Blog: The top 10 cars for university students

Blog: The top 10 cars for university students

It’s September! Some of us might be a little upset that the summer is over, but for some of you, it’s one of the most exciting times of your lives – the start of university!

Although some students may think that having a car at uni is virtually impossible with budget constraints, a lot of you also need that mode of transport to get home and around – especially if you’re living somewhere rural and off campus.

So, we’ve got a shortlist together of the best budget cars that will see you through the next few years without breaking the bank too much so you can get the best of both worlds and really do university in style.

A word about insurance groups

Before we get down to the nitty gritty: insurance groups range from 1-50, 1 being the cheapest to insure and 50 being the most expensive. The insurance group can increase and decrease depending on the model and trim, and the ones mentioned below are usually the basic models. So make sure you check (and perhaps get a few quotes) before you buy.

1.  Toyota Aygo

Cheap, cheerful and great around the town. You can get a used Aygo from as little as £3.5k on the CarShop website – that means you can pay less than 100 quid a month!

Your basic Aygo sits in insurance group 2, which means you’ll be getting a good rate, but again, depending on the trim and all sorts of other bits and bobs, this may change. They’re usually free from road tax and some of the higher spec models are equipped with cruise control, DAB radio and even Bluetooth! This may be a small problem as everyone in halls will be asking for a lift!

2.  Skoda Citigo

You’re looking at about £4k to £9k for a used Citigo depending on the age, trim and extras.

This funky workhorse usually sits in insurance group 3 or 4, so hopefully won’t break the bank when you’re looking for quotes, and the 5 door model is most common, so you shouldn’t have any issues ferrying your new friends about either. Besides, since it’s affordable to tax and gets around 60mpg, you can go that extra mile.

3.  Citroen C1

Generally speaking, the C1 is pretty affordable when it comes to road tax - that’s both the new shape and the old – and usually has amazing MPG too! Prices start from about £3k on our website, and with basic models sitting comfortably in insurance group 3, you can rest easy that the C1 shouldn’t cost you too many pennies.

Oh, and if you do want to spend a little more than the bottom price for the C1, you can expect to find awesome extras like DAB radio, Bluetooth and AUX connectivity.

4.   Volkswagen Golf

The Golf is probably the funkier (and slightly pricier) contender in this list. You can find a basic model from about £7k, but as it sits in insurance group 28 without taking into account any trims or different models, you could be looking at an expensive quote to get you on the road. Oh, and in terms of tax and fuel consumption, the basic models aren’t top of the list either.

That being said, you can usually find some models that are affordable to tax if you don’t mind looking a little harder and are happy with an older version. And with extras like DAB radio and cruise control equipped even in the more affordable models like the BlueMotion series, you know you’ll always be travelling in style.

5.  Ford Fiesta

One of the classic “first cars,” the Ford Fiesta has always been a favourite with younger drivers, and we can see why! You can pick up a Fiesta from about £4.5k and even the most affordable models come with extras such as DAB radio and a heated front windscreen.

The Fiesta fits snugly into insurance group 6, and if you’re up for a look around, you can find models that have really affordable tax rates, and some that are even tax-free! Plus, if you don’t mind paying a little extra to get a newer Fiesta, you can also expect to get over 80mpg on average. Tried and tested, the Fiesta is always a winner with reliability, and frankly, it looks great too.

6.  Vauxhall Corsa

A Corsa is sure to keep you on course at uni! Another favourite for “the first car” the Corsa is affordable with prices starting from about £4k at CarShop, with many equipped with funky extras like Bluetooth and AUX connectivity.

The basic Corsa will sit comfortably in insurance group 4 so your premiums will be pretty easy to handle too.


7.  Fiat 500

You’ll find a stylish Fiat in insurance group 7, so it’s still along the cheaper end of the scale, and with most models affordable to tax and prices starting from just £5k on the CarShop website, you should be able to keep to your budget.

This small town run-around is usually kitted out with a few funky extras like AUX, Bluetooth and even a sunroof, and if you’re looking for a little extra style, they tend to have pretty vibrant interiors too!

But, if you’re planning in taking a lot of luggage, or even a few passengers, you may have to keep looking.

8.  Peugeot 107

You can find this quirky Peugeot in insurance group 3, and with prices starting from around £3k on the CarShop website, you won’t be breaking the bank! Getting around 60mpg on average, most models tend to come with AUX and USB connectivity (make sure you check before you buy) and the tax rates are pretty affordable too!

Oh, and like the Fiat, they can come in a bundle of cool colours, except with these you aren’t compromising as much on space.

9.  Suzuki Swift

Although not as bad the Golf, the Swift is a little more expensive to insure compared to the rest of the cars on this list as the basic model sits in insurance group 15.

You can get a decent Swift from around £5k, and perhaps even cheaper if you look intently! Plus, the models that we stock on our website tend to be affordable when it comes to tax, too.

The Suzuki offers a little more room in the boot than some of these cars of the list and won’t have a problem carting your friends to and fro either.

10.  Renault Clio

The Clio is another classic for those cheap and cheerful first cars. With the basic model sitting in insurance group 7, you can get style – especially with the new shape – without the price-tag. Speaking of that, you’ll be able to bag a Clio for as little as £5k and even these lower-priced cars are usually equipped with features like cruise control and Bluetooth, and the extras only get better with a few more pounds.



**all of these facts were true at the time of publishing


  • On: 05 September 2018
  • By: CarShop

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