The 7 safest cars for new drivers

Written by Steve Cook

Published on

When it comes to choosing your first car, things like style, technology and performance are all important. But the thing that should always be at the top of your priority list is safety.

Here’s our pick of the 7 safest cars for new and young drivers, including an overview of their industry ratings, safety features and overall reliability.

1. Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo

Image taken from the Volkswagen Polo product page

With its reputation for reliability and safety, the Volkswagen Polo is a great choice for new drivers. Recent models boast an impressive 5-star Euro NCAP rating, making the Polo a safe, beginner-friendly vehicle.

It comes equipped with a range of advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and a driver fatigue detection system. These technologies act as an extra pair of eyes on the road, helping you stay alert and avoid potential accidents. As a new driver, you can feel confident knowing that the Polo has your back.

Key safety points:

  • 5-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Driver fatigue detection system

2. Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris 2024

Image taken from the Toyota Yaris product page

The Toyota Yaris is another top pick for safety-conscious new drivers. This compact car has consistently earned high marks in Euro NCAP tests, proving its commitment to driver and passenger protection.

The Yaris offers a comprehensive set of safety technologies, such as adaptive cruise control, road sign assist, and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. These features provide an added layer of security and reliability, helping you navigate the roads with confidence.

Key safety points:

  • High Euro NCAP safety ratings
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Road sign assist
  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection

3. Nissan Micra

Nissan Micra

Image taken from the Top Gear Nissan Micra review webpage

The Nissan Micra is a popular choice among young drivers, and for good reason. With a solid 4-star Euro NCAP rating, the Micra offers you a safe and secure set of wheels.

It comes equipped with advanced safety tech like intelligent emergency braking, lane departure warning, and a 360-degree camera system for enhanced visibility. As a new driver, these features can offer real peace of mind, helping you avoid collisions and stay aware of your surroundings as you gain confidence on the road.

Key safety points:

  • 4-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Intelligent emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • 360-degree camera system

4. Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

Image taken from Ford Fiesta product page

The Ford Fiesta is a classic choice for new drivers, combining reliability and safety in a stylish package that’s been awarded a 5-star Euro NCAP rating.

The latest Fiesta models boast advanced safety tech including a blind-spot information system, cross-traffic alert, and a tyre pressure monitoring system. As a young driver, you can rest assured that you’re well protected, while enjoying the Fiesta's engaging driving dynamics when you’re out on the road.

Key safety points:

  • 5-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Blind-spot information system
  • Cross-traffic alert
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system

5. Renault Clio

Renault Clio

Image taken from the Renault Clio product page

The Renault Clio is a solid choice for new drivers looking for a car that combines style with safety. Newer models even come with an impressive 5-star Euro NCAP rating.

It features a comprehensive suite of safety features, such as lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, and a hands-free parking system for added convenience. This clever tech takes some of the strain out of learning to drive on UK roads, giving you extra peace of mind while you build your skills and confidence.

Key safety points:

  • 5-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Lane departure warning
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Hands-free parking system

6. Skoda Fabia

Skoda Fabia

Image taken from Skoda Fabia product page

The Skoda Fabia is another practical and safe choice for new drivers. This spacious small car has achieved a commendable 5-star Euro NCAP rating, offering good protection for you and your passengers.

The Fabia comes equipped with features like the multi-collision brake system, a driver fatigue sensor, and rear parking sensors. This tech helps to reduce the chance of a collision, alert you when you show signs of fatigue, and assist with everyday parking.

Key safety points:

  • 5-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Multi-collision brake system
  • Driver fatigue sensor
  • Rear parking sensors

7. Hyundai i20

Hyundai i20

Image taken from Hyundai i20 product page

Last but not least, the Hyundai i20 finishes our list of safe cars for new drivers. With a respectable 4-star Euro NCAP rating, the i20 provides a secure and reliable driving experience.

It boasts a forward collision warning system, a lane-keeping assist system, and a driver attention warning system to help prevent accidents caused by fatigue. The i20's user-friendly features and impressive safety tech make it a great choice for younger drivers.

Key safety points:

  • 4-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Forward collision warning system
  • Lane-keeping assist system
  • Driver attention warning system

Frequently asked questions

How can young drivers lower the cost of car insurance?

Young drivers can lower their car insurance costs by choosing a car that’s cheaper to insure. You could also consider a telematics insurance policy, which gives you discounts when you drive well, or try increasing your voluntary excess. Newer drivers can also take advanced driving courses to help build their confidence on the road (and reduce their insurance risk), or add an experienced named driver to their policy.

What should new drivers look for in a safe car?

New drivers should look for cars with high Euro NCAP safety ratings and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). You should also look for features like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring.

Are smaller cars less safe than larger vehicles?

No, modern small cars can be just as safe as larger vehicles, especially those models with advanced safety technology and structural design. Many small cars have excellent Euro NCAP ratings, proving their ability to protect drivers and passengers in a collision.

How can new drivers reduce their insurance costs?

New drivers can help to bring their insurance costs down by choosing a car in a lower insurance group — these tend to be cars that are cheaper to buy and repair, with good safety features and less powerful engines. They could also try a telematics insurance policy, select a higher voluntary excess, complete an advanced driving course, or add an experienced named driver to their insurance.

What is Euro NCAP, and why is it important for new drivers?

Euro NCAP is an independent organisation that conducts safety tests on new vehicles in Europe, giving star ratings based on performance. As a new driver, you should consider vehicles with a high Euro NCAP rating to make sure you’re choosing a vehicle with good safety features and added protection for you and your passengers.