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  • Best Cars for Young Drivers

       (Overall rating from this review)
    New drivers need cars that are easy to drive, perform well in crash tests and have low insurance group ratings
    • Performance
    • Quality
    • Economy
    • Cost


    If you’re the parent of a son or daughter who’s about to learn to drive, chances are you have one question on your mind: 'what's the best car for a new driver'?

    Your offspring will be focusing on looks, performance or the quality of the stereo. Parents, on the other hand, will probably value more practical considerations, such as how safe it is and how much it will cost buy, run and insure. Cue hours of family squabbles.

    To help you out, we've produced a list of the five best new cars and five of the best used cars for a young driver. We have prioritised the more practical purchase considerations, although there’s still a healthy crop of stylish metal on the list.

    For the new cars, we’ve opted for a maximum budget of £10,000. All the cars achieve a minimum of four stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and are no higher than insurance group three (out of 50).

    1. Ford Fiesta

    The entry-level Fiesta 1.25 60 Studio just sneaks within our £10k budget, at a cost of £9995. It scores a maximum of five stars for the Euro NCAP crash test and is in group three for insurance. It’s also one of our favorite small cars to drive, it’s cheap to run, and it looks stylish so it should appeal to style-conscious tastes.

    Ford often has a range of finance packages and special editions that could potentially boost the value aspect even further. Certain Fiesta models are also available with the MyKey system, which enables parents to limit certain functions for added safety (see below).

    2. VW Up

    You can get the 1.0 60 Move Up and opt for VW’s portable sat-nav for under £10k. It’s in insurance group one and will average over 60mpg. This surprisingly roomy city car achieves the full five stars from Euro NCAP. We love its solid build, funky looks and excellent dynamics, although the 59bhp engine struggles on the motorway. VW doesn't offer big discounts, but the Up makes up for this with impressive resale values.

    3. Hyundai i10

    The i10 might not be as stylish as the Up or Fiesta, but its roomy interior, comfortable ride and high equipment levels helped it pick up our 2014 Best City Car award. Average economy of 60mpg plus a group one insurance rating make it cheap to run, and it achieved four stars from Euro NCAP. Neither the driving experience nor the quality of its interior match the Up's, and the 1.0-litre engine struggles at higher speeds, but otherwise it’s a great little car.

    4. Vauxhall Corsa

    The new Corsa offers plenty of space and is comfortable and well finished inside. It’s not as good to drive as the Fiesta, but you can have it with the 1.4-litre engine for less than £10k, and it's a decent thing for motorway use. As well as having low running costs, Vauxhall dealers often run promotions that cater for younger drivers, such as free insurance and tend to offer healthy discounts off the list price. The Corsa was awarded a full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests.

    5. Seat Mii

    The Mii is cheaper than the virtually identical VW Up, with the S version starting at just over £8000. Upping the budget to £9995 will get you the i-Tech model, which comes with alloy wheels, sat-nav, plus Bluetooth as standard. It's also safe, having achieved five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and it’s in the lowest group one insurance category. This, combined with excellent fuel economy, means it won’t cost the earth to run.

    6. Suzuki Swift 

    7. MG3

    8. Renault Clio

    Original Article by John Howell - WhatCar

    GOOD POINTS:
    • Small engines, Cheaper insurance
    BAD POINTS:
    • Image, Performance


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  • Our picks

    • Delorean Motor Company
      On August 12th 2015 I was lucky enough to visit the former DeLorean Factory in Dunmurry-Belfast and was surprised to find that the site is still being used in the manufacture of car components for no other that Peugeot and Citroen. I visited the site on a Sunday and as such it was much like a ghost town which how it must have felt shortly after DMC demise and closure in 1983.



      On looking around the various factory units it was amazing to still see some of the original DMC-12 production line equipment still hanging from the ceilings and which sit redundant and forever waiting. I look round and try to picture what the site would have looked like in the heyday of production and feel a sadness that the production was cut short.






      Unfortunately I did not get a chance to look at the historic Delorean test track due to a lack of time which was real shame as it is under threat from being built on. Nor did I get to drive up to the famous Delorean House as it is a private residence which had subsequently sold the year before.

      I do hope that Belfast stops any proposals of housing on the Delorean test track, as it would be a great loss to Belfast due to the history the test track and the rest of the factory complex holds for city.
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    • MG Longbridge
      On the 9th August 2015 I had the fortune of visiting the historic MG factory at Longbridge in Birmingham, and on arrival we waited for our guide in the MG Showroom which gave me a chance to have a look over the MG3 and MG6. Our guide then met us and took us across to the main buildings where we were shown into a room and learnt the history of the MG brand and SAIC future plans for the marque.


      After the presentation the real fun began and we were shown a faithful reconstruction of Morris office and then moved onto the Technical Centre. As no surprise we were not allowed to take any pictures, but we were show an MG3 turbo prototype as well as the CAD/CAM machines as well as the engine test facilities. The test facilities at Longbridge design and develop the engines and suspension for European MG3s and as such they differ from their Chinese siblings.


      We then moved onto the heart of the site where we saw the build process for the MG3 but I must confess the conveyor belts and production lines were silent on the day of our visit as production only occurred two days a week. We were also informed that the cars arrive from China to the UK as Complete Knock Down (CKD) kits and reassembled at Longbridge. The silence was eerie but I was just pleased to see the factories still being used for their orginal purpose instead of just idling.










      The final part of the tour was to be shown MG’s private collection of prototypes and historic vehicles which included some limited edition models and key successes such as the Mini, TF and Austin Healey. Overall the factory tour was a great day out and a real insight into the current operations of MG.   

       
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    • Brexit: what it means for the British car industry
      The entire automotive industry talks nervously of disruption. Autonomy, China, electric vehicles… these days it’s a case of pick your threat.
      In the UK, however, disruption is coming much faster and from a much more traditional source: politics. Brexit and, to a lesser extent, the decline of diesel are probably the two biggest forces acting on our industry right now, and the fate of both, by and large, lies in the hands of the Government and its opposition.
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    • The Golf Mk4, another future classic?
      It’s now 20 years since the first Golf Mk4 was registered in the UK, and to mark the occasion Steve reviews whether or not the fourth generation Golf could be considered a future classic?


      The fourth generation Golf was introduced to the UK in mid-1998 to replace the aging mk3 model and was available in 3 or 5 door hatchback, estate or cabriolet even though the latter was just a facelifted Mk3 Golf convertible which naturally confused buyers. The Mk4 Golf brought with it various improvements over the outgoing model as it was both longer and wider than the previous model as well as being taller which all improved the cabin space. One key improvement over the mk3 variant was the fact the mk4 Golf body shell was galvanised to prevent against rust and backed up with a 12 year perforation warranty. This was a big thing as the mk3 became notorious for rust, so much so it equally matched with the Ford Escort and Ford Ka on the amount of rust issues that developed.
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    • Kia Niro
      Steve sets to find out whether Kia’s first attempt at a compact hybrid SUV is a good one, and whether you should consider purchasing one

      The word Niro is an interesting one because it is pronounced the same regardless if its spelt Niro or Nero. Why is this relevant to a car review I can hear you ask? Well the word Niro/Nero will mean different things to different people. For example coffee connoisseurs will think of the coffee shop, to Trekkies they’ll think of the baddy in the 2009 Star Trek franchise reboot film and for me I think of Kia’s new  compact SUV. This also brings me nicely to my photo location which is the National Space Centre in Leicester, which I have chosen as a nod to the Trekkies but also as the Kia and the Space Centre have something in common – the focus on the future.
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