When you’re learning a new skill, it pays to invest in the right equipment. If you were learning to play the piano, then you probably wouldn’t want to spend thousands of pounds on a nine-foot Bösendorfer before you can get through ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’.
Similarly, if you’re learning to drive, then there are certain cars that will make the experience a great deal more pleasurable, practical and affordable.
What to Consider
So, what features should the ideal car for a learner driver have in abundance? There are a few to consider.
First, it should be safe. Since you’re just learning, you’re at increased risk of being in a collision. While you can and should offset this risk by driving as carefully as possible, it still pays to drive something that’s inherently safe. This tends to mean that modern cars are preferable to older ones – until we consider how much they cost.
Affordability is something that’s extremely subjective. Most new drivers don’t have all that much to spend, however, since they tend to be young, and lacking in earning power.
Fortunately, there are plenty of budget options at the bottom of the market – and there’s a bustling second-hand market to consider, too. When it comes to running costs, you might consider things like learner driver insurance, which will help you to make things more affordable on an ongoing basis.
Finally, there’s the size of the vehicle. Smaller cars are easier to handle, park, and run. If you’re learning to drive in a huge off-road vehicle, then you might find that the learning curve is very steep. On the other hand, once you pass the test, you’ll also find that you can successfully drive everything you step into.
Manual vs Auto
The vast majority of tests are taken in cars with manual transmission. This is because automatic is more expensive and in many cases inferior in performance. However, when you consider that many of the cars of the future will be electric, and therefore lacking in a gearbox, the case for automatic becomes more compelling.
What are the best learner cars?
Let’s quickly run through five of the best cars for learners.
The Ford Fiesta doesn’t really have a weakness. It’s affordable, small and fun to drive. There’s also a broad range of models to choose from.
The Kia Rio tends to be preferred thanks to its extremely generous warranty, which can extend to a hundred thousand miles, or seven years. Consequently, you can pick one up second-hand and still be covered.
Nissan’s Micra is a little bit different nowadays, offering sleeker looks and an engaging driving experience that might appeal to new drivers.
If you’re looking for something high-quality, then the Volkswagen Polo might appeal. It’s a supermini which offers excellent performance and bags of space. If you anticipate doing a lot of driving, it’s worth making the investment early on.
The Toyota Yaris comes in many incarnations, including hybrid versions which tend to be unheard of at this price-point.