Passing your driving test is a huge milestone and what better way to celebrate your new found freedom than with a new (or used) car. But deciding what to buy can be fraught with apprehension, with so many cars on the market, how do you know what’s right for you? To help you decide, mustard.co.uk share these top considerations.
Work out what you need
As basic as this sounds, it’s all too easy to get carried away and end up with a car that’s either impractical or simply too expensive to run. So, think carefully about what you actually need and consider:
- The journeys you’ll make — if you’re out and about in towns and cities, a compact and easy to park city car could be ideal. But if you’re a regular on the motorway, you’ll need a vehicle that’s powerful enough to hold its own.
- Fuel efficiency — if budget is your main concern, think about number of miles to the gallon and which models are the most efficient and economical.
- Interior space — if you carry lots of equipment for sports, hobbies or even your job, you’ll need a car with enough boot space for your kit.
It’s also well worth looking at the used car market for your first car as your money will go a lot further than buying new. New cars also lose considerable value (known as depreciation) as soon as you drive them off the forecourt. In fact, it’s estimated that a brand-new car depreciates at a rate of about 20% a year.
Service and maintenance
It’s not just the initial purchase price you’ll need to budget for. To make sure your car stays in top condition, you’ll need to make sure it’s regularly serviced. If you buy from a dealership, they often have prepaid service plans which can help you budget. Otherwise, you can expect the average service to cost around £160 at your local garage.
You’ll also need to factor in the cost of general maintenance, for example, keeping the oil topped up and replacing tyres.
Plus, don’t forget that cars over three years old will also need an annual MOT to ensure it’s roadworthy. The good news is that MOT prices are capped so at the moment, you won’t pay any more than £54.85.
It’s no secret that car insurance is much more expensive for young drivers than it is for other age groups. That’s because drivers under 25 are statistically more likely to be involved in a car accident. However, you can keep car cover costs as low as possible by choosing a car based on its insurance group.
There are 50 car insurance groups and all UK cars will belong to one of them. As a general rule, the lower the group number, the less you pay for insurance. Bear in mind that the insurance group is partly determined by the car’s specification so cars can be in different groups even if they are the same make and model.
Some of the most popular first cars in low insurance groups include:
- Renault Clio (insurance group four) — this has been the number one first car for new drivers for three years running. It’s practical, safe, and stylish so it’s little surprise it regularly takes the top spot.
- Volkswagen Up (insurance group one)— if you need a small, neat city car, the VW Up could be the car for you. Plus, basic models are in the lowest insurance group making it one of the most economical cars you can buy.
- Kia Picanto (insurance group four) — if you like the idea of a city car but want something a little sportier, the Kia Picanto ticks the box. Higher specification models are also powerful enough for the motorway so a good option if you drive a lot.
- Ford Fiesta (insurance group four) — another first car classic, the Fiesta is another consistently popular choice. With a good range of features as standard, and low running costs, it offers all-round good value for money.
- Fiat 500 (insurance group five) — if style is a priority, consider the Fiat 500. If you buy new, you can opt for a range of features to truly make it your own. Remember though — a higher spec car will mean pricier insurance.
As well as opting for a car in a low insurance group, you can save money by making sure you compare quotes. Shopping around means you can see what’s on offer and at what price so you can be confident about getting the best value for money.
To start a quote, head over to mustard.co.uk where you can compare car cover from a range of leading UK insurers.