Being a young driver is a weird mixture of extremes. Your first car brings freedom like you've never had before but the mammoth insurance costs border on crippling!

With the financial reality of car ownership setting in, your dreams of cruising round town in some big SUV start to crumble. But don’t worry! We've got you covered.

For this blog, I've been digging around to find the most reliable (yet cool) cars I could. Then I whittled them down to find ones that hit the perfect sweet spot between price, efficiency and fun.

What I’ve come up with are 10 brilliantly reliable cars that I’d recommend to any young driver out there. These cars will drive and drive and drive with the bare minimum car maintenance!

The Dacia Sandero is a seriously cheap car. Have a rummage down the back of your sofa and you'll probably find enough cash to pay for a two-year lease… or at least the initial payment! It's also the fourth most reliable car on the market, according to Honest John's Satisfaction Index!

The Sandero Stepway is basically the same car but with some fairly major tweaks to the body. It rides higher than the basic Sandero and has stockier, more rugged bodywork.

It's not quite a crossover but it’s definitely leaning in that direction.

Other than the bodywork tweaks, the Sandero Stepway is pretty much the same as the basic Sandero.

Internal space is generous, the finish is robust, most of the engines are punchy and the drive is pretty engaging if a touch wobbly in the taller Stepway.

Depending on your engine choice, Dacia claims you’ll get somewhere from 48.7 to 80.7 MPG (in the real world expect more like 35 to 70 MPG), which is really impressive for a roomy hatchback.

Sitting in insurance groups 8 to 11, the Sandero Stepway shouldn't cost too much to insure either — excellent news for cash strapped young drivers!

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 remote locking and (somehow) a stereo!

49 viewed this car Sandero Stepway Hatchback View Gallery
4.7

Dacia Sandero Stepway Hatchback

10 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.5
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M
  • CO2: None

From £135.85 Per Month

Initial Rental: £815.10 inc VAT

An electric car for a young driver? Really? Well, kind of. I'll recommend the Nissan Leaf but only with the caveat that you have somewhere to charge it. If you rely on public charging points, the Leaf just isn’t going to cut it for day-to-day life.

However, if you have a private charging point installed at your home or place of work, you’d be hard pushed to do better than the world’s best-selling all-electric car.

As Nissan's flagship all-electric car, the Leaf is about as good as an electric-car get. So it's not that surprisingly that it lands the seventh-spot on Honest John's Satisfaction Index. I should point out that the Leaf is expensive to repair but if you're leasing that shouldn't be a big consideration as you're covered by the warranty. (Unless you opt for a four year lease.)

Nissan claims that you’ll get 235 miles out of this generation, which means you can actually use the Leaf as an everyday car.

The Leaf sits in insurance group 21 so it's a bit more costly to insure but that comes with the all-electric territory.

81 viewed this car Leaf Hatchback View Gallery
8.0

Nissan Leaf Hatchback

5 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0
  • Fuel: E
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: None

From £288.62 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,597.61 inc VAT

Cheap as chips and cute as buttons, the Kia Picanto is a bit of a dark horse in the super congested city car niche.

Coming in at eighth on Honest John's Satisfaction Index, the Picanto is impressively reliable. In fact, Kia is so proud of their engineering that they offer a seven-year warranty on it!

Like pretty much every other city car, you can choose between a small petrol engine (1.0-litre) and a slightly less small petrol engine (1.25-litre). Since it's designed for city driving, neither engine is particularly fast but they're both punch enough for start-stop city conditions and will handle short-haul motorway trips.

The ride in the Picanto is decent, if a touch bumpy over rough roads and there's not much body roll in twisty corners.

Oh, and talking of corners, the handling on the Kia is superb. It’s supremely light and pinpoint accurate.

At the pump, you’ll see real world fuel efficiency of around about 40 to 45 mpg. And as a small city car, insurance will cost you buttons. Most trims sit around insurance group 4 or 5 with some of the sportier options bumped up to 7 or 8.

177 viewed this car Picanto Hatchback View Gallery
7.0

Kia Picanto Hatchback

14 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.0 - 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 99 - 138g/km

From £116.60 Per Month

Initial Rental: £699.60 inc VAT

The Honda Jazz has never been the coolest hatch on the market. Big, safe and practical, it's been the go-to choice of OAPs for decades.

Thankfully, things are starting to change.

Perhaps because its competitors are ramping up the pressure — Volkswagen's Polo, Ford's Fiesta and SEAT's Ibiza are all getting better every year — but Honda really spiced things up with the latest generation Jazz. It's actually quite an attractive car now, especially after this year's mid-generation facelift.

On the road, everything feels a bit tighter and a bit sharper. The old rolly polly suspension is gone and it's replaced with a taught — dare I say, sporty? — ride.

The Jazz is the first car on our list from the Reliability Index, taking fifth position.

For a big supermini, insurance is pretty good too. You're looking at insurance group 13 for most trims and 19 for the sporty version.

101 viewed this car Jazz Hatchback View Gallery
7.5

Honda Jazz Hatchback

14 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.3 - 1.5
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 106 - 133g/km

From £113.76 Per Month

Initial Rental: £682.56 inc VAT

The Hyundai i10 is a small city car designed for nipping through traffic and down windy streets.

Even though the third generation i10 launched in 2013, Hyundai has already released a refreshed half-generation model with a bunch of new tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Since phone mirroring is such a new addition to the market, it’s nice to see Hyundai working to keep their cars relevant for as long as possible.

The exterior design also received a touch up with a more refined look from front to rear.

As with the the Picanto, engine choice is somewhat limited with a 66 bhp 1.0-litre petrol and a 87 bhp 1.2-litre petrol. Both are fairly unexciting and are best suited to city driving.

Hyundai claims the smaller unit will manage up to 60.1 mpg and the larger unit 57.6 mph. In reality, you’ll probably manage somewhere in the high-40s or low-50s.

Insurance is super cheap as most trims sit in insurance group 1 or 2. There's a few slightly sportier trims that bump you up into insurance group 6 but that's only going to add a couple quid onto your bill.

66 viewed this car I10 Hatchback View Gallery
7.4

Hyundai I10 Hatchback

11 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.0 - 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 Ford Ka+ is a little difficult to explain because it’s not, as you might expect, the latest version of the old Ford Ka.

The new Ford Ka+ is actually a brand new car adapted from the Ford Fiesta. And that's good because we love the Ford Fiesta!

As the cheapest model in Ford’s extensive lineup, you might expect the Ka+ to feel a bit budget.

Well, it doesn't.

The interior design is classy and robust, the soundproofing is decent, reducing wind and road noise to a dull hum and the driver's seat is comfortable and supportive.

And it’s practical too.

The new five-door Ka+ is longer than its outgoing predecessor by about a foot, which creates valuable space in the rear seats and boot. The new 270-litre boot is as big as most superminis and is bigger than most city cars.

Under the bonnet, you’ve not got two versions of the same engine, producing either 69 bhp or 84 bhp. They're both nippy on city streets but you'll struggle to get up to motorway speeds without mashing the accelerator to the floor.

Coming in at number 12 on the Reliability Index, this isn't a car that'll break down any time soon.

Toss in some super cheap insurance — most trims are insurance group 2 and the highest is group 5 — and the Ford Ka+ is a great choice whether you’re looking for a dinky city car or a larger supermini.

58 viewed this car KA+ Hatchback View Gallery
7.4

Ford KA+ Hatchback

6 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.2 - 1.5
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M
  • CO2: 99 - 129g/km

From £144.42 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,299.78 inc VAT

I genuinely don’t know why anyone bothers trying to produce a supermini. The industry is already stacked to the rafters with outstanding cars like the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa and Nissan Micra.

Yes, you might get lucky and carve out a little niche for yourself. But it’s more likely your car will fade into the pack never to be seen again. (Alfa Romeo Mito, anyone?)

Thankfully, the bosses at SEAT are braver than me and kept faith in the SEAT Ibiza through its painfully quiet third and fourth generations.

And that's fantastic news because the fifth generation Ibiza is outstanding and more than holds its own against the supermini stalwarts.

This new model is built on Volkswagen’s fancy new MQB A0 platform. Alongside the new platform comes a brand new look, which is sharp and undeniably SEAT-esque.

Targeted at a younger audience — hence the name — the Ibiza comes packed full of tech. The eight-inch infotainment screen is awesome, the phone mirroring is handy and the audio upgrades are impressively affordable.

On the road, the Ibiza feels more solid than ever with its wider profile and nicely balanced ride.

All its engines are lively enough for city driving and will do an okay job on motorways.

Fuel efficiency is okay too with most engines achieving up to around 55-60 mpg, according to SEAT and only a little bit less according to real drivers.

Sitting at number 22 on Reliability Index's Top 100, the Ibiza is impressively robust for a technically intricate car. Insurance is good too with the basic S trim sitting in insurance group 2 and most other trims landing in insurance group 10 and below.

137 viewed this car Ibiza Hatchback View Gallery
7.3

Seat Ibiza Hatchback

39 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £146.12 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,315.12 inc VAT

With the oomph of Groupe PSA behind it, the Peugeot 108 is an extremely well designed and well built city car and is the 17th most reliable car on the market, according to Reliability Index.

Now into its second generation, Peugeot has ironed out a lot of the niggles we had with the first generation 108, which to its credit was already a super solid city car.

Style-wise, the 108 fits into Peugeot’s understated range quite nicely. It’s neither brash nor boring and walks a nice line between youth and childishness.

Under the bonnet, you’ve got two engines to choose from — a 1.0-litre petrol and a 1.2-litre petrol — and both are efficient and economical. And while they won’t drag you round the Nurburgring in under ten minutes, they’ll get you about town just fine and will hold their own for short motorway stints.

On the road, it’s a surprisingly sporty affair. The steering's been tightened up a fair bit and new stiff suspension makes tight corners a blast.

The cabin’s received a bit of an update too with a nice new design and utilitarian materials used throughout. Higher trim models receive a big infotainment system too, which is a nice bonus for a city car!

Insurance is a little higher than you might expect for a small city car (most trims between insurance groups 6 and 11) with some sporty trims bumped up to 13.

109 viewed this car 108 Hatchback View Gallery
6.9

Peugeot 108 Hatchback

9 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.0 - 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 88 - 99g/km

From £131.27 Per Month

Initial Rental: £787.62 inc VAT