If you’re about to buy your first car and don’t know what you should be looking for, here are a few tips to help you invest wisely.
Set a realistic budget
Most first-time drivers choose a used car rather than going for new. However, it depends on what your budget is. Don’t be tempted to exceed your budget just because you like the look of a car.
It’s more important to consider the type of driving you’ll be doing. If it’s mainly local driving, then something cheaper such as a small hatchback will be adequate.
If your circumstances are going to require you to do long distances, then it’s worth looking at a larger, more comfortable car with a bigger engine. But before you decide on a model, think about future usage. Remember, cars devalue fast.
If you just want a run-around for the summer, then go for something as cheap as possible. If you’re planning to keep the car for a number of years, then work out how much you can afford and go for the best in your budget.
Choose a suitable model
As above, the model of your first car will depend on what you can afford and how you plan to use it.
Hatchbacks tend to be the most popular choice for first-time owners. They’re easy to drive and economical.
A used hatchback is generally a safe purchase for most new drivers. They’re less expensive than other cars but still give you five seats and a boot, although not as spacious as a saloon.
But if you’re in a situation where you’re going to be driving other people around on a regular basis, or you need to carry equipment for work or leisure, have a look at the saloon cars on the market.
Generally, first-time buyers avoid SUVs and estates as they don’t yet have families to consider – and they don’t need the extra expense these vehicles incur. If you’re a first-time car driver and you’re longing for a Land Rover or high-powered car, it will cost you, and not just for the car.
Check you can afford insurance and running costs
If you’re a newly qualified driver, an insurance company will be much happier if you’re driving around in a smaller-engine hatchback than an expensive high-powered Jaguar.
The most economical cars to ensure are models with less powerful engines (less than 1.6 litres) and lower repair costs. Every car has an insurance group number ranging from 1 to 50. Lower end numbers are cheaper to insure than higher numbers.
As well as checking out the insurance group number of the car you plan to buy, look into running costs. Road tax is based on emissions – so there’s no tax on zero emission cars such as electric models. The tax on petrol and diesel engines will depend on engine size, or fuel type and carbon dioxide (CO2 emissions), depending on when the vehicle was first registered.
As well as tax and insurance, think about the cost of fuel and maintenance. A simple search online will give you a wealth of information on any make and model. Most first-time buyers want a car that’s going to be fuel-efficient and not cost a fortune in service charges.
Would you like car advice from a friendly local garage?
Foster & Heanes offers car servicing, maintenance and repair for all makes and models of vehicles, including classic and vintage cars. Free collection and delivery can be arranged if you live near our Fleet or Dogmersfield service centres. To book your car in for a service, repair or MOT, please call 01252 615657.