Cars in insurance group 1

Looking to keep your car insurance costs down by driving a car in the lowest insurance group? Here are eight of your best options

James Wilson
Oct 29, 2021

Cars in insurance group 1 have a number of benefits, the most obvious being that they should, in theory, qualify for the lowest car insurance premiums. This means more money left in your bank account to spend on fun things. Yes, your age, amount of no claims bonus and where you live all play a part, but a low-risk car should typically cost you less to insure.

Other advantages come with cars that qualify for the lowest insurance bracket; one key factor is that to get a low premium a car must be good at minimising damage in an accident. The logic being, the less damage a car sustains in a bump, the easier it will be to repair and the less the insurance company will need to pay to fix it.

In addition to this, cars which are made from high-tech materials are harder to repair and models with all the latest technology have more components to go wrong. Neither of which are things insurers like, hence group 1 cars tend to be relatively simple, small and affordable models.

As an example, group 1 cars often come with low-power non-turbocharged engines, which are marginally more straightforward than more sophisticated turbocharged options. Small, simple engines offer the added bonus of helping keep running costs down by being very efficient, especially as they're normally fitted to compact, lightweight cars.

Qualifying for group 1 insurance is hard and very few cars make the cut. Of those that do, the majority are similar in style. All models are hatchbacks and are either very small city cars or slightly larger superminis. City cars are the smallest models found on the road, such as the Kia Picanto and Volkswagen Up. Meanwhile, superminis are the next car size up and include the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza.

All of the cars below sit in car insurance group 1 and are readily available second-hand. Do bear in mind that only certain ages and trims of a particular car will qualify for group 1, and it is not unheard of for seemingly identical cars to sit in different insurance groups due to the smallest of changes between their year of manufacture. This means you'll want to double-check that any specific cars you are considering qualify for group 1 if having the cheapest insurance is important to you.

Group 1 insurance cars

1. Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo front three quarters view

Our pick Volkswagen Polo 1.0 EVO 80 SE Tech Edition
Used deals from £9,290
Monthly finance from £176*

Considering that the Volkswagen Polo is quite an upmarket supermini, you might be surprised that certain versions sit in group 1 for insurance. This is great news for those learning to drive and those looking for a compact and cheap-to-run family car, as the Polo is well suited to both.

Take the interior, which is very well built, so it should stand up to the test of careless owners or messy children. There are also plenty of standard features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which make it easier to keep yourself entertained with music and podcasts on long journeys.

The Polo is also really quite practical - it has a 351-litre boot which is amongst the best available when comparing the Polo to similar size cars such as the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta. VW has not, however, defied the laws of physics with the Polo, as the good cabin space and luggage capacity are thanks to the fact that the small VW really isn’t that small. In fact, the Polo is almost as wide and tall as a Volkswagen Golf. This is great if you value maximum space, but less so if you want the most compact car for urban driving.

VOLKSWAGEN POLO BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Seat Mii

Our pick Seat Mii 10 59hp SE
Used deals from £5,690
Monthly finance from £131*

Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen are all part of the same company. This is why, when the companies made a city car, they decided to work together to make the vast majority of their cars, with the last few bits of interior and exterior design left for each brand to put their own stamp on things. The Seat version is called the Mii and, in the right specification, qualifies for car insurance group 1.

The Mii has been the least popular model of the VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo siblings. In reality, there is no reason why this should be the case, but this is possibly down to its slightly bland styling compared with the Up and Citigo. As a result, the Mii can sometimes be scooped up for bargain prices second-hand, while still promising the same refined driving experience, relatively spacious cabin - though there are only four seats - and low running costs as its VW and Skoda counterparts.

SEAT MII BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Nissan Micra

Our pick Nissan Micra Acenta 1.0 70hp
Used deals from £9,635
Monthly finance from £159*

The Nissan Micra has lived in the shadow of its rivals for much of the time it's been on sale - namely the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. The most recent version, though, is the best yet and is an appealing choice when compared to its rivals. One of the Micra's biggest positives is its styling, which is striking enough to help make the Nissan stand out amongst the many other small cars available.

The Micra’s interior is another big strength. Not only is there plenty of space in the front and rear seats but the quality is impressive. Compared to the Volkswagen Polo, the Nissan still lags a little in build quality but the Micra is the more affordable of the two, so you'd expect it to feel a bit cheaper inside. Since 2016 (when the latest generation was launched) all Micras come with front and rear doors. However, Nissan has discreetly hidden the handles in the black window surround, to give its supermini a more sleek appearance.

NISSAN MICRA BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Skoda Citigo

Our pick Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI 59hp SE
Used deals from £5,190
Monthly finance from £100*

The Skoda Citigo in SE trim isn't the most exciting looking car. However, the payback is not only a car which should cost very little to insure but also one which is very affordable to buy or finance. The Citigo drives very well, it is easy to see out of, its controls are nice and light and it feels solid on faster 60mph and 70mph roads, which isn’t always the case with small cars.

For a small car, the cabin has plenty of space for the driver and three passengers - there is no fifth seat, although this is fairly common with city cars such as the Citigo, VW Up and Toyota Aygo. If you do plan on using the rear seats regularly, we would recommend finding a five-door version rather than a three-door model, as having rear doors makes access to the back much, much easier and doesn't require someone in the front to get out first.

SKODA CITIGO BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Ford Ka+

Our pick Ford Ka+ 1.2 68hp Studio
Used deals from £7,448
Monthly finance from £133*

If you're not to sure what the Ford Ka+ looks like, you are not alone. This is because the Ford Fiesta is so popular that the Ka+ doesn’t crop up on many people’s radar. However, the spacious cabin and five seats make the Ka+ an excellent, practical alternative to other, four-seater small cars like the Peugeot 108 and VW Up. The Ka’s styling may be a little bland, but it is far from ugly.

Interestingly, a lot of the engineering that goes into making the Ka+, such as parts of the interior and engine components, are taken from the previous generation Fiesta (which stopped being produced back in 2017). The upshot of this is that Ford could save money on development and hence make the Ka+ more affordable. Importantly, key areas such as the media system were updated from the 2017 Fiesta to make the Ka+ feel more modern.

FORD KA+ BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Hyundai i10

2020 Hyundai i10 front

Our pick Hyundai i10 1.0 65hp S
Used deals from £5,995
Monthly finance from £118*

Each new generation of Hyundai has gone from strength to strength over the last decade and it shows in the i10 - Hyundai's smallest, most affordable model. Its styling looks neat without being boring and the cabin has plenty of space and great visibility, making city driving a breeze. Sure, the dashboard materials feel a little cheaper than something like a Mini Hatchback, but then again the i10 isn’t designed as a luxury vehicle, it is designed to be affordable.

The Hyundai i10 really delivers on the low running costs front, thanks to certain models qualifying for group 1 status, frugal petrol engines and a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty from new. This makes used versions a particularly good option, as you can get a cheaper car and still have a long manufacturer warranty remaining. Driving the i10 is very low-effort as Hyundai has designed it to have light steering, pedals and gear change. It's definitely a great option for those who do a lot of town driving and want cheap insurance.

HYUNDAI I10 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Skoda Fabia

Our pick Skoda Fabia 1.0 MPI 59hp S
Used deals from £7,850
Monthly finance from £153*

The Skoda Fabia is a car you drive if you think sensibly about where to spend your money. You won’t find one with an unexpectedly fuel-greedy engine or glitzy oversized alloy wheels that cost thousands to repair if you scrape the car along a kerb - that isn’t the Skoda way. Instead, you will discover a roomy interior with in-car technology such as a touchscreen media system that is easy to use. That said, it wasn’t until 2018 that S models came as standard with a colour touchscreen display, so it's worth going for a post-2018 model if your budget allows.

Regardless of age, all Fabias should prove dependable. The engines are shared with other cars in the VW Group (including cars from Audi, VW and Seat), so are very much tried and tested. Also, the Fabia is enjoyable to drive as it is comfortable and takes corners in its stride regardless of whether you are driving in town or on faster country roads. While styling for Fabia S models can be somewhat conservative, Skoda did offer a number of interesting exterior colours, which brighten things up.

SKODA FABIA BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Volkswagen Up

Our pick Volkswagen Up 1.0 59hp Move Up
Used deals from £6,599
Monthly finance from £129*

When it comes to city cars - models such as the Citroen C1 and Kia Picanto - the Volkswagen Up is one of the most classy options. It is effectively the M&S of the small car world. The reason for this is down to a number of factors - such as the stylish interior. Here you will find high-quality materials, good fit and finish and technology such as a Beats sound system. The latter is available on Beats special edition models, although these sit in a higher insurance group.

Driving the Up is a similarly classy affair. The suspension is smooth and settled, making for comfortable motoring and the small petrol engines are generally both punchy and frugal. What then, is the catch? Compared to models such as the Peugeot 108, the Up can be significantly more expensive when new.

For the most part, the higher cost is completely justified by the higher-quality feel, although part of the premium is simply to have the VW badge. Still, strong resale values mean that the Up can come with surprisingly low monthly payments on PCP finance and, if you find a model which sits in group one for insurance, the Up's running costs should be pretty low.

VOLKSWAGEN UP BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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