Learning to drive

Choosing your first car

Finding your ideal first car is often a long process. You need to work out your budget, what you need your car for and if there are any crucial pieces of kit you couldn’t live without.

A step-by-step guide to buying your first car!

The things to consider here aren’t just whether you’re going to buy the car outright or pay monthly, but also insurance, car tax and maintenance costs.

Budget

First up we need to work out our budget. Do you have a pot of money set aside to buy your first car? Is that your whole budget or will that be used to put down as a deposit on a new car? Even if you do buy your car outright, you need to consider insurance andcar taxEvery car has in an insurance grouping from 1 to 50. The lower the number, the lower the premium is likely to be. Pick a car with low emissions and you’ll pay less car tax (also known as Vehicle Excise Duty). Low emissions should mean lower fuel bills, too..

New vs used

Buying a new car may seem beyond reach, but finance schemes which combine the cost of the car and insurance into a single monthly payment can make a showroom-fresh set of wheels surprisingly affordable. On the other hand, a reliable used car can still make a lot of sense. Let us help you choose.

 

Why buy new?

  • Low-interest PCP schemes make new cars more affordable than you’d expect
  • Some finance schemes include motor insurance
  • New cars are safer than older designs
  • At least three years of warranty cover

Why think twice?

  • An older car will cost less to buy
  • New cars lose value more quickly than used ones
  • With a PCP scheme, there’s a large final payment to make if you want to own the car

Why buy used?

  • A used car is typically cheaper to buy than a new one
  • Used cars generally lose value more slowly than brand new ones
  • No interest to pay if the car is cheap enough to buy outright

Why think twice?

  • Used cars have much shorter warranties, or sometimes none at all
  • You’ll have to pay for insurance separately
  • Any unexpected bills will eat into the saving over a new car

Check out our complete guides to buying new or used cars:

Complete new car buying guide

Complete used car buying guide