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Car insurance is one of the biggest costs facing motorists today. Increasingly high premiums are taking their toll on family finances, forcing some to ditch their motors altogether.
However, this is a choice that is not available to everyone. Many people across the UK would not be able to cope without their motors. But with some vehicles costing considerably less to insure than others, buying one of these could be a good way to counter soaring costs.
Insurers divide cars into 50 car insurance groups based on factors such as their engine size and the likely cost of repairs. Cars in the lower groups will be cheaper to insure, while those in the higher groups, such as gas guzzlers and high performance vehicles, will cost more to insure. You can check out how the groups are organised at www.thatcham.org Here, we look at the top five cheapest cars to insure, all of which are in group one.
1. Chevrolet Spark
The Chevrolet Spark has the honour of being the cheapest car to insure in the UK. Like many of the other vehicles in group one, the car has a small engine and is cheap to buy, yet seats five adults in comfort.
Unlike many other small vehicles though, the car is practical and does not scrimp on safety - it scored four out of five stars on Euro NCAP tests largely thanks to its six airbags for protecting occupants.
Meant for city driving, the Spark comes with a tiny one-litre engine, which can leave it underpowered, but it makes up for this with its expressive interior and exterior design, five doors and, above all, a cheap car insurance rate – although the driver’s details will of course play a big part in determining the final motor insurance premium and making it the cheapest car to insure.
2. Citroen C1
Inexpensive to buy and run, the Citroen C1 is one of the cheapest cars to insure in the UK to insure. In fact, Citroen is offering one year's free motor insurance for those who acquire the car through a personal lease, making it even more enticing if you want to cut motoring costs.
Although it would be ideal as a first car, particularly for young or newly qualified drivers, its smart look means the C1 has broad appeal and could be used by families as a second car without breaking the bank.
Not only is the C1 one of the cheapest cars to insure, but it also scored four out of five stars in Euro NCAP tests thanks to its safety equipment, and this, along with its small, agile body and one-litre engine, which delivers low running costs, has ensured generally positive reviews from both critics and buyers.
3. Fiat Panda
The second generation Fiat Panda is in a class of its own. Cheap to buy and pleasurable to drive, the five-door vehicle is compact, yet spacious enough to accommodate four adults in relative comfort.
It boasts rich heritage, having first made an appearance in 1980 in a basic, no-frills form, and its frugal range of engines ensures the car is not only cheap to run, but also one of the cheapest cars to insure.
The Panda also performed well in Euro NCAP tests and would have scored the maximum five-star rating were it not for the fact that electronic stability control (ESC) wasn't available on the tested car. This led to one star being dropped but Fiat later confirmed that ESC will be offered on the entire Fiat Panda range.
4. Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 litre Hatchback
The Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback was launched in 1993 and, over the years, the car has attracted a wide fan base of mostly young drivers who have made the little supermini a huge success in the UK.
It’s good looks, low running costs and the fact that it is one of the cheapest cars to insure add to the appeal. The vehicle is also safe, having performed well in Euro NCAP tests, scoring five out of five stars for adult protection.
5. Volkswagen Up/Skoda Citigo/Seat Mii
Identical vehicles in all but name and produced in the same factory, the Volkswagen Up!, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii are also among the cheapest cars to insure in the UK.
They collectively won the MoneySupermarket Car of the Year award for 2012. Oozing bags of style, yet cheap to buy and run, the Volkswagen-owned vehicles have consistently attracted positive feedback since their launch in 2012, and their placement in the cheapest car insurance group makes them even more attractive.
A number of versions of both the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, including the 'S', 'Ecomotive' and 'SE' trims, are in insurance group one, meaning buyers have lots of options. Several of the equivalent trims on the Volkswagen Up! – Take Up! and Move Up! – are also available in this group.