First Cars For New Drivers: 11 Ways To Choose The Right Option

Photo: PH. Galtri

Choosing a first car is a major decision for new drivers, and it is crucial to make the best possible decision. New drivers are often considered more of a risk by insurance companies, with younger drivers the highest prices on things like car insurance. Choosing a reliable, safe and easy-to-maintain car can help to offset some of these issues and help you on the path to getting your first car.

There is a lot to think about when choosing a car, so it is worth considering the things that are most important to you about the vehicle. Safety and reliability are a given, but you might also consider add-ons and extras that you’ve always wanted in a car. The cost of running a vehicle long-term is another critical consideration.

Think About The Kind Of Driving You’ll Do

The type of driving you’ll do will make a big difference to the best car you could choose. If you’ll be using the vehicle heavily, then something that has a big tank and excellent reliability is crucial. If you’ll only be using it occasionally, something more economical could be beneficial. Likewise, if you live in a city, choosing a smaller car could be ideal compared to something larger that will be tricky to part on a city street.

Check Fuelling Costs

It is essential to know how much a car will cost to run so that you can adequately budget for owning or leasing a vehicle. Diesel is more expensive than petrol but can be more economical in the long run. Electric cars are the cheapest overall to run, though you will need to consider how to adapt your home for an electric charging station. Electric vehicles can often be pricier to buy new than diesel or petrol options, but they are much cheaper for long-term running costs, as well as being better for the environment.

Find A Vehicle That Is Cheap To Maintain

The easier it is to maintain your vehicle, the better. Choosing a car make and model that has a lot of spare parts available can be ideal, so looking at popular models by Ford, Volkswagen, and other reliable brands can be perfect. The more popular the car, the more likely it will be that your mechanic can find cheap replacement parts should it need them.

Decide How Much Space You Will Need

For many new drivers, space can be a big issue. For younger drivers, it is often desirable to have plenty of space for passengers, so you can give lifts to friends and take trips together. For older drivers, you may be at a point in your life when you need space for car seats and kids in the back and plenty of boot room. Think about the types of trips you plan to take and consider what size car will be the best. A smaller car is often easier to insure for new drivers, but that should only be part of the consideration when choosing a car.

Look Into Electric Cars

As mentioned above, electric cars can be incredibly beneficial for a number of reasons. The cost of running an electric vehicle is one of the most desirable things for many drivers, and the environmental benefits are also a massive bonus. It is important to note that electric cars may come with a smaller driving range than petrol or diesel, so you may need to plan trips around where you can stop to charge up. However, if you have more money to spend, you can invest in an electric car that could equal or exceed the range of a traditionally fuelled vehicle.

Consider A Lease

Buying isn’t a new driver’s only option when looking for a vehicle. Leasing can be an excellent way to enjoy the latest and best features a car has to offer without worrying about the initial cost of purchasing a new vehicle outright. It can also allow you to switch out cars more regularly if having the latest tech is important to you. This can be a good option for someone who wants an electric vehicle in particular. Take a look at LV ElectriX’s guide on everything you need to know about leasing to help decide if leasing is for you.

Be Realistic With Your Budget

Your purchasing or leasing budget will determine the type of car you can afford, so you must be realistic when crunching the numbers. This is particularly important when leasing, as you will be tied into a contract that could last for years. Consider your financial situation and how this might change over the years, as well as any savings you have.

View And Drive A Vehicle Before Making Your Choice

It is vital that you drive and see a car before you buy it. This will be the best way to get a feel for the vehicle and identify if the dealer, seller or leasing company is reputable. Check the business premises to see how professional their operation is, and look at reviews for people who have used them in the past. When driving the car, see how well it runs and how good a fit it will be for you. This is particularly important if you’re considering a second-hand car.

Get Advice From Someone Who Knows About Cars

Advice from an expert can be a great way to help you narrow down your car options and make the best decision for your needs. Any advice you get from someone you’re considering buying or leasing from should be taken with a pinch of salt. It is best to get advice from someone more impartial, like a friend or family member who is good with cars or works in the auto industry. Let them know your requirements and what cars you’re considering, and ask for their input or recommendations.

Make Safety A Top Priority

Safety should always be a top priority for a new driver as you get your bearings. Look for cars with excellent safety features, and consider options that are often touted as excellent first vehicles. The safer the rating on the car you choose, the better deals you will get with insurance, and the more reassured your passengers will be.

Look At Insurance Costs

Insurance costs can vary depending on a range of factors, and both your newly qualified driver status and the type of vehicle you choose will make a big difference in your insurance costs. While you might be tempted by a snazzy sports car for your first vehicle, this will most likely cost you significantly over time. Before making any purchase or leasing agreement, you should check the kind of insurance prices you’re looking at using a comparison site. Often, when you’re just starting out, the cheaper options will be the most beneficial.

Final Thoughts

Your first car is an exciting time, and you should take steps to ensure that you make the right choice for your budget and your safety. Thinking about your lifestyle and your essential uses for your car should be one of the primary considerations, along with safety and reliability. If aesthetics or status are important to you when choosing a first car, it is important to remember that these can come with increased costs.