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5 Must-Have Cars For New Drivers

Buying a car for the first time? Take a look at our five top picks of the best cars to buy for a young or new driver.


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May 5th, 2017 by


Getting onto the road for the first time can be pretty daunting. We have all been there. Not only do you have to practice this newly honed skill, but you have to look out for all of the drivers around you. So, the first car you buy, or drive, is really important. For a new driver, it is all about safety, easy driving, and low maintenance.

So, which cars fit into that category? We thought we would look at the top five low maintenance and easy driving cars for a first driver. In this comparison, we have taken size, steering, fuel consumption, and ease of driving into consideration.

1. Ford Fiesta

We can’t stop loving this car. It comes with everything a first-time driver needs. It has power steering, ABS, electric windows, and airbags. It is nippy and a great, smooth drive. It is also low on petrol, boasting a cool 4.6 litres per 100 kms. The Fiesta also has some great additional features, like keyless entry and a power start button. The onboard computer is sophisticated and there are some great techie bits to keep you connected on the road. They start at R225 300.

2. Opel Adam

Opel boasts some of the most reliable cars on the market. You could either choose between the Corsa or the Adam. We went for the Adam because of its feisty look. Who doesn’t want some style in their first car? The Adam is also packed with all the necessary features. It has a four cylinder 1.4 74kW engine, five-speed manual transmission, and is mostly light on fuel. It comes with aircon, power steering, cruise control, electric windows, airbags, and hill start assist. Did we mention how cute it is? The 1.4 starts at R206 500.

3. Fiat 500

Speaking of cute. This little nippy Italian is an absolute favourite on Cape Town roads. It is tiny, parks anywhere, is amazingly light on fuel, and is just a lot of fun to drive. It comes with a super power steering function that basically turns the car into a go-cart when you switch on the City mode. You can find yourself parking in the tightest of spots. The 1.1 is incredibly slow, but you can opt for a bigger engine, or a sports mode. And, who could say no to the cabriolet version? We couldn’t! Electric windows, USB, steering controls, and airbags are all standard. The 500 Pop starts at an affordable R179 900.

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4. Hyundai i10

This is a perfect starter car. It is somewhat basic and doesn’t entirely blow you away with its looks, but it is a solid, responsible buy. It has the necessary airbags, ABS, and electronic brakeforce distribution. It also comes standard with intuitive steering wheel audio controls, and an audio system with Bluetooth and USB/AUX and iPod ports. Certainly offering more space than the 500, the car also offers the standard power steering and aircon. They start at R189 900.

5. Nissan Micra

Richard Hammond absolutely blasted this car on Top Gear when he drove it. Who can forget the episode of him driving in a pink Micra with a paper bag on his head? We couldn’t disagree more! It is a firm, sturdy little car oozing personality. Sure, the newer generation has had a facelift and are not as recognisable as the older Micra, but the car still has everything going for it. The 1.4 engine is nippy and solid, the ABS brakes and electric windows are standard, and you don’t feel like you need more when you drive the car. Because it is also small, it is easy to park, and the power certainly helps with that. They start at a doable R159 900.