If you’ve just passed your driving test and are ready to hit the road, the next big challenge, if you haven’t already done it, is to buy a vehicle. Most people remember their first cars with fondness and for younger drivers it can mark the moment when they confirm going from a teenager to full blown adult.
What Sort of Car?
Most first time drivers have two main considerations when they come to buy a car: the cost and how easy and safe it is to drive. While new drivers have passed their test, there is still a lot of learning and experience that goes into making a competent and safe motorist.
You don’t want to start off with a vehicle that has too much power and can be difficult to control in tight situations. Cars are also expensive to run and it’s best to get one that has a good fuel consumption which generally comes with lower powered models.
Insurance for new drivers can be horrendous, especially if you pick the wrong model. You can reduce your costs in this area by choosing a suitable model that falls within the lower insurance charge groups. Look for one that is in insurance groups 1-7 if you want to pay a reasonable premium.
New Vs Second Hand Cars
You may well have the finances to buy a brand new model but many first time drivers choose a second hand vehicle. There are some good deals out there nowadays and car sales rooms aren’t the dodgy places they used to be. If you are using your new car to travel long distances, one of the primary considerations is the number of miles on the clock.
- Vauxhall Corsa: With an average of 50 miles per gallon, the Corsa is a great little car with a 1.0 litre engine that is ideal for first time drivers. It’s a favourite equally between men and women and falls in insurance group 2.
- Ford Fiesta: The Fiesta is one of the most recognisable cars on the road with a 1.2 litre engine and should give you a creditable 45 mpg. In insurance group 4, it’s an excellent starter car with a great deal of reliability.
- VW Polo: Certainly popular with teenagers who have just passed their test, the VW Polo is good car despite the recent furore over emission problems. It falls into insurance group 5 and can get you 47 mpg.
- Peugeot 106 & 207: The range of Peugeots on the market make them bargain second hand cars available at competitive prices. The 207 has a 1.1 litre engine and again does about 45 mpg; insurance companies put it in band 5.
- Seat Ibiza: The range of second hand Ibizas available also represent value for money. Easy to handle with much of the same parts and technology as the VW, it comes in at band 3 for insurance and has a 1.2 litre engine.
- Nissan Micra: More popular with female drivers than men, the Micra is small but delivers 48 mpg and is one of the most efficient cars on the market. Second hand models are in insurance band 4 and it has a small but adequate 1.0 litre engine.
Choosing your first car can be exciting and the prospect of driving it alone for the first time more than a little daunting. Our advice is to choose something that is easy to handle, comes at a good price and is economical to run but, above all, take your time. There is plenty of choice out there and you should be able to find a car that is in tune with both your budget and your aesthetic values.