What's a three car bunch

The best cars for novice drivers

We have selected 10 used car models that are particularly suitable for novice drivers and show their advantages and disadvantages. We also give important tips on buying a car.

It is often not easy for novice drivers to find a car that makes sense for them. The market is huge and almost impossible to survey for people who do not deal with cars on a daily basis. Also have Novice driversmostly different criteria in the selection of a car as an experienced driver. For example, the first car should not be too big and the acquisition costs should be cheap. That is why a new vehicle is out of the question for many beginners.

ButIn the case of used vehicles, there is a lot to consider besides the price.Reliability and long-term quality are essential for a stress-free everyday car. Nevertheless, the car should offer a minimum level of safety (especially for the inexperienced driver who is more likely to make mistakes) and not place an undue burden on the environment. The ADAC has selected hundreds of different vehicles that are particularly suitable for beginners.

The following criteria were used in the search:

  • Cars built after 2000

  • cheap liability class (max. 19)

  • ESP as standard

  • at least four stars in the crash test

  • at least four stars in the Ecotest

  • Purchase price up to 5000 €

  • Mileage under 150,000 km

  • Front, side and head airbags

  • reliable technology

Not all cars of the models mentioned here on the used car market meet our criteria. The equipment, the engine, the year of construction and other factors are still relevant.The vehicles are listed in alphabetical order.

Citroën C1 / Peugeot 108 / Toyota Aygo

The vehiclesCitroën C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo are technically almost identical vehicles in theSmall car class. They differ mainly in the design of the front. All three are already being produced in the second generation in a joint plant in the Czech Republic.

The 1.0 liter three-cylinder already delivers sufficient performance in the lower performance level and is very inexpensive to maintain. In principle, the technology is considered reliable. Unfortunately, the previous owners often save on maintenance, which causes the balance sheet to suffer somewhat during the main inspections.

In theADAC breakdown statistics the Toyota Aygo proves to be somewhat more reliable than the Citroen C1; No breakdown data is available for the Peugeot 108.

advantages

  • compact dimensions

  • clear body

  • good space in front

  • low maintenance costs

  • agile engines

disadvantage

  • loud interior

  • low payload

  • little legroom in the rear

  • large turning circle for small cars

Honda Jazz

TheThe second generation of the Honda Jazz was launched in Germany in 2008. TheSmall car impresses above all with its clever, van-like room concept. Since the tank is not under the back seat, as is usually the case, but under the front seats, there is a slightly higher position for the driver and thus a comfortable boarding. The biggest advantage of this construction is that it allows the seats in the rear bench to be folded up so that tall objects can be easily transported in the rear.

As is customary in most cars, the rear seat back can still be folded down to form a flat loading area, making it easy to transport long objects. The space is relatively good for the vehicle class, at least at the front, but still sufficient in the rear. The trunk turns out to be larger than average. In the ADAC breakdown statistics, the Honda Jazz does solidly.

advantages

  • good space in front

  • problem-free operation

  • large trunk

  • very practical rear seating system

  • proper processing

disadvantage

  • Brakes often cause problems

  • low-torque petrol engines

  • moderate all-round visibility

  • callous steering

Kia Picanto

TheThe second generation Kia Picanto was launched in Germany in 2011. As a beginner vehicle, theMicrocar quite convincing. The space is relatively good for the vehicle class, at least at the front. The operation proves - typical for Kia - to be simple and does not pose any major challenges.

The chassis is comfortable and always offers sufficient driving safety. The seats are relatively tightly padded, but offer enough body support. In the second row, the amount of space is limited mainly by the limited legroom. In addition, the approach to the rear of the three-door is difficult. In the five-door hatchback is clearly successful. The trunk is a bit small and the braking system could be a bit more powerful, but at least the workmanship of the Picanto is satisfactory.

In the TÜV defect report, the small car is roughly in the middle of the field. Lighting, in particular, causes problems too often. In the ADAC breakdown statistics, the Kia Picanto also scores average.

advantages

  • good space in front

  • powerful heating

  • safe and comfortable chassis

  • moderate purchase price

disadvantage

  • small trunk

  • long braking distance

Mazda 2

TheMazda 2 was launched in 2007 as a five-door hatchback and, in contrast to its van-like predecessor, is a typical representative of theSmall car class. The three-door model followed a year later as the Mazda 2 Sport. The basic shape of the body shows that the Mazda shares the technical basis with the Ford Fiesta.

The space in the first row of seats is quite good, but the rear seats quickly become tight and the size of the trunk is only class average. The good basic equipment again proves to be typically Japanese. Even the basic equipment brings the most important things with it. In addition, the small car made in Japan can boast good workmanship, even if the materials used are very simple, but durable. The crisp gearshift and the agile chassis are definitely a pleasure when driving. The confusing body and the relatively large turning circle are disturbing in town.

In the TÜV statistics, the Mazda 2 delivers very good values ​​and is far better than the average. Only the steering joints occasionally cause problems. In the ADAC breakdown statistics, too, the Mazda 2 lands in one of the top positions and is therefore considered to be very reliable.

advantages

  • good workmanship

  • easy operation

  • a lot of standard equipment

  • very safe road holding

  • high reliability

  • good space in front

disadvantage

  • little knee room at the back

  • short rear seat headrests

Tips for buying a used car

If you want to drive a car without any problems, you should use a used vehicle with a new general inspection. Then it can be expected that the safety-relevant components will be in order for the near future. Also comesthe statutory liability for material defects when purchasing from a dealer (usually one year) in addition. Ideally, after-sales service was carried out before the vehicle was purchased. Then nothing stands in the way of driving pleasure.

For older cars is by the way for the recommendation to buy theGeneral conditionrather decisive than the mileage.Even vehicles with many kilometers can be solid used vehicles if the maintenance is correct and the kilometers have been driven over long distances. The bottom line is that a three-year-old vehicle with 120,000 kilometers may have a better overall condition than an eight-year-old comparison model with 70,000 kilometers.

  • only buy vehicles with a new general inspection

  • insist on currently performed service

  • all inspections should be demonstrably carried out

  • closely inspect the overall condition of the vehicle

  • all documents such as invoices, fuel receipts, oil change tags and maintenance stickers as well as the service booklet on plausible mileage check - because the mileage of most cars can be manipulated in a matter of minutes, which unfortunately can only rarely be proven technically

Mitsubishi Space Star

TheMitsubishi Space Star was launched in 2013 as a five-door model and inherited the previously offered Colt. The Space Star, made in Thailand, belongs to the league ofSmall car.Therefore, one should not expect a lot of space, even if the name initially gives the impression. The space in the front is still bearable, but not much space is available in the second row and in the trunk. In addition, the interior is relatively noisy, the seats are not particularly comfortable and the workmanship and the choice of materials in the interior are on a very low level.

Even while driving, the little Japanese can't really convince because of its callous steering and callous clutch pedal. Furthermore, when developing the three-cylinder engine, no great emphasis was placed on pulling power and smoothness. But the engines are very economical (especially the smaller engine) and because of the small turning circle, the Mitsubishi is particularly suitable for driving in cities. On longer cross-country journeys, both the poor comfort properties and the low-torque engines are a nuisance.

There are still no exact figures in the TÜV statistics, but the previous model did above average. In the ADAC breakdown statistics, the predecessor Mitsubishi Colt landed among the best vehicles. Anyone who simply overlooks the disadvantages of this car can be quite happy with the overall very cheap small car.

advantages

  • economical engines

  • favorable purchase price

  • good city car

disadvantage

  • little space

  • poor comfort properties

  • callous steering

  • Low-torque engine

Opel astra

With thefourth generation of the Astra (Astra J) is Opel an average reliable and durable car succeeded. Although it appears in the TÜV defect index in the upper range, in the ADAC breakdown statistics, the Opel Astra is in the lower midfield. The six-speed gearbox, the chassis and oil loss are more worrisome.

The Astra J is for a car theCompact class relatively large and offers sufficient space in the interior at the front. Unfortunately, not so much emphasis was placed on the space in the rear and in the trunk (five-door). The station wagon called Sports Tourer offers a sufficiently large trunk. The Astra impresses with its balanced handling and comfortable suspension. The high weight of the Astra comes into play here, which is somewhat reminiscent of the "heavy car" when driving. However, this has the disadvantage that the fuel consumption is sometimes relatively high and the weaker naturally aspirated engines have trouble with the vehicle.

The operation with a multitude of different buttons, which you have to get used to, is also annoying. The Astra compensates for this with very comfortable seats and good workmanship. The Opel is an interesting alternative for all novice drivers who have slightly higher demands on space.

advantages

  • good space in front

  • excellent lighting system (optional)

  • safe driving behavior

  • high security standard

  • also well suited for long distances

  • very comfortable seats

disadvantage

  • moderate all-round visibility

  • large turning circle

  • slight weaknesses in reliability

Skoda Fabia

TheSkoda Fabia introduced in 2007 the second generation consistently builds on the strengths of its predecessor. It impresses with good space ergonomics and space, both for the passengers and for the luggage.

The driving characteristics are balanced and the safety at a high level (ESP was standard in the more powerfully motorized versions, in the weaker versions at least available for an extra charge). As one of the few models of theSmall car class the Fabia is also available as a practical station wagon with an impressive trunk.

The Skoda Fabia occupies top positions in the ADAC breakdown statistics.

advantages

  • easy approach

  • good space

  • practical details

  • proper processing

  • easy handling

  • powerful braking system

  • very large trunk in the combi

  • reliable technology

disadvantage

  • moderate all-round visibility

  • low-torque base engines

Suzuki Swift

Thefifth generation of the Suzuki Swift came in 2010 as three- and five-door models. Visually, the model was based heavily on its predecessor, but it looks quite likeable. Hence theSmall car also popular as a used vehicle. In 2013 the Suzuki got a facelift.

Because of the agile chassis and the precise, relatively direct steering, the Japanese is definitely fun to drive. The simple operation is also impressive. Unfortunately, the seats offer relatively little lateral support and the braking performance is only moderate, which does not really suit the sporting demands. The small trunk and the limited space in the rear are also annoying in everyday life.

In the ADAC breakdown statistics, the Suzuki Swift lands roughly in the middle of the field. At the TÜV, the balance sheet is a bit mixed overall.

advantages

  • available with all-wheel drive

  • good space in front

  • complete safety equipment including knee airbag and ESP series

  • very low pollutants in the exhaust gas

disadvantage

  • small trunk

  • Window lifter without anti-trap protection

Toyota Auris

Thefirst generation of Toyota Auris came on the market in 2007 and was offered as a three- and a five-door hatchback. TheCompact class model was the successor to the model previously sold as Corolla in Europe. The car continued to be sold as Corolla in other markets - as was the case in Germany again from 2019.

The Auris convinces with good workmanship and a decent amount of space in front and behind. The trunk is of the usual size for its class. However, the all-round view and the seating comfort are not among the strengths of the Japanese. The suspension is balanced and the steering offers precision. The safety equipment is at an exemplary level.

The quality of the vehicles is typical of Toyota, which is reflected in the very good values ​​in the TÜV defect statistics. Only badly worn brake components and rusting exhaust systems cause problems every now and then. In the ADAC breakdown statistics, the Toyota Auris is way ahead on the same level as the German premium competition.

advantages

  • easy entry and exit

  • good space

  • stable brakes

  • safe chassis

  • high passive safety

  • very reliable technology

  • very economical hybrid

disadvantage

  • limited all-round view

  • Trunk little variable

  • partly low-torque engines

Toyota Yaris

TheYaris introduced in Germany in 1999 quickly became the best-selling Toyota. Last but not least, this was due to its great reliability, which until then had been in the class ofSmall car was unmatched. The successor offered from the beginning of 2006 can maintain the good level.

The range of drives offered extends from the 1.0-l three-cylinder petrol engine with 51 kW (70 hp) to the top-of-the-range TS engine (1.8 l with 98 kW / 133 hp) and the only diesel engine with 60 kW output. Conclusion: a well-equipped small car with strengths in reliability, safety and the variability of the trunk. The Toyota Yaris does well in the ADAC breakdown statistics.

advantages

  • good space for a small car

  • safe driving behavior

  • good child safety

  • low maintenance costs

  • very economical hybrid

  • very reliable technology

disadvantage

  • uncomfortable chassis

  • small trunk

  • sluggish naturally aspirated engines

  • loud interior

VW Golf

Actually it isVW Golf VI a sham. Because in reality it is the extensively revised predecessor of the fifth generation. But that does the qualities of theCompact class model no demolition, on the contrary. The advantages of the successful series were expanded, the few weaknesses improved and the quality further increased.

So it is no wonder that the VW Golf VI offered between 2008 and 2012 gives little cause for concern in the ADAC breakdown statistics and achieves very good results. A Golf VI is almost always a good choice, as the vehicle has hardly any weaknesses. The space is very good, as is the workmanship. Due to the high prevalence, the selection on the used car market is excellent. There are different body variants with many different engines, from the well-kept pensioner vehicle with virgin mileage to the cheap kilometer king with a powerful turbo diesel.

Due to its widespread use, the supply of spare parts with used parts is also very good: interesting for everyone who likes to pick up a screwdriver themselves.

advantages

  • good space in front

  • very high level of security

  • safe chassis

  • easy handling

  • exact circuit

  • solid workmanship

  • good value retention

  • Gigantic selection

  • very large trunk in the variant

  • available with all-wheel drive

disadvantage

  • high prices

  • sometimes problems with timing chains in TSI engines

Conclusion

The special requirements for a car suitable for novice drivers do not make the search easy. NeverthelessSuitable vehicles can be found from the smallest to the lower middle class.In the case of small cars, relatively young models can be chosen if you want to keep a budget of 5000 €.

Who would prefer onelarger vehicle want to drive, have to resort to a slightly older model for the same price. But even there you can find reliable and recommendable models. Ultimately, it is a question of taste and personal requirements of a car which model is the right purchase decision.

Source: The basic selection of the vehicles was made by evaluating the ADAC car database. The ADAC breakdown statistics 2018 and the TÜV Report 2019 were used for information on reliability and durability.