willing to accept a higher age or significantly more kilometers on the odometer.

A closer look at the prices of our cars for novice drivers

The first six candidates from Citroen C1 to Skoda Citigo are two triplet groups. They are almost identical in construction and mainly differ in appearance. If you want to get one of these small cars with a maximum age of five years, you need at least EUR 3,000 to EUR 4,000.00. For this you get a really small city car with the bare minimum of equipment. An economical type of first mobility.

The VW Golf as an eternal classic for young people

The next two candidates are slightly larger. Both are among the absolute classics when it comes to your first own car. For a younger VW Polo you should have at least EUR 4,000.00 ready. However, you can already get a Golf VII from EUR 6,0000.00. Skoda and Seat also offer their own small cars based on the VW Polo. For a not so old Seat Ibiza or Skoda Fabia you should have around EUR 5,000.00 ready. A slightly more expensive small car variant comes from the same group. You need around EUR 7,000.00 for an Audi A1.

Opel brings three popular cars for novice drivers

Opel is represented three times on our list. With models like the Opel Corsa and Astra, we find two more classics among the first cars for novice drivers. You are here from EUR 4,000.00. The third Opel in the group is a little more expensive. Even if the sales success of the Adam has so far fallen short of expectations, it is an interesting alternative, especially for young drivers. You need around EUR 5,000.00 for older copies of the attempt by a Fiat 500 competitor.

The little Italian and the comfortable Japanese

Speaking of the Fiat 500: We don't want to forget the hip Italian at this point. It is also available from a little more than EUR 5,000.00. For this amount, however, a Mazda 2 could also be an issue for you. With even more budget, the little Japanese is one of the best examples of the latest generation of how much convenience manufacturers are now building into even the smallest models.

Ford Ka: In the past ugh, today ugh!

Finally, there are the two Ford models Ka and Fiesta. The Ka in particular was visually polarizing enormously in its beginnings. Many celebrated the first Ford Ka and many others simply found it ugly. This has now normalized and so the current Ka fits perfectly into the range of small and micro cars in terms of design. The Ford Fiesta is a tad bigger. He, too, is already an old hand when it comes to the most popular first cars for novice drivers. You need at least between EUR 3,000.00 and EUR 4,000.00 for the two candidates.

As a novice driver, you should pay attention to this when buying a used car

Very few novice drivers have the necessary budget for a new car. We also talked about used cars across the board for the vehicles mentioned above. Therefore, we should take a close look at what you should pay attention to (not only but especially) as a novice driver when buying a used car.

Preparation for the viewing appointment

When you have found your dream car online or at the dealership, do some research at home. What are typical shortcomings for this model? Experience has shown that where do the first weaknesses creep in? What else should you watch out for?

After that, it certainly doesn't hurt to contact the dealer beforehand and make an appointment right away. Then you know whether the car is still available. In addition, the provider can prepare the car for a test drive. Some used cars have been parked a little longer, may need start-up help or are still parked. When making an appointment, also make sure that you do not have to view the car in the dark. You should still have a flashlight with you, but you usually bring it with your smartphone anyway.

Allow yourself enough time for the appointment to be able to take a look at the vehicle in peace. And be sure to take reinforcements with you. Four eyes see more than two. Whether it's your parents or a good friend who knows a lot about cars is not so important for the time being. Nevertheless, additional knowledge is of course an advantage here.

Pack yourself a checklist

In order not to miss anything in the heat of the moment, used vehicle checklists have proven their worth. There are a large number of these lists for downloading and printing. Then just take the time on site and go through point by point on the car. With this you should already be able to get a good impression of the condition of the car.

No used car purchase without a test drive!

A test drive is an absolute must for every used car purchase. This is the only way you can get answers to important questions like: How does the car drive? How is the engine running? How well do the brakes work? Does the car pull on one side? You can only find out all of this by taking a test drive. You can also drive on different types of roads from the city center to country roads or even the motorway. Don't forget: Before taking the test drive, make sure that the car is approved.

Even with a new car, you should take a test drive with the respective model. Hopefully you won't find any defects here. You should still get an impression of the driving experience.

Regardless of whether it is a new or used car, in both cases it is worth taking part of the test drive as a passenger. You can test things like the air conditioning, radio, etc. while driving.

Insider tip for the test drive: Also ride as a passenger. So you can take a look around the car and test everything.

Unless you already have a real car expert with you, you should also visit a test center during the test drive and have the car checked by real specialists. You will receive an expert opinion with which you can take very clear facts with you to the later price negotiations.

Check papers and mileage - every third car has been tampered with

This also includes some paperwork. With your possible dream car, all important documents must be with you. This includes the approval certificates part 1 and part 2, the current TÜV report, the operating instructions and the service booklet. With this booklet you can also check a very important point: the mileage. The nasty used car dealer who manipulates the speedometer is unfortunately not an invented cliché. According to ADAC, the mileage is manipulated in around a third of all used cars in Germany.

In order to find possible manipulation, you can use the entered service intervals to check whether everything is conclusive here. New technologies go a little further, using a small adapter and an app to read out data from a car. This allows interventions in the number of kilometers or even the triggering of the airbags to be controlled. You can also check an important indicator of an accident vehicle here.

Pay attention to the running costs

After the purchase, the running costs represent the greatest challenge for young car owners. Here, too, it pays off - in the truest sense of the word - to choose a smaller and therefore usually more economical car. Less consumption means lower fuel costs and the environment is good too. When it comes to repair and service costs, you are also cheaper to travel if you do not opt ​​for a premium brand. Unless you want to do without original spare parts.

Before you buy a car, think twice about whether you can afford the running costs. Unfortunately, the nicest car in front of the house will not do you any good if you can no longer afford the gasoline.

What to look for in insurance

A large part of the running costs also consists of insurance. At this point, too, you have clear advantages with a smaller engine. Insurance companies see a great risk in connection with high-performance cars, especially for novice drivers.

When it comes to car insurance, there are many other things that you should be aware of, especially as a novice driver. You should also think about insurance when choosing your first car. Insurance companies have their own preferences when it comes to the cars they insure. A decisive factor is the type class that the insurance company defines for the respective car. Particularly popular cars like the VW Polo end up in a slightly higher type class. Here it is worthwhile to compare the insurance companies or to look around for less popular models.

It can also happen that small or compact cars have insurance advantages over real small cars. Small cars in particular are usually on the move with a minimum of (safety) equipment and offer particularly few crumple zones as protection in the event of an accident.