What Should I Buy As My First Car?

We look at what you should buy as your first car...

You’re about to take your driving test! The lessons, the money spent learning, the expectation from friends and family as well as knowing freedom is waiting for you at the end of the journey, the pressure can seem unbearable!

However, passing the test is just the first hurdle (especially with the new changes). Buying your first car is by far a bigger challenge and can present more questions than you may have realised. You obviously want something that looks the part, is fun to drive but is also affordable. There’s nothing worse than having a great car all your friends are jealous of but not having enough money to fill it up with petrol.

It won’t take much research to discover that what you want and what you can actually afford might be miles apart. However, with some sensible advice and a nudge in the right direction, there is no reason why this should become an insurmountable obstacle.

So in this article, we are going to go through a few cars that you might want to consider as your first car and what things you should consider before buying your first car.

What Car Should I Get As My First Car?

Here are some of the cars that make a great first car. These aren’t the only vehicles on the market that are a good choice, but these are some of our top picks.

Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris boasts great fuel economy, a comfortable driving position and it has some great engines to choose from.

There are six trims available on the Yaris and three petrol engines including a hybrid, if you wanted great fuel economy and to help the environment. Entry level models come with heated door mirrors, Bluetooth and USB connectivity as well as lots of safety equipment as standard. If you fancy something a bit fancier, then other trims come with the likes of cruise control, a rear view camera and Toyota’s infotainment system with a DAB radio.

Red Toyota Yaris driving along city streets with the sun shining

When looking at first cars, you will want to look at running costs. While you might want the fastest car you can afford, it will cost more to run and there’s no point having a fast car if you can’t afford to run it. The diesel Yaris is the most economical excluding the hybrid. This achieves 72.4mpg and emits 99g/km of CO2. However, if you want a petrol engine then you are looking at 64.5mpg for the latest petrol engine. If you do want to look at the hybrid, then you are looking at an mpg of 85.6mpg. However, a hybrid model will be more expensive outright, but it does level out with the lower running costs.

If you were to buy a brand new Yaris then the starting price is £10,114. You can find a used Yaris for upwards of £3,500 depending on the mileage, the year and the condition of the vehicle. You can also lease a Yaris for upwards of £150 a month depending on the mileage, the vehicle in question and your credit score. We will talk more about leasing a car for young people further down the article.

Volkswagen Polo

This Polo is a reliable, well-built car that will be your trusty companion when you finally get the freedom of your driving licence.

There are a lot of engine choices available to you including the Polo GTI if speed really is important to you. The good thing is most of the engines are very economical, the most economical being the diesel which can achieve around 80mpg. The BlueMotion petrol engine will achieve 70mpg which is still very good for a petrol engine and hugely beneficial for a young person.

2017 volkswagen polo front

Standard equipment is good, even the entry-level models get a five-inch touchscreen as standard. This also includes Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio and a USB port. You get a larger touchscreen on the higher specification as well as a connect system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Prices start at £13,885 which is slightly more than other superminis on the market but still affordable for first time drives. You can get a decent second hand polo for upwards of £1,500 depending on the age, the mileage and the specification. If you were to lease, then you will be looking at upwards of £140 a month depending on the model, how long you want the vehicle for and how many miles you will be doing.

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Nissan Micra

The perfect all-rounder, the Micra is happy in town and on the motorway and its quirky looks make it a popular car with young people.

There are three engines to choose from including to petrol engines and a diesel engine. All the engines claim emissions of over 60mpg and have low emissions, so environmentally friendly and also wallet friendly at the same time. The most economical is the diesel which achieves 88.3mpg and emits 97g/km of CO2.

The Micra has five trim levels with Bluetooth as standard. They also come with automatic emergency braking and a lane-departure warning as standard, hugely beneficial for young drivers. Higher trim levels come with the likes of smartphone connectivity, an infotainment touchscreen as well as key-less go and a Bose audio system on the higher trim levels. The infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay but it doesn’t come with Android Auto but this is supposed to be coming in the future.

Nissan Micra front view driving on road

Prices for the Nissan Micra start at £11,800 which is very affordable for a young person. For a used but newer Micra then you are looking at around £4,000 but you can get an older Micra or a higher mileage for less. To lease a Micra you are looking at upwards of £150 a month depending on how long the contract is for and the mileage.

Toyota Aygo

Some Aygo owners have claimed as much as 76mpg which is great for young drivers. The Aygo has always been popular with young drivers and continues to be a perfect first car. It looks good, it’s fun to drive and it’s the perfect size for driving about town.

The Aygo is a joint development with PSA Peugeot Citroen and the Agyo shares its platform with the Citroen C1 and the Peugeot 108. There are a few engines to choose from including a new 1.2 turbocharged unit. There is also a 1.0 litre petrol unit which is perfect for driving around town. This model claims to achieve 69mpg with the manual transmission and the automatic transmission achieves 67.3mpg.

Toyota Aygo Dark Metallic parked on road

The entry level Aygo gets 14-inch wheels, projector headlamps as well as hill-start assist and USB connectivity. Other trim levels include part-leather seats, Bluetooth, smart energy and push-button start. The infotainment system comes with DAB radio and Bluetooth as well as being able to pair your smartphone up to the infotainment system.

One of the great things about the Aygo is that it is hugely affordable, one of the most affordable vehicles on our list. It starts at £8,354 with used prices being hugely appealing. You can get a used Aygo in good condition for £3,640. You can lease an Aygo for upwards of £130 depending on how long you want to contract for and other factors.

Citroen C1

The Citroen C1 is a great little car and hugely popular with young people. It’s a real all-rounder, it’s practical, comfortable and great value for money.

You can get the C1 in either three or five doors and there are four trim levels for you to choose from. The entry level comes with remote locking, electric windows and an MP3 compatible stereo. The higher trim levels include air-conditioning, tinted rear glass, a leather steering wheel and electric door mirrors.

If you’re looking for the most economical engine then the e-VTi is your best bet as it comes with stop/start technology to keep the CO2 emissions down. Citroen also claims an impressive 74.3mpg fuel economy. The 1.2 PureTech engine comes with 65mpg and emits 99g/km of CO2.

Silver Citroen C1 driving along a road

Prices for the C1 are very appealing, starting at £8,270 and you can get a good used C1 for upwards of about £3,000 depending on other factors. If you look at leasing a C1 then you will be looking at upwards of £120 a month depending on mileage and how much you want to put down.

So those are some of our picks for you to have a look at as your first car.

Can a young person lease a car?

You might have seen that we’ve mentioned lease prices when listing some of our favourite cars for first time drivers.

We have done this because you might be considering leasing your first car. There are many reasons why this could be an option for you;

  •  You get a brand new car without having to pay for it outright
    • This means you don’t have to pay a large amount in one go.
  • You get a new car every few years
    • These vehicles are in warranty and the chances are will never be outside of warranty when they are in your possession
    • New cars are also safer and much more reliable than older cars
  • You can often get a nicer car for less money
    • When you lease you do not pay for the whole vehicle, just the depreciation. This means that you can often afford to lease a more expensive vehicle than you would if you were to buy it outright or get it on a finance agreement

However, you may be wondering whether a young person can lease a car. Young people can lease vehicles, but it can be slightly more difficult than if you were older. This is because when you lease a car you have to go through a credit check. As a young person, you probably won’t have much of a credit score and therefore the finance house has no way of knowing that you will be able to make the monthly payments. It’s a difficult situation because leasing a car would improve your credits core (if you make the payments on time) but you can’t lease a car unless you have a good credit score.

Anyway, a way around this would be to look at getting a guarantor. They will take on the monthly payments should you fail to make them. This reassures the finance house and eliminates the risk.

In conclusion, there are some great cars out there for you that are perfect for young drivers. When looking for your first car you will have to think about your budget and what sort of things you want in your car. Do you want one that is cheap to run? Do you want a car that has Bluetooth connectivity or that you can plug your phone into so you can play music? What about safety features such as auto-braking and lane departure warnings? Hopefully this has given you some idea of the cars you should be looking at and has explained briefly whether you can lease a car as a young driver. We help young people choose their first cars every day, so if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Debbie Kirkley

Director at OSV Ltd
Debbie enjoys: Spending time with her family and dogs, travelling and her work.

Debbie has had exposure to every aspect of the business, ensuring a tight ship at every stage of the process. She thrives on achieving great results, all the while being a great person to laugh and joke about with.
Debbie Kirkley

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