Back when we were at Uni (not so long ago thank you very much), we used to balk at the idea of a ‘student car’, no one wants to turn up to university with an old banger. But the reality of the situation is that with the increasing cost of education, student living and jaegerbombs, owning a car just seems like an extra expense.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The key is to find a car that’s not just cheap to buy, but cheap to run and insure. And if you can avoid a clapped out old rust bucket that spends more time in the repair shop than on the road then that’s got to be a bonus right?

Gumtree knows a thing or two about the used car market so who better than us to guide you down the road towards student motoring satisfaction. Read on to discover our pick of the top five student cars…


5. Vauxhall Corsa

Average price of a 2003 3d Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 Life on Gumtree: £1,000

Insurance Group: 5

It might not be the flashiest car on the market, heck it’s not even the flashiest on our list, but there are several very good reasons why the Vauxhall Corsa has been among the UKs most popular cars since its launch over 20 years ago. It’s cheap to run, cheap to insure and pretty reliable. As far as student car ownership goes, that’s the golden trinity taken care of. We’d opt for the Corsa C over the more recent Corsa D (2006 on) – it’s widely considered to be more reliable, even if the styling is a tad less racy and a well-maintained ten-year-old model can be picked up for around £1,000.


4. Skoda Fabia

Average price of a 2003 5d Skoda Fabia 1.2 Classic on Gumtree: £900

Insurance Group: 2

Since VW took Skoda under its wing, the once maligned Czech car brand has enjoyed a massive upturn in credibility and today’s image-conscious students are far less likely to be troubled by driving one than their parent’s generation would have been.  Nonetheless Skoda’s do still offer excellent value for money compared to comparable models from Volkswagen with the added bonus of cheap insurance premiums. The Fabia is a very well made car with a good reputation for reliability. It’s also a pleasure to drive and extremely spacious.


3. Fiat 500

Average price of a 2008 3d Fiat 500 Pop on Gumtree: £4,500

Insurance Group: 5

For fashion-forward students with a slightly bigger budget, the Fiat 500 offers chic European styling and a zippy drive. It’s also cheap to run and relatively affordable to insure, especially if you opt for a less powerful 1.2 Pop. Perhaps surprisingly given Fiat’s less than dependable reputation, the 500 backs up its good looks with solid reliability and low repair costs.


2. Toyota Aygo

Average price of a 2006 3d Toyota Aygo VVT-i on Gumtree: £2,250

Insurance Group: 2

A great little city car that offers rock-bottom running costs with a feisty dash of character and no little style, the Aygo offers everything the student buyer is likely to be looking for in economic terms without forcing fun and style out of the equation. Also, if you’re a London based student you’ll be delighted to learn that sub-100g/km carbon dioxide emissions mean this cheap and cheerful Toyota avoids congestion charges.



1. Ford Fiesta

Average price of a 2009 3d Ford Fiesta 1.25 on Gumtree: £4,250

Insurance Group: 5

A long-time student favourite, the good-old Ford Fiesta deserves its enduring popularity in the student market and remains top of the pile if you’re on the lookout for a car that combines affordability with performance and reliability. Whatever your budget or requirements there’s almost certainly a Fiesta for you, such is the enormous scale of the used Fiesta market.  The most recent post-2008 model has attracted glowing reviews and keeps fuel and insurance costs to a minimum, especially if you snap up a 1.25 litre model. The relatively rare Fiesta Studio offers particularly impressive fuel economy if you can find one.