Choosing your first car is a daunting task. There’s so much to think about, from up-front cost and reliability to fuel-type and the dreaded expense of insurance for new drivers.
If buying a new car is the only option that springs to mind, think again. There are other, more cost-effective ways to get your hands on your first car.
This handy guide will help you decide on the best car for new drivers so you can get behind the wheel with confidence.
Buy or lease?
If you’re thinking about how to buy your first car and you’re worried about driving an unreliable old banger, don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Instead of buying your own vehicle, you could decide to lease. There are lots of different ways to do this, including taking out a personal agreement or signing up through your company’s car benefit scheme.
Either approach means you’d pay fixed monthly amounts so you wouldn’t have to worry about how much to spend on your first car in terms of a lump sum. This makes leasing a more viable option than saving for months or years. And it also means you won’t have to take out a bank loan or, depending on the provider, undergo credit checks.
Petrol, diesel, electric or hybrid?
Up-front payment is one side of the car cost coin; the other is ongoing expenses. That’s why most people look for cars with low running costs. As one of your biggest outgoings will be fuel, choosing between petrol, diesel or electric is key.
Diesel is more expensive at the pump and usually means you’ll pay higher road tax costs. Plus, it’s the worst fossil fuel for the environment and public health. Due to the filters in diesel cars, unless you’re planning on doing long journeys and lots of miles, diesel probably isn’t the best kind of car for new drivers.
Petrol tends to be more cost effective than diesel for shorter journeys and petrol-fuelled cars usually give off fewer emissions. Or you could consider all-electric vehicles. In terms of cars with low running costs they cost £3 in electricity to drive 100 miles. That’s 75% less than petrol cars which cost £12 to drive the same distance.
At the moment, electric-only cars are viable in cities where they can be easily charged or for people who drive less than 50 miles each day and can charge overnight at home.
Alternatively, hybrid cars offer a nice middle ground as they use electric motors to extend the number of miles you can travel on a single tank of fuel. However, you’ll need to decide how much you want to spend on your first car as hybrid vehicles can be more expensive than fossil-fueled vehicles.
Manual or automatic?
Which transmission you choose will depend in part on your driving license. If you passed in a manual car you can drive either an automatic or a manual car. But if you passed in an automatic car you’re restricted to driving only automatics.
While automatic cars are easier to drive, they consume more fuel than their manual counterparts and tend to cost more up front and to maintain and repair. Which places them out of the running for the title of cars with the lowest running costs.
In comparison, manuals put you more in control of your revs and you’re able to drop gear exactly when you want to get more power, like when you’re driving up a steep hill. This makes for a nicer driving experience and greater control over your car.
Insurance for new drivers
Insurance is notoriously expensive for new drivers - in fact, it can be so costly it can place driving a new car out of reach.
All-inclusive insurance is one of the major advantages of company car benefit schemes. Because the insurance is negotiated to reflect the experience of all the drivers on the scheme, new drivers aren’t penalised for their lack of experience. This makes company car benefit schemes a great way to avoid extremely expensive insurance for new drivers.
Safety and reliability
Leasing allows you to drive the most recent makes and models. And, at the end of your agreement, you can take up another lease and hop straight into a brand new car.
The other benefit that unused vehicles offer is reliability. Because it’s less probable they’ll break down, you’re less likely to be stranded by a roadside or left without a vehicle while it undergoes repairs. Which means you can get on with everyday life without any hassle.
There’s a lot to digest when you’re considering how to buy your first car. Whether you decide to purchase new or second-hand, you’ll need to make a call on fuel and transmission and find a way to bring your insurance premium down. Or you could take the stress-free route with a single monthly payment and enjoy the all-inclusive benefits that leasing a brand new car brings.
Is your organisation missing out on our all-inclusive car benefit scheme? Find out how you could benefit by requesting more information today.