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10 of the best cars for driving instructors

Mirror, signal and manoeuvre into one of the best cars to teach learner drivers in

“When I touch the dashboard, apply the brakes and bring the car to a swift stop”. If that sounds like something you say on a regular basis, chances are you spend a lot of time on suburban streets with nervous teenagers. In which case, congratulations on having much more patience and less risk aversion than the average person.

Driving instructors have a unique set of car requirements. They need to be able to cope with running for lots of hours every day, while taking the punishment of botched gearchanges and frequent kerb strikes. They need to be comfortable for long days in the saddle, easy to drive and economical enough that you’re not spending all your spare time and money at an Esso garage. Good visibility is important to make sure the learner driver can see all around them. Oh, and if the worst happens, you’ll want your car to protect you and your students.

Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa Young Driver car

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: 4 stars/ 84% (2019)

Fuel economy: 52-70mpg

The most abundant element in the universe isn’t hydrogen; it’s actually the Vauxhall Corsa. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to trim levels, colours and engines, with a popular 1.2-litre petrol engine being joined by an electric model and a diesel engine – although the latter is quite rare. Hunt one out and you’ll get up to 70mpg on lessons when you’re not kangarooing the whole time. The petrols can manage over 50mpg and are better for frequent short journeys, while the electric Corsa offers the smoothness of an automatic with more than 200 miles of range.

Shop used Vauxhall Corsa cars for sale at Motorpoint or read our Vauxhall Corsa review

Ford Puma

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: 4 stars/ 75% (2022)

Fuel economy: 48-50mpg

With the Ford Fiesta consigned to the history books, the Ford Puma is the obvious next step. It’s slightly taller than the Fiesta, giving your students a good view of the road ahead, and a little bigger. A huge boot means it’s ideal if you’re also going to be using your car for family duties. But it’s still fun to drive and easy to park, with reversing sensors fitted as standard.

Shop used Ford Puma cars for sale at Motorpoint or read our Ford Puma review

Honda Jazz

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: 5 stars/ 87% (2022)

Fuel economy: 58-63mpg

No sixth-former will feel cool driving a Honda Jazz, but it’s a top learner driver choice. Visibility around the front end is far better than the majority of other modern cars, and its hybrid engine is at its most efficient around town. The Jazz’s interior is simple to use and logical – just what a young driver needs – and it’s really smooth and quiet on the move. The latest Jazz is only available with an automatic gearbox, so won’t be suitable for students wanting to take the manual driving test.

Shop used Honda Jazz cars for sale at Motorpoint or read our Honda Jazz review

Toyota Aygo X

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: 4 stars/ 78% (2022)

Fuel economy: 55-59mpg

Toyota has kept in the city car game with the SUV-styled Aygo X. It somehow manages to be even sharper looking than the old Aygo, and better equipped – a reversing camera is standard, which should help inexperienced drivers get into a bay without taking another car’s paint with them. The Aygo X isn’t a fast car by any metric, but it offers cheap running costs and cheap insurance.

Shop used Toyota Aygo X cars for sale at Motorpoint

Dacia Sandero Stepway

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: 2 stars/ 70% (2021)

Fuel economy: 45-50mpg

While it’s still fairly cheap to buy, the Dacia Sandero Stepway no longer feels like a bargain basement car. It shares its underpinnings with the latest Renault Clio, although this Stepway model gets a slightly higher driving position than the Clio and the standard Sandero. That helps give it excellent front visibility, while the big rear windows allow for good over-the-shoulder visibility. Its chunky plastic bumpers will shrug off any low-speed mishaps and its interior is hard-wearing – good for lots of people getting in and out.

Shop used Dacia Sandero Stepway cars for sale at Motorpoint

Peugeot 208

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: 4 stars/ 91% (2019)

Fuel economy: 55-73mpg

Like the Corsa, the Peugeot 208 offers a full complement of petrol, diesel and electric offerings. It’s a little bit more expensive than the Corsa, but it feels noticeably more premium inside, and is slightly cheaper at the pumps. The petrol engines are perky and efficient, while the electric e-208 is ideal for auto-only drivers. It’s pretty high-tech inside the 208, which you may or may not see as a good thing – a Vauxhall Corsa will be slightly easier to operate for new drivers.

Shop used Peugeot 208 cars for sale at Motorpoint or read our Peugeot 208 review

Volkswagen Polo

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: 5 stars/ 94% (2022)

Fuel economy: 51-59mpg

The Volkswagen Polo is our top choice for new drivers, thanks to its solid feel, seriously impressive safety score and low running costs. All its petrol engines manage more than 50mpg, while examples with the least powerful engine sit in the lowest insurance group. Of course, all these qualities are good for driving instructors too, and new drivers that take our advice and buy a Polo will feel instantly at home behind the wheel.

Shop used Volkswagen Polo cars for sale at Motorpoint or read our VW Polo review

Hyundai Kona

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: 5 stars/ 87% (2017)

Fuel economy: 46-57mpg

There’s a new Hyundai Kona on sale but you shouldn’t overlook the first-generation car. Its petrol and hybrid engines are very economical, its driving experience is smooth and comfortable, and it has proved seriously reliable. There’s even an electric model with up to 282 miles of range if you’re committed to switching to plug power. What’s more, Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty doesn’t exclude driving instructors or other professional drivers.

Shop used Hyundai Kona cars for sale at Motorpoint

Skoda Fabia

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: 5 stars/ 81% (2021)

Fuel economy: 50-55mpg

Whether you opt for the latest-generation Fabia or plump for the previous-generation car, you’ll get a smart, spacious supermini that’s reassuringly easy to drive. Durable materials and Polo underpinnings set it up well, and few instructors will miss the Fabia’s discontinued diesel engines because the petrols are fairly punchy and very economical. The Fabia is affordably priced and cheap to run, and offers good visibility all-round.

Shop used Skoda Fabia cars for sale at Motorpoint

Kia Soul EV

Euro NCAP rating/ adult protection score: N/A

Fuel economy: 4.3 miles per kWh

We won’t lie, this is a left-field choice. But if you’re switching to an electric car for your next learner hack, the Kia Soul EV ticks a lot of boxes. Bigger-battery cars manage almost 300 miles between charges, so have plenty of range even if your whole day involves motorway driving. Its boxy shape means visibility is great, and the silent electric powertrain means you won’t be misheard at crucial times. And its looks mean you’ll stand out, so it’s a great moving billboard for your services.

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