autoDNA advises

What are the best first cars for teenagers? 

10 October 2022

What are the best first cars for teenagers? Choosing the first car is a long-awaited moment for the newly minted drivers, many of whom wait for it with flushed cheeks. Many of them have the same important matter on their mind: selecting the car. Of course, many young drivers don’t approach this decision rationally, imagining themselves in a sports car which would make them look chic. And while there’s still time for this, teenagers should adjust their very first cars not only to their or their parents’ budget, but also to their still poor skills.


The passed driving exam does not immediately make any driver an experienced one, let alone a good one – the actual skill, good habits and experience come with time, with every driven kilometer. Therefore, how to choose the first car? Common sense and realistic estimation of your own skills are the best advisors – keep in mind that the selected car should be equipped with at least basic safety systems.


What should the first cars for teenagers be like?

A car for a teenage driver in the first place should be… a used one. Preferably: a very used one. Let’s not pretend, hardly anyone can drive well right after passing the driving exam. Most drivers have committed minor “sins” in their first months of driving a car: scratching the side of the car because you didn’t make it through the gate, a lightly cracked headlight because you didn’t notice the post, a dented license plate because while reversing in a parking lot you hit a lantern… This is why the first car for a teenager should be one damaging which won’t make depressed, even if it gets a few more scratches. It’s important that the selected model is a popular one. It is the popular cars, easily available and affordable, such as the Ford Focus, that turn out to be good choice.



Keep in mind that the damage resulting from the lack of experience and skill will have to be fixed, which translates into extra expenses.


The cost of potential repairs of the premium brands, such as Mercedes and Audi, generate incomparably greater financial burden – in some cases there might be also issues with easy access to the spare parts. The popular cars which are cheap and relatively construction-simple dominate the secondary market. It’s also important to remember that the first car is not equipped with the automatic transmission – repairing it is not cheap. Additionally, young drivers should have their first rides done in a car with the manual transmission. Thanks to this, they can practice using the gearbox, which will definitely be a useful skill in the future.

Another important criterion to consider is safety which the car ensures. Of course, with a limited budget the choice is quite limited as well. However, a young driver with the help of an experienced person with the automotive knowledge will be able to find an appropriate car. It’s important that the first cars is equipped with the basic safety systems, such as the ABS, traction control and airbags. In terms of safety, it’s obvious that a new car is incomparable. You get a completely accident-free item – operational in every inch car equipped with all the safety systems required by the European law. However, the price is a substantial barrier.

Second-hand cars usually have taken part in certain events, more or less drastic traffic incidents which often have impacted their technical condition. The first car should above all be technically sound – it’s a key condition for safe exploitation and maintaining the costs of current use on the acceptable level. To reasonable asses the actual technical condition and the vehicle history, the autoDNA report will be very useful, providing the real history of the car you’re interested in.


What price is reasonable for the first car?

The budget that a young driver can spend on purchasing a car is a very individual matter. Everyone has a different opinion on this topic, similarly to the expectations for the functionality and the equipment. Remember that you can also finance a second-hand car in various ways, such as using the available services of banks. 


Formalities connected with a car purchase

Purchasing a car is just the beginning of a young driver’s responsibilities. In accordance with governmental guidelines, you have 30 days since the purchase date to re-register the car in the department of transportation and complete all the relevant formalities. If already after the purchase you know that that you won’t make it to the department within the deadline, you can just enter a submission – via post or online. This way, you won’t face any criminal sanctions.


Cars purchased within your country

The case of registering a vehicle which has already been registered in the country differs substantially from the case of an imported car. According to the introduced changes, there has been a number of facilitations introduced which make the process easier. The entire registration procedure can be done in one day in the department of transportation. Of course, you need to bring the vehicle registration book, the vehicle card – if issued – the sale and purchase agreement, as well as the set of license plates. 

The registration itself and its cost depends on the region you live in. It’s important to check whether the third party insurance has been purchased for the car, and in case of any negligence of the previous owner, you must purchase the policy already on the same day you purchase the car. If the previous insurance is still valid, you only need to report purchasing the car to the insurance company. Finally, you must pay 2% of the tax on civil law transactions (TLCL) in the tax office.



Imported cars

The formalities connected to the car purchased within your country extend when it comes to an imported car. Before visiting the department of transportation, you must complete certain formalities which were previously described. After paying the excise, you must have a technical inspection done done in your country – if the exit plates were not issued from one of the EU countries, the car must be delivered for the inspection on a tow truck, or temporary license plates must be issued, which after maximum of 30 days must be replaced with the white ones.

When going to the office, you must bring the foreign license plates or a notice stating their lack, the proof of purchase (currently the translation is not required), the vehicle registration book, the excise payment confirmation, the positive result of the technical inspection and the ID card of the owner. The cost of the registration of an imported car depends on the region you live in. During one visit in the office you will receive a set of plates with a temporary vehicle registration book – the proper document, as in every such case, you’ll receive after a month the latest along with the vehicle card.


What should you pay attention to when selecting the first car?

  1. Choose a car with a simple structure, one whose repairs won’t be complicated as well. Why? The easier the car is to repair, the smaller the chance is that an unfair auto-mechanic will want to trick you into paying extra for the repairs. When reading about particular car models, you can find information on whether repairs are simple or more complicated and therefore – more expensive. Remember – the simpler the structure is, the lower the price of the spare parts is and also it’s more possible to do certain repairs on your own.
  2. Look for smaller cars. Of course, it doesn’t have to mean that for the first years you should be driving only a small Seicento. When choosing the first for a teenager, you should be rather avoiding e.g. off-road cars and big compacts. A smaller car is not only easier to steer, but also it’s easier to park and feel its size, which is especially important in the city.
  3. Check the fuel consumption. The exploitation of a car for a beginner driver should not be expensive – both when it comes to repairs and the fuel  consumption. Therefore, choose models which consume not much fuel or use diesel or gas as fuel. Unless you’re a beginner driver of means, and the financial aspect is not an issue to you. Still, the first car is most often bought at the beginning of your professional career, and hardly anyone can afford spending hundreds of zloty on fuel monthly.
  4. Choose a car registered in Poland, and if possible – one that already has valid third party insurance and valid technical inspection. Thanks to this, you won’t start your car adventure with completing many formalities. For the same reason, it’s good to select a car already equipped with a spare wheel, a fire extinguisher, a jack and a first-aid kit. You can negotiate with the seller to keep all these things in the car, especially if they don’t want to lower the price while negotiating.
  5. Don’t pay extra for additional equipment and “gadgets”, such as radio control in the steering wheel or heated seats. If you haven’t driven a car, you don’t really know which elements will turn out to be useful or useless for you. Therefore, when buying your first car, don’t invest in too many things – simply buy a car that drives. After having practiced driving more, you can always replace your car with a better one. What’s more, after years the extra equipment might cause electronic issues.
  6. Choose a car whose interior is well maintained and without any obvious damage. If you are not an auto-mechanic and none of your relatives is one, so nobody can fix this and that for free for you, don’t let yourself get tricked by a seller who says that “this can be fixed easily”. The first car for a teenager should a car which can be driven immediately, possibly without any additional repairs and investing money.
  7. Choose from safe cars, ones which have good results in crash tests. Avoid very fast cars – the beginner drivers often eagerly check the abilities of their cars and exceed the speed limit, which is not safe when drivers themselves are not skillful. Look for cars with power steering, ABS, and, if possible, a few airbags and – most importantly – an accident-free vehicle history.
  8. The best cars for teenage drivers are the ones with the front-wheel drive. Driving cars with the rear-wheel drive requires lots of practice, so it’s not easy for beginner drivers, especially in difficult road conditions, e.g. slippery surface.
  9.  Before purchasing a car, check the VIN at autoDNA. The Vehicle History Report will help you make a good decision.
  10. The smaller the engine capacity, the lower the third party insurance. The third party insurance contribution during the first years might be terrifying for a young driver. For this reason, to reduce its cost, you should choose a car with small engine capacity. The engine capacity is one of the key criteria, aside from the driver’s age and the documented insurance period, considered when calculating the insurance cost.
  11. Go for young cars, as well as fleet cars. The younger the car you chose, the lower the risk of coming across a problematic item – although you can never be 100% sure, unless you check kits vehicle history at autoDNA. A great advantage of vehicle sold by fleets, including the ones imported to Poland, is their full service history kept throughout the entire exploitation period. What equally important is that their servicing was always  conducted in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations, which promises good technical condition.



How should a fresh driver drive?

The first car brings also the first driven kilometers in real traffic without the help of an instructor. These moment shape the confidence of young drivers, their habits and reactions to various road events are formed. The best way is, of course, driving a car in different conditions, in different traffic density. Apart from driving in the city, it’s a good idea to go for a route ride – to get used to higher speed and learn e.g. the highway driving culture.

Of course, the most important things are safety, following the traffic laws and obligatory applying the principle of limited trust. The principle of limited trust should concern other traffic users, as well as your own skills. A young driver does not have developed certain automatic habits, typical for experienced drivers. For this reason, it is suggested to keep longer distances between vehicles on the road, which gives more time to the drivers to react to any sudden event.


The best first cars for teenagers – the autoDNA ranking

Which cars can be recommended for young drivers? It, of course, depends on the individual budget. The first car should be best selected from the following models: Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, Fiat Punto, Peugeot 206 or 107, Ford Fiesta, Citroen C3, or a smaller, but considered as safe – Ford Ka. The popular Ford Focus is also affordable to maintain.

Another interesting positions are the Kolin triplets: Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107. These twin models of the A-segment were manufactured in 2005-2014. They characterise in simplicity in every inch, which translates into low maintenance and driving costs. The interior in favourable conditions fits two adults, and usually the equipment includes a radio, a manual air conditioning and ABS. The version with the small gasoline 1.0 engine with the power of 68 HP is also trouble-free. 

The B-segment cars offer much more functional interior, which can easily fit 4 people with small luggage. High durability and value preservation characterised Toyota Yaris of the second and third generation (manufactured respectively in 2005-2011 and 2011-2019). High quality and good passenger safety level are aspects in favour of Toyota. In terms of engines for both generations are the gasoline 1.0 68-69 HP and 1.33 99-100 HP ones. When it comes to the third generation, a hybrid variant can be considered, which surprises with low fuel consumption while driven in the city.



The Volkswagen Polo and the twin model Skoda Fabia are also very interesting option for young drivers. The second generation of the city Skoda was manufactured from 2006 to 2014, whereas the Polo of the fifth generation – between 2009 and 2017. For both models, the sustainability of the bodywork and the interior is not problematic, as the materials used are very durable. In terms of spaciousness, they present a class standard, fitting four people. The equipment might include automatic air conditioning, numerous safety systems, navigation, and even the automatic transmission. The recommended engines are: diesel 1.6 TDI 90-105 HP, gasoline 1.6 MPI 105 HP, 1.4 MPI 80 HP, and 1.2 HTP 60-70 HP.

The sixth edition of the Ford Fiesta offers an enormous choice – in Europe it was manufactured in 2008-2017. There are many copies available on the market with the fleet past. In every case, the Fiesta meets the expectations – it’s sustainable and simple in daily use, it’s also very well equipped with spare parts. The engines recommended for this car are the gasoline 1.0 60-85 HP, 1.0 EcoBoost 100-140 HP, simple 1.25 60-82 HP, 1.4 96 HP, as well as the diesel 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6 TDCI ones with the 68, 75 and 90-95 HP.

A vehicle from the C-sector which guarantees spaciousness greater than you’d probably need, high safety level  in the cabin and travel comfort is for example the Ford Focus III manufactured in 2010-2018 in the hatchback, compact and sedan versions. Corrosion is not an issue for the bodywork, which eliminated extra costs of removing it from critical spots. The interior is made of durable materials. Among commonly found Ford equipment there is an air conditioning, an on-board computer displaying current fuel consumption, a radio and a range of safety systems. The recommended engines are: gasoline 1.6 85-125 HP, 1.0 EcoBoost 100-125 HP, 1.5 / 1.6 EcoBoost 150-182 HP, and diesel 1.5 TDCI 95-120 HP, 1.6 TDCI 95-120 HP and 2.0 TDCI 140-163 HP.


Equipment of the first car

When buying the first car, you must remember about additional accessories, some of which are required by the law, the rest will facilitate a range of prosaic activities, e.g. tire replacing. In accordance with the law, a cat must be equipped with a fire extinguisher, a warning triangle, a first-aid kit and a reflective vest – the presence of these items might be checked by a police officer during a technical road inspection. Apart from these, it’s also good to be equipped with an ice scraper and a snow broom for winter, a lock and window de-icer might also be handy. Another useful item might be a phone or a  tablet charger, a phone holder, booster cables and a tow rope.


It is good to know

autoDNA is the leading provider of services of checking vehicle history online. Based on your VIN number, with autoDNA you can verify vehicle history before making a purchase. In many cases, checking your VIN may prevent you from incurring unwanted additional costs associated with purchasing a vehicle with an unknown or salvage past.

What are the best first cars for teenagers? 
Article Name
What are the best first cars for teenagers? 
What are the best first cars for teenagers? Choosing the first car is a long-awaited moment for the newly minted drivers, many of whom wait for it.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo