The safest used first cars for 2017

Making the safest possible choice for your first car


The safest used first cars have been announced this morning, as part of a targeted campaign that aims to reduce the accident rate for new drivers.

More than 40% of young drivers have been involved in a road accident, according to a study released by Co-op Insurance. In conjunction with independent road safety experts Thatcham Research, Co-op Insurance announced the UK’s five safest used first cars.

The same research also found that safety was well down the list of priorities for first-time car buyers. Price, insurance and other running costs, age and colour were all ranked as more important than the car’s safety features.

It is the second year of collaboration between Co-op Insurance and Thatcham Research to rate the country’s used cars. Last year, the focus was on used family cars, and the rankings have been updated for 2017 (separate article to follow). For this year, the partners chose to draw particular attention to young drivers and their first cars.


For most of us, our first car has traditionally been an older vehicle – not necessarily an old banger, but not usually a choice based on providing the best possible avoidance of (and protection in) an accident. The current campaign hopes to change those attitudes.

Choosing the safest used first cars

To determine the results of the safest first used car ratings, Thatcham and Co-op Insurance had some specific criteria. They concentrated on cars in the supermini class that had a five-star Euro NCAP rating, were available for no more than £5,000 on the second-hand market, and had a CO2 emissions rating of 120g/km or less.

So, without further ado, the top five cars were as follows:

WINNER – Skoda Citigo

Skoda Citigo - winner, safest used first car 2017

Although the Skoda Citigo is essentially identical to the SEAT Mii and Volkswagen up!, the Skoda won out by virtue of having better availability than the SEAT, a lower market price than the Volkswagen, and better availability of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) technology.

AEB is optional on all of three models, but the judges found that there was better availability of this life-saving technology on the used Citigo models in the marketplace compared to the up! or Mii.

The Thatcham/Co-op ranking applies to any model in the Citigo range, as the car has only been on sale for a few years. It has a five-star rating from Euro NCAP (although the actual model tested was a Volkswagen up!).

Next page: The Skoda’s stablemates take podium places


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Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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  1. Love the topic idea, it’s nice for those who concentrate on safety when buying their first used car, keep up the good work

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