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What Type of Car is Good For a First Car?

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So, you’re gearing up to purchase your first car – an exciting time! Before too long, you’ll be able to enjoy the sweet freedom that only car ownership can give you. You’ll be able to go where you want, when you want… provided you can afford the fuel.

For most of us, cars are the second-most expensive purchase we ever have to make – and when you consider the ongoing cost of maintaining them, it becomes even more vital that you choose the right one. You’ll be kicking yourself if you pick something that’s needlessly expensive to run and breaks down all the time.

Fear not, though: we’re here to help. Read on for a handy first car buying guide.

Body style

You expect a degree of practicality from your car, right? After all, what use is there in being able to drive if you can’t take your friends with you? As tempting as it may be to go for a sporty two-seater, we’d recommend looking at three or five-door hatchbacks. Why?

  • They’re practical, as above, usually seating four or five. They have conveniently shaped, easily accessible cargo areas too.
  • They’re the best-selling, which means you’ll have thousands of examples to choose from if you’re buying used or nearly new.
  • They’re compact and have good visibility, making them easy to park and manoeuvre around tight streets.
  • They’re usually very affordable and cheap to insure.
  • They’re typically front-wheel drive, resulting in safe, predictable handling that shouldn’t catch you out in adverse weather conditions.

Engine and gearbox

If you’ve done your homework on car ownership already, you’ll know just how much of a killer insurance can be for new drivers. The type of car you drive will affect your premiums a lot, as will the size of engine you go for.

  • Try to look for cars with engines up to 1.4-litres in capacity.
  • The newer the vehicle you’re looking at, the smaller the engine you can get away with. Modern engines pack a greater punch than those built 15 or 20 years ago; a modern 1.0-litre unit will have more power than most old 1.4-litre engines, for example, which is handy to know if you plan to head out on the motorway.
  • Cars with smaller engines tend to produce less carbon emissions, making them cheaper to tax.

Should you go for a manual or automatic? This is entirely up to you, but there are a handful of things to bear in mind.

  • If you take your test in an automatic car, you’ll only be qualified to drive an automatic.
  • Automatic cars are usually more expensive to buy.
  • They also tend to use more fuel and are pricier to fix when they go wrong.
  • There are less automatic cars around, which will limit the pool of potential vehicles you have to choose from.
  • The upside is that automatics are very easy to drive, as you don’t have to worry about using the clutch pedal.

Popular models

Popular first cars include the Ford Fiesta (there are more of these sold second-hand each year than any other car), Vauxhall Corsa and smaller models from the likes of Peugeot, Citroen, Toyota and Fiat.

Make sure you research your chosen make and model carefully, making a note of potential weak points to inspect or ask about when you go and look at one for sale. It’s also worth taking a look at reliability rankings to gauge how dependable each car is.

If you’re yet to pass your test and need to find a driving school in Peterborough to guide you to the finish line, speak to us at GoGoGo Intensive today!

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