What are the best first cars for enthusiasts?

Its performance may not have been groundbreaking, but it still had to appeal to the younger, insurance-conscious buyer. And being in group 20, it’s still among the lowest here. 

Attention to running costs meant the design changes over the standard car had to be kept simple – but, like the engine, they were done well. Outside, it got wheel-arch extensions, a 40mm-wider track, deeper bumpers and a wider sports exhaust, while inside the hot-hatch hoonery extended to sports seats, a shift light and red trim pieces.

Read our complete Renault Twingo review

Citroën C1 (2005-2014)

citroen c1 front

Now, what self-respecting enthusiast is going to turn down such competition and plump for the no frills, boggo Citroën that looks as interesting as bathwater and uses technology developed in tandem with the Gregorian calendar?

Well, those exact reasons are why you should buy one. Think of it as a blank sheet of paper; a cheery starting point for what could become anything you want, from a lowrider to a reliable tool for the uni commute. Or even a race car.

You can buy a conversion kit from a specialist site for £3700 that allows you to convert your Bishon Frisé into a track-ready Pitbull. They look great if they’ve been modded well and don’t cost an arm and a leg to fix, because you won’t need to spend that much on buying one in the first place.

It’s also slow, with just one litre of engine capacity to its name. But what you lose on swings, you gain on roundabouts. It’s a joyous car to drive – playful, unintimidating and ready to take a beating.

It can be picked up for even less money than the Fiesta above, and insurance is just as cheap, it being in group 3 – one of the lowest on this list.

Read our complete Citroën C1 review

Volkswagen Up (2012-2016)

volkswagen up front three quarter

This joins our list in the same vein as the C1: it’s as cheap as the proverbial both to buy and insure, and there are hundreds available for your picking and choosing.

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