The car of my youth was the Renaultsport Clio, available in various guises in mark two form, and I ended up spending the best part of £2,000 to insure a 182 Trophy aged 21. Such a figure seems preposterous now - unthinkable to fork out - but it’s a reality for anyone wanting to own a quick hatchback if they’re of a young age which immediately flags up to insurers.
However, one small hatch - renowned over its several generations for being light, agile and nippy - could be the answer as it’s affordable to not only run but insure.
That car’s the Seat Ibiza FR which, in 1.0-litre turbocharged form, offers sporty looks, a sweet-shifting manual gearbox and easy-on-the-wallet fuel economy.
You’ll easily surpass 50mpg and given its dinky proportions and torque-rich engine, the perhaps uninspiring-on-first-glance 95bhp seems ample.
Outside, there’s typical FR fare with sportier grilles, 17-inch wheels and although there’s two false exhaust pipes coated in a cheap, plastic surround, it looks just right even despite this minor irk.
Open its driver’s door and you’re met with the quality everyone’s come to expect from Seat. It shares much of its switchgear with its parent group - which includes Audi and Volkswagen - so typically everything feels solid, well-made and belies the Ibiza FR’s £18,000 price tag.
Get it up and running and several things stand out: the gearbox’s pleasing action, the steering’s fast-to-react tendency and the terrier-like handling. It’s plenty quick enough, too. Manufacturers’ 0-60mph times are largely irrelevant in day-to-day driving but the FR completes the sprint in a respectable ten seconds, but key is its frugality which offers the perfect combination of decent pace and good fuel economy.
If you’re young - or indeed any age - and just want a fun, simple, good-looking and nippy little car, the Ibiza FR is just about perfect.