School? Done. Gap year? Done? Uni? Done? Job hunting? Done. Well, well, well, looks like you’re ready for the big, bad world.

Taking your first steps as a young professional can be pretty daunting. No more student discount, no more council tax exemption and no more sleeping in till three in the afternoon!

Leaving uni and landing your first job isn’t all doom and gloom though. With a new job comes new disposable income. And with a bit of extra cash in your pocket, you can finally move on from that twenty-year-old rust bucket on wheels you inherited from your parents.

To help you track down your perfect next car, we’ve rounded up ten of the best cars for young professionals.

We’ve got a bit of everything in there. Superminis like the Ford Fiesta, city cars like the Hyundai i10 and hatchbacks like the Dacia Sandero. Whether you want small and nippy or big and basic, we’ve got a cracking set of wheels for you.

So sit back, take a read and hopefully you’ll find the perfect car to ferry you to and from your new job.

The Volkswagen Polo is classy car for classy people. It's the perfect choice if you think Beemers are a bit laddy and Mercs are a bit expensive.

Volkswagen launched the newest sixth generation Polo in 2017. Well, it’s available in 2018 but we’ve all seen it and we’ve all taken it for a test drive.

The good news is that VW has improved pretty much everything. The Polo — built on the same foundations as the awesome SEAT Ibiza — is bigger than its predecessor and you've got five new engines to choose from.

On the outside, everything's a little bit sharper. VW’s designers have rubbed out all the soft curves of the 2012 Polo, replacing them with hard angular lines.

And it looks sensational!

My biggest criticism of the old Polos is that they simply weren’t fun to drive. Thankfully, things are better with the 2017 model.

There’s plenty of grip and the steering feels pretty tactile. The ride is firm enough to stop any noticeable roll yet soft enough to soak up potholes and speed bumps. Yes, it won’t leave a smile on your face like the Fiesta will but it won’t leave you frowning either.

Inside, it’s a very classy affair. From the big infotainment screen to the driver’s HUD, everything just oozes German sophistication.

If you’re in the market for a more premium hatchback, you’ll be hard pushed to do better than the Polo.

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 12
  • Highest Insurance Group: 23
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 3
77 viewed this car Polo Hatchback View Gallery
7.5

Volkswagen Polo Hatchback

28 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 91 - 151g/km

From £142.49 Per Month

Initial Rental: £854.94 inc VAT

After losing their way with the ninth generation Civic — bland, boring and basic, in case you missed it — Honda’s tenth generation Civic was a real return to form.

It’s brand new grille looks superb and that slightly edgier look is replicated all along the car. It’s practical too with a big boot, an efficient engine and a comfy ride — perfect for the young professional on a budget.

Like all new Hondas, the Civic is packed full of tech, which can’t be said for every car on the list.

All in all, I like it a lot!

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 15
  • Highest Insurance Group: 20
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 5
107 viewed this car Civic Hatchback View Gallery
7.5

Honda Civic Hatchback

31 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.2
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 93 - 215g/km

From £165.25 Per Month

Initial Rental: £991.50 inc VAT

If there’s one thing Peugeot is good at, it’s small and stylish cars you can almost fit in your pocket. So it’s no surprise that the Peugeot 208 does the badge proud.

A step up from the microscopic Peugeot 108, the 208 is classy on the outside and refined on the inside. Behind the wheel, it’s an absolute dream, light in the cities and solid on motorways. Yes, it isn’t as fun as the Fiesta but few cars are.

It’s also a bargain to run. With its frugal diesel engines, Peugeot claims the 208 can manage 94.2 mpg, which is astonishing. (If a little unbelievable for the real world.)

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 14
  • Highest Insurance Group: 26
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 5
77 viewed this car 208 Hatchback View Gallery
7.8

Peugeot 208 Hatchback

16 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.6
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 79 - 134g/km

From £145.98 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,313.82 inc VAT

Skoda has a good track record when it comes to cheap cars that punch above their weight and the Skoda Citigo is the best of the bunch!

It’s got absolutely everything you’d want from a first car: economy, stupidly cheap insurance, impressive fuel efficiency,

Cards on the table, it’s not the most exciting looking car but it's also not the ugliest.

In terms of equipment, it really depends what you compare it to. It’s got more than the bargain basement Dacia Sandero (but so does the Luddite Society’s head office!) but less than the super techy Hyundai i10.

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 2
  • Highest Insurance Group: 4
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 1
66 viewed this car Citigo Hatchback View Gallery
8.4

Skoda Citigo Hatchback

20 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.0
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 96 - 103g/km

From £120.00 Per Month

Initial Rental: £720.00 inc VAT

Since wooly mammoths walked the earth, the Ford Fiesta has reigned supreme as king of the superminis. (Seriously, they are still digging up fossilised Fiesta wishbones in Patagonia!)

And that’s not because the Fiesta hasn't had any challengers. It is.

The techy Hyundai i20 showed what a modern supermini could look like and the no-frills Dacia Sandero showed how cheap superminis could get.

But despite admirable efforts, nothing has come close to the superb styling, faultless practicality and great driving of the Fiesta.

It was the sixth generation Fiesta — launched in 2008 and retired in 2017 — that really won over drivers. So when Ford announced they were bringing out a new generation, I was a bit worried. Would they reinvent the wheel and end up with a useless square? Would they retain that indescribable Fiesta magic?

Thankfully, they've stayed true to a winning formula and spent their time tweaking, polishing and refining. The new Fiesta is still a Fiesta but everything feels just a little bit better.

Ford’s engineers have tweaked almost everything panel, component and setting, improving every single element of the Fiesta by one or two percent. The styling is that bit smarter, the feedback more tactile and the driving experience more fun.

Simply put, the Ford Fiesta is a great car for young professions, old professions and everyone in between!

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 11
  • Highest Insurance Group: 31
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 3
192 viewed this car Fiesta Hatchback View Gallery
7.3

Ford Fiesta Hatchback

122 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.9 - 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £135.03 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,215.27 inc VAT

Coming in at not much bigger than the size of a postage stamp is Volkswagen’s pint-sized city car dubbed the Up! (And yes the exclamation mark is actually part of the name.)

Unlike some other city cars, which get built on a budget with whatever resources the manufacturer happens to have lying around, the Up! is every bit a Volkswagen. It’s sleek and minimal and was clearly engineered rather than designed.

City cars are never going to be the most comfortable for motorway cruising but the Up! does a remarkable job as long as you go for the largest 90hp engine. As a small car with a small engine, fuel efficiency is mixed. While Volkswagen claims you’ll get around 60 mpg, motorists in the real world are seeing numbers closer to 40 mpg, which is pretty middle of the road for a small(ish) car.

However, it’s tough to fault for the Up! for what it is — a brilliant, well-made city car. If you’re happy paying a little bit for a little bit more, there are few better choices than this.

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 4
  • Highest Insurance Group: 10
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 1
95 viewed this car UP Hatchback View Gallery
8.4

Volkswagen UP Hatchback

39 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.0
  • Fuel: P, E
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £131.71 Per Month

Initial Rental: £790.26 inc VAT

The Hyundai i10 is a deceptively small city car designed for nipping through traffic and down windy streets. But dig beneath its bite-sized exterior and you’ll find a surprisingly roomy and practical motor.

Even though it only launched in 2013, Hyundai has already updated the i10, injecting fresh tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to keep it relevant for new drivers.

Add in a more refined look, better engines and a more solid driving feeling and you’ve got yourself a car that can hold its own against much more established city car options.

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 4
  • Highest Insurance Group: 7
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 1
34 viewed this car I10 Hatchback View Gallery
7.4

Hyundai I10 Hatchback

12 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 93 - 141g/km

From £107.14 Per Month

Initial Rental: £642.84 inc VAT

The Dacia Sandero is a cheap car. I’m talking sit-down-and-catch-your-breath cheap. With a list price of just £5,780, you could pick up a whole fleet of Sanderos with the money you find behind your couch!

And for that money, you get a whole lot of car.

Internal space is impressive, the finish is robust (if uninspired), the engine is surprisingly punchy and the drive is reasonably engaging. Depending on your engine choice, Dacia claims you’ll get somewhere from 48.7 to 80.7 MPG, which’ll help you eek out every last mile from your petrol.

If you’re won over by the Sandero’s no-nonsense approach, make sure you get one of the mid-spec trims. The basic model is incredibly basic and lacks stuff like remote locking and (somehow) a stereo!

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 7
  • Highest Insurance Group: 12
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 2
54 viewed this car Sandero Hatchback View Gallery
4.7

Dacia Sandero Hatchback

13 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.5
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M
  • CO2: 90 - 130g/km

From £112.53 Per Month

Initial Rental: £675.18 inc VAT

The Vauxhall Corsa — as a Corsa and not a Nova — has been around since 1992 and it’s been a damn good car for pretty much all that time. Sadly, it’s never really got the praise it deserves and remains a bit of an outside bet compared to more popular superminis like the Fiesta and Polo.

But take a Corsa for a test drive and you’ll wonder why. The engines are punchy, the drive is fun, the styling is bang on and the interior trim is really nice.

I think the problem is that it does no one thing better than its competitors. The drive is great but it’s not better than the Fiesta, the trim is great but it’s not as classy as the Polo and so on.

But looking for a car that does one thing well really isn’t the way to buy a car. The sensible decision is to buy a car that does everything well and that means the sensible decision is the Corsa.

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 7
  • Highest Insurance Group: 19
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 2
151 viewed this car Corsa Hatchback

Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback

41 derivatives available

  • Doors: 2 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.7
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £122.16 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,099.44 inc VAT

The old Renault Clio was boxy and boring. No, that’s not fair. It was boxy and very boring.

Well, times have changed. The new(ish) Clio — updated in 2012 and refreshed in 2016 — comes with a new silky smooth style, an engaging drive and really impressive tech.

From the outside, the new Clio looks the business. Its fluid panels look almost organic and some clever hidden rear door handles keep the curves consistent from nose to tail.

Inside, it’s not the biggest hatchback on the market but it’s smartly designed and well built.

And, unless you pick up a super sporty trim — Sport Trophy, I’m looking at you and your eye-watering insurance group — Clios are pretty cheap to insurance and surprisingly cheap to run.

Insurance at a glance

  • Average Insurance Group: 11
  • Highest Insurance Group: 28
  • Lowest Insurance Group: 3
89 viewed this car Clio Hatchback View Gallery
7.2

Renault Clio Hatchback

14 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.9 - 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P, F
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £134.68 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,212.12 inc VAT