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Buying Your First Car?

According to gov.uk most people past their driving test during the summer months, probably because there is more free time during those months. As we are coming to the end of the summer I thought it would be a good time to talk about first cars and all of the options that you have available.

When you first starting thinking about what car you want, you will probably think about combining supercar speed and performance with the space of an SUV and a city car insurance rating. It won’t take you long to realise that your first car will not be any of those and you will have to go for a more reasonable option.

Do not panic though. There are plenty of options for a new driver that although may not be the most glamorous, they will be a lot of fun and give you some of the best memories.

The first thing you should look at is price and running costs, do not, repeat do not, go for a car that has over 150,000 miles to it because there won’t be that much life left in it so you will pay a fortune to fix it. You clearly have to be able to afford the car either through cash or as monthly payments on finance and you should definitely consider the insurance premium, servicing costs and fuel when accounting for costs. Once you have wrapped your head around that then you are ready to begin your car hunt.

This is the exciting part. Seeing as you are a newer driver I would recommend starting off with a small vehicle, something easy to manoeuvre and park with low insurance as you are the most likely to crash in your first year. I went for a used Ford KA as my first car.

The lowest insurance group ratings should also be something you really analyse, if your car is considered ‘sporty’ then the insurance goes up, if it is a soft top then the insurance goes up. There are a lot of different variations to look at. Cars that do fall into the lowest bracket however do tend to be cheaper to buy and more economical due to their smaller engines and light weight frames.

Some new cars do come cheap and with a free insurance deal for a year but these also have age restrictions so read the small print. If after 12 months you have not claimed anything when you do start to pay you will be heavily discounted.

If parents are purchasing the first car for their children, safety is most likely a high priority. Crash test results can be found on the Euro NCAP website so you can view how some cars compare to others. I would also recommend checking that stability control is included as some cheaper cars won’t have it. Most modern vehicles however have a higher safety standard so that may be worth considering.

First time drivers’ most likely do not need large boot space, I only used my KA to go between home and school so storage space was not an issue. Little three-door cars are probably a good choice as these are easy to drive and good looking so you are bound to find one you like.

If you purchased a car to learn to drive in I would recommend sticking to it for a few years until you are more confident and experienced on the road. But really a vehicle with a tight turning radius, good visibility and responsive steering would be highly recommended for a first time driver.

The five cars I would recommend to new drivers are the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 108 and the Citroen C1. All of which fall into the lowest insurance bracket, are relatively secure, have small engines and low running costs. Whatever it is that you go for just make sure to drive safe and have fun.

posted by: Abigail Lavallin 18 August 2016

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