What to Look for in Your Very First Car

November 28, 2023


Everyone remembers their first car. The experience, whether it involves receiving a cherished family hand-me-down on your 17th birthday or selecting your own set of wheels later in life, symbolizes a thrilling leap towards independence and freedom. But we don’t always remember our first cars for the right reasons. There are countless horror stories out there of young drivers being sold rust buckets that are constantly breaking down and we all remember that yellow monstrosity from The Inbetweeners right? 

If you know where to look and what to look for, however, buying your first car doesn’t have to be a trial. Indeed, it can actually be a lot of fun and whatever the wheels, it marks a significant milestone towards adulthood. To help that milestone feel like less of a burden and more of a celebration, here are a few top tips to consider.


When shopping for your first car, your budget is probably going to be the most crucial factor, particularly given the price of even second-hand cars (not to mention petrol) these days. To maximise the value for your money, exploring the used car market is a popular choice for first-time buyers. Trusted dealerships often have a range of vehicles from reputable brands, so you’ll see BMW, Audi, and VW used models among more standard cars like Peugeot and Vauxhall, offering a balance of quality and affordability.


When choosing a car within your budget, remember it’s essential to consider not only the purchase price but also the long-term value and potential resale worth of the vehicle as well as the running costs. This includes expenses such as fuel, annual MOT tests, insurance, and ongoing maintenance. It’s important to factor in these costs when choosing your first car, as they can significantly impact the overall affordability of the vehicle in the long run.


Cars typically fall into one of four main categories: hatchback, saloon, estate, or SUV. For first-time buyers, hatchbacks are a common choice due to their compact size, fuel efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, not to mention how affordable they are to insure. These vehicles are also easier to navigate and park, especially in urban settings, making them a practical option for new drivers and those who must commute into larger towns and cities.


Finally, the safety features of a car are of paramount importance, especially for new drivers who might be more likely to make mistakes than their more seasoned compatriots. Generally, newer cars offer enhanced safety in terms of both accident protection and preventive technology, so you might want to consider looking for cars that are no more than a decade old. Features like advanced airbag systems, anti-lock brakes, and stability control are now standard in most recent models and add up to a safer and more comfortable driving experience. For new drivers, comfort and safety should be as important a consideration as budget so don’t skimp on it!