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Buying your first car is a big step. It’s exciting, will bring you independence and enhance your social life but will also tie you down with costs if you’re not careful about the model you choose.
Learning to drive is an expensive affair, and once you’ve passed your test unfortunately as a young driver you’ll be paying the highest prices for insurance on any type of car. With the price of petrol rising weekly and added costs like road tax, breakdown cover and routine repairs, there is a lot to consider when choosing a car. Here at Source My Car our aim is to make the purchasing process as simple as possible. Not only do we bring the dealers to you, but we also have some advice on the best cars for younger people.
Cheaper doesn’t mean better, in fact, in the used car world it’s usually the opposite that’s true. You might think you’re bagging yourself a bargain, but in reality you may end up having to spend thousands in repairs and maintenance within the first couple of years of driving it. After all, you get what you pay for in most cases.
There’s usually a deal to be had with any used cars, so make full use of your budget by opting for the best car that you can afford (or just above your top budget) and then negotiate a lower price if possible. Remember, spending all the budget based on a car’s looks and modifications (alloy wheels, metallic paint, custom trims) doesn’t always get the most reliable car and certainly won’t help the cost of insurance.
Insurance is a huge expense that you need to consider when deciding which car you want to buy. The general rule is: the bigger the engine, the more you pay out in insurance. This is always an important factor for every driver, but young motorists need to be especially careful as their premiums are always very high. So, if you want to save some cash, opt for a smaller engine until you gain some road experience and are eligible for the lower prices.
Some other good reasons to go for a smaller engine size include the cost of Road tax, petrol consumption and safety. By opting for a car that emits less than 100g/km of CO2 will mean that you don’t need to pay road tax at all, saving you at least £90 per year and in some cases up to £300 per year!
Generally, the smaller the engine the more miles per gallon you will be able to travel on your petrol spend. Most first time drivers are shocked by the amount they spend on petrol in the first few months. Getting used to being economical with your petrol is a good habit, especially if you are likely to use your car for long journeys or daily commuting. The way that you drive your car can affect how much petrol you use too. If you are driving a more powerful car, your gas guzzling will be worse while you get used to the gears and power of the engine compared to your driving instructor’s car, which are usually economical city cars.
So, what is the best car to buy if you are a young driver?
Taking into consideration all of the above, we’ve put together a list of some good options for a first car.
Ford KA – 2002 – 2013
The Ford KA is very popular amongst young drivers and has been for more than 10 years. There are still plenty of older models around at bargain prices. A 2002 Ford Ka could be picked up for around £750 – £1500 depending on mileage and condition. Because there are so many older models around, it proves that the Ka is reliable and long lasting. A newer model – 2009 onwards – will be around £4500 – £6000.
These compact but zippy street cars are perfect for fitting into small parking spaces, squeezing through traffic and are also big enough to carry shopping and friends. The shape of the old Ka is like a little bubble and it’s fun to drive, whereas the newer models are sleeker and more modern. Because Ford is one of the biggest British car manufacturers, finding a Ford garage and sourcing parts for a Ka is easy and inexpensive. One thing to watch with Ford Kas is that they have a 1.2 or 1.3 litre engine, which will push up insurance costs and means tax is up to £180 per year. However Kas are great for petrol economy – it costs around £40 to fill up the tank and that will last for miles and miles, with newer Start-Stop models travelling up to 68 mpg!
For an upgraded look go for a Ka Collection for colour coded bumpers and metallic paint, air con etc. All these will cost extra in the newer models but in old Kas there shouldn’t be much difference at all in price between the standard Ka. If you’re really after something cute and quirky, look for a convertible StreetKa!