As a new driver, getting behind the wheel of a sporty car is a financial challenge to say the least, but it can be done if you play your cards right. This is a list of the best sportier hatchbacks that I’ve found which are both affordable to buy and you can actually insure them. We’re only covering cars up to 157bhp, with their second-hand pricing and insurance quotes for an 18-year-old first-time driver so you know how much it’s actually going to cost.

The Vauxhall Corsa SXi (2006 – 2012)

This model sits just below the SRi in the Corsa line-up. It’s the brand’s rival to the Ford Fiesta Zetec and really packs a punch in this power range. With 99bhp on tap and a 0-60 time of 11.3 seconds, it’s definitely not one to be ignored. This trim and engine combination only comes on the three door variant. It features a 16-valve engine and an upgraded styling kit, and as it’s a variant of the Vauxhall Corsa you know it’s going to be a great little car underneath. Insurance is surprisingly low considering its appeal with typical first-time drivers and its popularity within the modding community. In fact, it has one of the lowest insurance rates for cars in this price bracket and a high safety rating to match. A used one can be picked up for around £2800 but if you can’t find an SXi variant in your area, there are so many variants on the Vauxhall Corsa around just do some hunting and find one with the engine and trim combination that you want. Your first year of insurance you’ll be looking at £1650 with a black box at around £2314 without.

The Seat Ibiza Sport (2008 – 2017)

With the body kit to live up to its name, it has a mean looking front end and a sporting rear to match. Reviewers praise its driving capability, having a good setup to complement the handling and power that it has. There are a range of options, so make sure you know what you’re getting. You can either opt for a comfy or sports suspension setup in addition to a range of engines from 70 to 105bhp. However, I recommend the 1.2 litre engine which is a good all-rounder and avoids pushing the insurance any higher than it already is. Your first year will be around £1785 pounds with a black box and £2640 without. A used one can be had on the market for around £3200 and, much like the Vauxhall Corsa, these two cars are extremely popular in the modding community. Perhaps the most popular on this list. So if there’s something you’re interested in doing to your car. This could be the one

Ford Fiesta Zetec (2008 – 2012)

With the Fiesta ST just being a little bit out of reach the Zetec is a pretty decent compromise. If you want to get away from the typical racing looks of the Corsa and the Seat with something that blends in a little more, this is a good choice. With 94bhp the Zetec pulls well, however, it has the slowest 0-60 time on our list at 12.2 seconds. It does excel elsewhere though with great practicality, drive and fuel economy so if you’re going to be doing more than just driving by yourself, it’s definitely one to consider. Unfortunately, the insurance doesn’t reflect its slower speed coming in at £1660 with a black box and £2360 without. A well-kept decent second-hand model can be picked up for around £3100.

The Mini Cooper One (2006 – 2013)

With the iconic Mini being so low to the ground, it’s almost like a go kart, and with acceleration from 0-60 in 9.1 seconds it definitely feels like one. Reviewers have constantly praised the handling and how fun it is to drive, and it doesn’t just end at the 122bhp. Different trims allow the quirky design to shine through however, the Mini isn’t to everyone’s taste. If you plan to regularly take your mates in the back it’s going to be a tight squeeze and cruising on the motorway can be a little bit intimidating due to its smaller size, but out on the country roads, it will shine. The first year’s insurance with a black box is £1700 and £2200 without, and a used one can be found for around £3300 on the second hand market.

The Mazda 2 Sport (2007 – 2015)

Similar to the Seat, the Mazda has the style to suit its name. However, this time the changes are kept to inside. The driver and passenger get seats with bigger side bolstering and red trim lines, but that’s pretty much it. The Mazda 2 has always been about keeping the weight as low as possible, improving its 0-60 time over other hatches on this list to 10.4 seconds with 102bhp engine. If you can, go for a post 2010 model and you’ll be rewarded with an upgraded exterior and a subtler suspension setup. All models have five-star NCAP safety ratings and being one of the cheapest on this list, a used model comes in around £2500, and with black box insurance it’s £1815 pounds, and £2160 without.

Alfa Romeo Mito (2007 – 2015)

Distinctive exterior styling sets this car apart, with a long front end and a very unique front grille, so that certainly makes it stand out from other cars on this list. In addition, even base models come with pretty decent looking alloys as well and inside you’ll find it’s very driver focused. Many models have leather seats and an impressive level of comfort, the engines are decent and many petrols are turbocharged. The 101bhp model ekes out a 11.2 second 0-60 time and reviewers have noted a firm ride, but honestly, this may be perfect if you’re going to be thrashing it round corners. Insurance is £1840 with the black box and £2380 without. It’s a decent choice if you’re akin to these looks, and a second hand model can be found on the market for around £4000.

Suzuki Swift GLX (2005 – 2011)

While almost looking like a toy car, it really packs a punch. The Swift doesn’t have a huge boot or great rear passenger room, but it’s definitely more manageable than the Mini. If you grab the 1.5 litre VVT engine, you’ll be going from 0-60 in exactly 10 seconds. Many reviewers like its go kart handling, similar to the Mini, and nothing is more fun than pulling away from a roundabout and changing through the gears to keep it in his power band. I love this car, and at around £2500 pounds for a good one it’s a great choice. The first year of insurance comes to £1900 with a black box, and £1800 without. Yes, it’s cheaper without apparently.

Citroen DS3 Sport Plus (2010 – 2015)

At less than £4500 pounds, you can get a lot for your money. With a 0-60 time of just 7.3 seconds and 157bhp, you’ll be driving a proper hot hatch. Its styling is hit or miss admittedly but, reviews across the board have complimented it as a great, sporty drive. But if the Sport Plus version is a little bit out of reach, there are various other trims available. Insurance is high, as expected at £2370 with a black box and £2580 without. If you’ve got the cash to splash and can’t quite stretch to the Ford Fiesta ST range, this is going to be your best bet.

Which one do you like the most? Let us know in the comments