Ahh, student life. We remember it well:  20% off discounts, sleeping in until 2pm, throwing up on a bi-weekly basis from excessive Blue WKD consumption.

And of course, a constant reliance on terrible public transport. Whether it’s a bus to uni sitting next to a complete maniac (there’s always at least one on every bus) or an unreliable train ride to your parents, public transport can be a nightmare. 

So if your bank account is looking reasonably healthy and you’re not living on beans and toast, why not consider leasing a small car? 

Imagine having complete freedom to go wherever you please, whenever you please. No more arriving late to lectures or waiting around at a dodgy bus stop. It can all be yours for less than £150 a month!

What makes a good student car? 

There’s no one type of ‘student’ and the ‘student life’ can be completely different from one person to another. However, in all likelihood, money is tight and you’re studying in large towns or cities. 

We’ve kept this in mind while scouting around for our top 10 best cars for students. Here’s our criteria for our top cars for students: 

Cheap : Lets face it, your student loan barely covers your rent - so it’s vital that your car payment is cheap. All the cars featured on our list are available for less than £150 per month on LeaseFetcher.

Good Fuel economy: Of course, your car payment isn’t the only cost associated with getting on the road. Fuel will take a good chunk out of your budget if you’re doing a lot of driving. We’ve made sure that our top 10 have great fuel economy and make for some cheap motoring. 

Compact: Driving around town can be a pain in bigger cars. As a student, we think it’s better to opt for a city car or a small hatchback. These typically result in cheaper car insurance costs. All of our top 10 picks are in low insurance groups, so new drivers won’t have to pay an arm and a leg just to legally drive them. 

From £11,250 or from £119.23 per month on LeaseFetcher.

The average Fiat 500 driver might face a slight stereotype - girl/boy in their young twenties, rushing home from work to watch the latest episode of Love Island while draining a bottle of Prosecco. 

If this sounds like you, more power to you. If it’s not, the Fiat 500 is still worth considering. As one of the cheapest cars on this list, the Fiat 500 is also one of the smallest.

This isn’t a bad thing though. It’s dirt cheap to run, with a combined real world mpg of 47, you won’t be spending too much at the petrol pump. 

If you don’t need a lot of space, and want something that’s dead easy to navigate around town, check out the Fiat 500. 

Standout Features: 

  • Glass Roof option.
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. 

Pros: 

  • Really stylish looking little car. 
  • Inexpensive to buy and run. 

Cons: 

  • Will be too cramped for many. 
  • Equipment on the base trim is lacklustre.
15 viewed this car 500 Hatchback View Gallery
6.9

Fiat 500 Hatchback

21 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.4
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £119.23 Per Month

Initial Rental: £715.38 inc VAT
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From £15,395 or from £139.97 per month on Leasefetcher.

Easily SEATs best known car, the Ibiza is still as relevant in the UK small car market as it’s always been. SEAT has really upped the game the last few years, and has been challenging top rivals, like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. 

Always popular with young drivers, the SEAT Ibiza is perfect for the student who needs a little bit more space - they might regularly carry passengers to sports training, or regularly go home to their parents with a full boot of belongings. 

Where the SEAT truly shines though, is in its tech and interior design. The car looks stunning, and looks way more expensive than it is. The Ibiza is great value for money, with even the entry-level trim offering plenty of tech to keep you and your friends happy. 

Standout Features:

  • Front and back parking sensors. 
  • Cruise control. 

Pros: 

  • Only beaten on space by the Honda Jazz.
  • Technology on all trims is good. 

Cons: 

  • Not as fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta. 
  • Some of the interior plastics feel a bit cheap.
28 viewed this car Ibiza Hatchback View Gallery
7.3

Seat Ibiza Hatchback

26 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £132.40 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,588.80 inc VAT
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From £11,720 or from £136.67 per month on LeaseFetcher.

The 2019 Skoda Fabia doesn’t look too different from previous years. With just a minor facelift, there’s no huge design changes.

We can’t blame Skoda for this - when you’ve created an award winning car, there’s going to be no urgency to overhaul it. The 2019 model is as unpretentious as ever. It’s great value for money and features some brilliant design choices - the interior cabin and dashboard looks more like what you’d expect from a Volkswagen than a Fabia. 

It drives well too. The 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine is our top pick for performance and fuel economy. The only disappointment is that there’s still no ‘hot hatch’ version to take on the likes of the Fiesta ST and Volkswagen GTI. 

Standout Features: 

  • 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment display
  • LED daytime running lights.

Pros: 

  • Really affordable. 
  • Smooth and refined drive. 

Cons: 

  • Not as ‘cool’ as competitors like the Seat Ibiza. 
  • Could be more exciting to drive.
9 viewed this car Fabia Hatchback View Gallery
7.6

Skoda Fabia Hatchback

8 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 88 - 187g/km

From £130.31 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,172.79 inc VAT
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From £9216 or from £121.45 per month on LeaseFetcher.

The Pint Sized Hyundai i10 offers some unbelievable value for money. It comes with a 5 year warranty, so if you decide to lease the i10, you’ll never need to worry about the car failing (or an MOT if you lease for 3 years or less).

The i10 has everything you need. It’s easy to drive, cheap to run, and has decent enough tech. 

Of course, when you’re paying this little, you’re not going to be sitting in luxury. That being said, the i10 is surprisingly well built. The interior is solid, while not being particularly exciting. Design wise, the car makes sense - it’s far from ugly, and you won’t be embarrassed driving around in it. 

Cheap and cheerful, the i10 is perfect for a student!

Standout Features: 

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. 
  • 5 year/unlimited mileage Hyundai warranty.

Pros: 

  • Good fuel economy makes for low running costs - 45-55mpg combined. 
  • Really affordable car.

Cons: 

  • Dull compared to slightly more expensive rivals. 
  • 1.0-litre engine lacking in power - will be fine for new drivers.
14 viewed this car I10 Hatchback View Gallery
7.4

Hyundai I10 Hatchback

10 derivatives available

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

From £107.18 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,286.16 inc VAT
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From £9245 or from £123.34 per month on LeaseFetcher.

The Picanto used to be a proper granny car. Grim looking in every way, oozing practical and sensible city driving but lacking...everything else. 

In 2019, the Picanto actually looks good. For a small car, the space is impressive - drivers of 6ft and taller will find it comfortable to drive. For a city car, the rear space is excellent too.

Kia has done away with the three door model, so all Picantos come with a practical 5 door model. Once a manufacturer that were perpetually behind the times tech-wise, Kia has made an effort in recent years to get back on track, so you’ll likely be happy with the tech offerings in the Picanto. 

The Picanto has a combined real world mpg of 45, so it won’t cost you much to maintain. With sleek angles, lots of space, and quality tech, you can’t go wrong picking the Kia Picanto as your student car of choice. 

Standout features: 

  • 7 year/100,000 mile Kia warranty. 
  • Electric sunroof. 

Pros: 

  • Sporty styling works well - the Picanto is a great looking car.
  • Really spacious for a city car.

Cons: 

  • Lacking a bit of power. 
  • Few engines have poor emissions results, meaning higher road tax (unless you lease, and then you don’t pay it…)
14 viewed this car Picanto Hatchback View Gallery
7.0

Kia Picanto Hatchback

19 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £120.71 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,086.39 inc VAT
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From £10,810 or from £130.67 per month on LeaseFetcher.

The Corsa has to account for a huge percentage of people’s first cars. Everyone has a mate with a Corsa that drives it like it’s a Ferrari. 

Always associated with youthfulness and fun, the Corsa is a great car for a student. It’s not just a fun choice, but a sensible one too. The latest Corsa is packed with state of the art safety tech, so your Mum can worry a little bit less. 

For a start, the Corsa is pretty cheap - significantly less than the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Golf.  While it doesn’t drive quite as well as a Fiesta, it comes really close, and for the price, you really can’t complain. 

Standout Features:

  • Wireless Hotspot.
  • Park assist.

Pros: 

  • Generous amount of equipment on standard trims.
  • Lots of engine choice.

Cons: 

  • Interior build quality isn’t the best. 
  • A bit shaky at high speeds.
21 viewed this car Corsa Hatchback View Gallery
6.6

Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback

30 derivatives available

  • Doors: 2 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.8
  • Fuel: P, D, B
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £130.66 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,567.92 inc VAT
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From £12,340 or from £136.07 per month on LeaseFetcher.

The Swift is another reformed ‘granny car’. While the 2019 iteration is still the furthest thing from ‘Swift’, it’s actually a nice little car. 

With a combined real world mpg of 51, it’s still a sensible option. The Swift’s body (a little bit like a chunky Fabia) means that there’s plenty of space on the inside. Seating 5 adults comfortably, the Swift is a lot bigger than it appears.

The Swift body features an angular, sporty design, and it stands out from the (often drab) crowd. 

Middle of the road in terms of price, the Swift is a great option for students who want something that’s verging on premium, but not willing to pay the big bucks.

Standout Features: 

  • Automatic Air Conditioning. 
  • LED Daytime running lights. 

Pros: 

  • Spacious cabin and decent boot. 
  • Fun to drive. 

Cons: 

  • Steering could be a bit more responsive. 
  • Plastics on the dash feel quite cheap.
18 viewed this car Swift Hatchback View Gallery
7.1

Suzuki Swift Hatchback

6 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.6
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £120.20 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,442.40 inc VAT
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From £8914 or from £115.46 per month on  LeaseFetcher.

Toyota’s smallest and cheapest car, the Aygo is a brilliant city car. For 9 grand, you know you’re not going to be getting outrageous performance or ground-breaking tech, so get that notion out of your head!

So what makes the Aygo a good student car? Fuel economy and reliability. 

The Aygo has a real world mpg of 57.7, making it the most fuel efficient car on this list by a considerable margin. You’re a student - the cost of a full tank of fuel would feed you for six months so you can’t go spending a fortune at the petrol pumps! 

Toyota cars have a reputation of indestructibility, and the Aygo is no different. This tiny car is built like a tank and is ultra-reliable, so you won’t have to worry about regular repair costs. 

Standout Features: 

  • Reversing camera. 
  • Automatic air conditioning. 

Pros: 

  • Incredible fuel economy. 
  • Fairly nippy around town. 

Cons: 

  • Cabin is tiny and noisy. 
  • Tech offerings on base trim way behind rivals.
13 viewed this car Aygo Hatchback View Gallery
7.2

Toyota Aygo Hatchback

16 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.4
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 93 - 109g/km

From £115.46 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,039.14 inc VAT
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From £13,985 or from £150 per month on LeaseFetcher.

The old Micra was a grim affair all round. With Mr Bean looks and with the power of a hairdryer, it was definitely a car exclusively for those over 60. 

10 years ago, you’d be mortified driving your Mum’s Micra into the uni parking lot. If you drove the 2019 one in, you’d walk in with a swagger and a smug smile.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the 2019 Micra is a whole new model - it’s really that different. 

With sporty angles, and with much more space in general, the new Micra is a brilliant looking car. 

It’s also much more exciting to drive than the previous versions. The Micra’s sporty handling tackles corners with ease, giving you a little buzz on those country roads. 

Standout Features: 

  • BOSE sound system. 
  • Keyless entry. 

Pros: 

  • Sporty styling and performance.
  • Interior cabin is simple but efficient

Cons:

  • Engine options are lacking power. 
  • Rear space is poor.
27 viewed this car Micra Hatchback View Gallery
6.9

Nissan Micra Hatchback

84 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.6
  • Fuel: P, B, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £152.39 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,371.51 inc VAT
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From £13,880 or from £135.24 per month on LeaseFetcher.

The older Honda Jazz model is another car that a young driver would have been embarrassed to be seen in. That’s not to say it’s ever been a bad car, but it has most definitely been an ugly one. 

The Honda Jazz has always been like a gateway to Narnia, with an incredible amount of space in a supermini hatchback form. 

For 2019, Honda has capitalised on what made the last Jazz so good - built like a tank, good fuel economy. All in all, the Jazz remains a sensible purchase.

Thankfully though, they have also improved the design.The exterior now has sporty curves and is genuinely a smart looking car. Honda’s also reworked the interior, with a great infotainment system and all of the tech you’d ever need. 

Standout Features: 

  • Honda ‘Magic Seats’. 
  • Class leading boot space (1314 litres with back seats down.)

Pros: 

  • Still incredibly spacious. 
  • Really simple to drive and park. 

Cons: 

  • More expensive than it used to be. 
  • Engines are a bit loud. 
35 viewed this car Jazz Hatchback View Gallery
7.5

Honda Jazz Hatchback

11 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.2 - 1.5
  • Fuel: P, H
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 104 - 139g/km

From £125.09 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,501.08 inc VAT
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Honourable mentions 

We’ve left out a couple of great cars that are suited to students. We did so mostly due to the price being unrealistic for most. Here’s the cars that didn’t quite cut it:

Volkswagen Polo: From £14,205 or from £165.46 per month on LeaseFetcher.

Audi A1: From £17,570 or from  £189.02 per month on LeaseFetcher. 

Peugeot 208: From £14,450 or from £178.63 per month on LeaseFetcher. 

Renault Clio: From £13,245 or from £129.14 per month on LeaseFetcher.

Summary: 

Students, don’t settle for rubbish public transport or 4 hour train rides back home to your parents (usually a 1 hour train ride, with a 3 hour delay because there’s a stray leaf on the tracks).

You might think that a new car is out of your budget, but you might be surprised what might be within your reach. 

If you opt for a lease deal, you’ll pay one monthly price, and that includes road tax. Also, if you take out a lease that’s 3 years or less, you won’t need to worry about taking the car for an MOT.