For learners or recently qualified drivers, a good second-hand car can be a sensible, affordable option but for others the allure of a brand new car with the latest technology, manufacturer warranty and new-car reliability is too strong to ignore.
New research by finance group Moneybarn claims to have simplified matters and identified the most affordable models for learners and new drivers, taking into account things such as fuel, insurance and purchase price, alongside the standard cost of lessons and tests, which is estimated at a total of £1,435.
Vauxhall’s compact Corsa hatchback emerged as the cheapest overall car, with an average first-year running cost of £6,411, or £534.25 per month.
That includes an average monthly finance payment of £280, insurance of £89.58 a month and a monthly fuel bill of £45.
Behind it is the rival Renault Clio, with annual running costs of £6,999. The Clio is actually cheaper to insure but higher average repayments of £328 and poorer economy push up monthly bills.
Just behind the Clio is the Corsa’s big brother, the Astra, with first-year costs of £7,039, or £586.58 per month.
The fourth-placed Fiat 500 actually has the cheapest insurance, according to the Moneybarn research - at £878 per year (£73.16 per month), while the Toyota Yaris has the lowest expected fuel bills at £408 per year or £34 a month.
The research also revealed the most expensive models for a new driver, with premium brands such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes dominating the list.
However, it was the Range Rover that proved most expensive. Any new driver considering the luxury SUV will face average monthly repayments of more than £2,000, annual insurance of £2,600 and a fuel bill of £1,240, adding up to an eye-watering first-year cost of £31,173 or £2597.75 per month.
The Mercedes C-Class saloon looks to be the second most expensive option at £14,485 a year, just ahead of its key rival the Audi A4. High insurance and steep monthly payments were the biggest issue for both models.
Even more mainstream models such as the Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic bring annual bills of around £10,000 thanks to monthly repayments more than double those of the Corsa.