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Safe Used First Car 2017

Safe Used First Car Winner 2017

The winner

We have awarded the 2012 Skoda Citigo as our number one car for Co-op Safe Used First Car Award 2017.

The winning vehicle includes all Skoda Citigo models with the exception of the 'S' version. It's a brilliant city car with outstanding fuel economy and a raft of safety features. Alongside a 5 star Euro NCAP rating, you'll find driver and passenger airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners, load limiters and seat belt reminders.

Most models also come with Electronic Stability Control as standard. This helps prevent loss of vehicle control, and studies have shown ESC to reduce fatal accidents by 25%. Equally important is the optional Auto Emergency Braking, which Skoda call 'City Safe Drive'.

The 2012 Skoda Citigo has AEB (Autonomous emergency braking) and ESC (Electronic stability control) as standard, making it our number one Safe Used First Car for 2017.

No other car offered the same comprehensive safety equipment at under £5000. Which makes it easy to recommend the Citigo to all young drivers - and those who want to make a safer choice when buying a car.

Co-op Safe Used Car was launched in 2016 with the award going to the Volvo V40, with a safety pack. For 2017 we have updated the list using the same criteria for family cars under £15000 with the Volvo V40 coming out on top for the second year. The car offers superb protection for drivers and passengers in the event of a crash happening.

Safe Used First Car Winner 2017

The winner

We have awarded the 2012 Skoda Citigo as our number one car for Co-op Safe Used First Car Award 2017.

The winning vehicle includes all Skoda Citigo models with the exception of the 'S' version. It's a brilliant city car with outstanding fuel economy and a raft of safety features. Alongside a 5 star Euro NCAP rating, you'll find driver and passenger airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners, load limiters and seat belt reminders.

Most models also come with Electronic Stability Control as standard. This helps prevent loss of vehicle control, and studies have shown ESC to reduce fatal accidents by 25%. Equally important is the optional Auto Emergency Braking, which Skoda call 'City Safe Drive'.

The 2012 Skoda Citigo has AEB (Autonomous emergency braking) and ESC (Electronic stability control) as standard, making it our number one Safe Used First Car for 2017.

No other car offered the same comprehensive safety equipment at under £5000. Which makes it easy to recommend the Citigo to all young drivers - and those who want to make a safer choice when buying a car.

Co-op Safe Used Car was launched in 2016 with the award going to the Volvo V40, with a safety pack. For 2017 we have updated the list using the same criteria for family cars under £15000 with the Volvo V40 coming out on top for the second year. The car offers superb protection for drivers and passengers in the event of a crash happening.

Runners up

Volkswagen Up! Image

2. Volkswagen Up! 2012


Seat Mii Image

3. Seat Mii 2012


Toyota Yaris Image

4. Toyota Yaris 2011


Kia Rio Image

5. Kia Rio 2011


How did the cars make the shortlist?

We teamed up with Matthew Avery, Thatcham's Director of Insurance Research, to choose the ideal criteria.

Every car on our list has a Euro NCAP rating of 5 stars and is available for £5,000 or less. Also important during selection were technologies like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which have been shown to prevent accidents and injuries.

Autonomous Emergency Braking

Why is AEB 'The most significant development in vehicle safety since the seatbelt'?

75% of collisions happen below 25mph. AEB automatically recognises the threat of low-speed collisions and applies the brakes. It's been shown to prevent 38% of crashes, which Thatcham estimates could save 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next ten years.


Electronic Stability Control

Continuously working in the background, ESC intervenes when it detects a probable loss of steering control. Correcting skidding much faster and more effectively than the typical human driver, a Department for Transport study showed that vehicles equipped with it were 25% less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.


About the award

At Co-op Insurance we support safer roads for every driver. It's why last year we launched our Safe Used First Car category to our Safe Used Car Awards, working in partnership with Thatcham, the UK's centre of excellence for motoring safety, and road safety charity Brake.

In 2015, 17-24 year old drivers represented just around 8% of UK licence holders but were involved in 23% of serious accidents. It's our hope that, by helping young drivers choose the right first car, we can reduce those numbers.*

This year our focus is on first cars for young drivers, to help the country's young drivers enjoy a safe, trouble-free experience behind the wheel.

"There are 4000 young drivers killed or seriously injured on UK roads every year. That's even though they do a third of the milage of the average driver. So why is that?

They are often driving an older car which might have been safe then but isn't necessary as safe as it could be today. ...and often there are characteristics of young driver crashes which means they significantly raise the risk of them being killed or seriously injured."

Matthew Avery, Director of Research - Thatcham Research
Thatcham Logo


What puts young drivers in risky situations?

We see young drivers involved in a higher number of road traffic accidents. Statistics show that drivers aged 17-24 are more likely to:

  • drive too fast
  • drive older vehicles than more experienced drivers
  • get distracted by mobile phones or passengers
  • drive tired
  • drive at night (which is when most fatal accidents occur)

You don't have to break the bank and buy the newest car out there, but it is important to look at what safety features a vehicle has before you make a purchase.


Source: DfT, Reported road accidents involving young car drivers: Great Britain 2011

Source: DfT, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2015. Annual report. September 2016

Source: *https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568484/rrcgb-2015.pdf

Top tips

We asked Matthew Avery at Thatcham Research what safety features you should look out for when choosing your first used car.

Check the Euro NCAP rating and go for a 4 or 5 Star car - make sure it's got the following safety equipment fitted:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) - often called ESP. You know if the car has it, as there's a switch that shows a skidding car or the letters ESC/ESP. It works by sensing if the vehicle is going into a skid, and automatically brakes selected wheels to bring the car back into line
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) - applies the brakes if it senses you're about to hit the car in front. Many new cars already have this, and there is an increasing number of used cars with it available
  • Seat belt reminders: Euro NCAP 5 star cars have these - and give warnings to make sure you are belted up
  • Airbags - most cars have steering wheel airbags - but many also have curtain protection, which are designed to protect the driver's and passenger's heads in a crash. Look for the word "Airbag" on the windscreen pillar.

... and check all the systems are working. There should be no warning lamps left illuminated after you switch the engine on. If an airbag or ESC light is left illuminated, it could mean the system is faulty and can't protect you.

When you've found your car of choice, you should also consider:

  1. Vehicle history - A car history check is vital when buying a used car. You can use it to find out if it has any outstanding car finance, is recorded as stolen, or has previously been written-off
  2. Registration documents - Ask the seller to show you the car's V5C registration document, which gives details of the registered keeper and all previous keepers
  3. Viewing the car - Look for its VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), which can usually be found at the base of the windscreen, under the bonnet, and stamped into the framework under the carpet by the driver's seat. Make sure it matches the VIN found in the V5C registration document.

    Arrange car viewings for the day, and at the seller's home if possible. Try not to go when it's dark or raining as this can hide defects, such as dents and scratches. Check beneath the car and under the bonnet for rust and any signs that the car's been in an accident. Make sure that you see its service history and previous MOT certificates.

    Check the condition of the tyres, noting the tread depth and side-wall damage. Tyres with uneven wear could mean that the wheels aren't correctly aligned.
  4. Take a test drive - Before taking a test drive, make sure you're insured. Check your car insurance policy to see if it says that you can drive another car with the owner's permission - this is known as DOC (Driving Other Cars) cover. Allow at least half an hour, and drive at different driving speeds noting how the steering, brakes and gears handle. Listen out for any odd noises and check the electrics.

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