Buying your first car and finally having the freedom driving brings is really exciting. You’ll remember your first car forever, so you want to make sure you pick the right one.
But choosing your car can be confusing, with so many options and things you need to remember. Our handy guide will help you successfully purchase your first car.
It might be useful to start with a checklist of the things that are important to you when it comes to your first car. Do you want a vehicle that has all the latest gadgets, or do you just need something basic? Will you be using your car for regular long journeys, or do you need a little runaround to pop to the shops?
Remember when setting your budget to include costs like car insurance, car tax and the running and maintenance costs. These will all differ depending on what car you need.
Lots of people would rather buy a used car as their first vehicle. Buying a used car will usually save you money and doesn’t necessarily mean you have to compromise on style. Just take a look at the used cars we have available.
Some people will support spending more money for the peace of mind that comes with a new car, which are usually protected by the manufacturer’s warranty. You’ll also have more choice when it comes to the specification, like choosing the paint colour and seat fabric.
Whether you choose new or used, we can help you finance your first car so you don’t have to be restricted by the price of the car you want.
Once you’ve decided if you’re looking for a new or used car, you can decide on the type of car. Most cars are categorized as hatchback, saloon, estate or SUV, with vehicles like sports cars and people carriers falling somewhere in between.
The type of car of you need will depend on how much space you need. First-time drivers often don’t need much space, so will go for a hatchback. You might also find the smaller size easier to handle as you get used to driving. If you need more space, you might find that a saloon or SUV is more practical.
We found the 10 best cars for first-time drivers, to help you decide exactly what car will be best for you.
New drivers often face higher insurance premiums, but you can combat this with the car you buy. The size of the engine, the modifications on the car and the safety features will all contribute to your insurance costs.
Thatcham Research group vehicles in a rating system of 1-50, taking into account all the factors that can increase or decrease insurance costs. You can search the vehicle make and model to find the group rating. The lower the rating, the lower it will cost to insure the car.
Running costs for your car will include fuel, tax, servicing, and maintenance. These costs will all differ depending on the car itself but will be affected by the make, model, and the age of the car.
Smaller cars will generally be cheaper to have services than bigger cars. You should aim to have your car serviced annually or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. The mileage may be different for some vehicle makes and models, so check this in your handbook or with the manufacturer.
The amount of fuel you use will vary depending on how much you use the car. But the type of engine will also affect the cost of fuel, with more efficient cars having better fuel economy, which could save you money.
Once you’ve found the right car, you’ll need to make sure you’ve checked everything over properly before you commit to buying.
New cars will need less checks as they should be covered by the warranty, but you’ll still want to give it a visual going over to make sure nothing is obviously wrong.
If you’re buying a used car from a dealer, the dealer will have to ensure that the car is fit for purpose, as advertised and legal to drive. You might still want to take a look at it yourself to make sure you’re happy.
Make sure to check all the paperwork, like the service record and MOT history. Check that things are working inside the car, like the window wipers, indicators, windows and the sound system. Take the car for a test drive to ensure it’s running correctly.
The best way to ensure your buying first car is successful is to purchase from a reputable seller. They’ll bring the assurance that your car will be exactly as advertised and safe for you to drive.