Fourth place – Toyota Yaris
Although it didn’t end up with a podium place, the Toyota Yaris is still a very safe choice as a used first car.
The Toyota Yaris is a bit larger than the Citigo/Mii/up!, so rear-seat passengers will have a touch more space. Boot space is also better, which is an important consideration if you are regularly lugging stuff around. Your bags and books are much safer in the boot than on the back seat, where they could do you a lot of damage in an accident.
Toyota is famous for reliability, and the Yaris seems to be as reliable as anything else the company has built.
The Thatcham ranking for the Yaris applies to the model launched in 2011, which scored five stars from Euro NCAP. The previous-generation model also scored five stars, but the testing regime was not as challenging in earlier years.
Fifth place – Kia Rio
Rounding out the top five is the Kia Rio. Similar in size to the Toyota Yaris, it is also available in both three-door and five-door body styles.
On average, it is a bit more expensive than the Yaris and there are fewer on sale to choose from, but it’s still a very good choice as a safe used first car.
The Thatcham ranking for the Rio applies to the model launched in 2011, which scored a five-star Euro NCAP rating and had the highest rating for adult protection. Earlier models scored four stars on older, less stringent tests.