Choosing a first car is an extremely momentous occasion, signifying a newfound freedom and independence – and one of the first major investments you make in yourself as an adult. It is not a decision to be taken lightly, by any means – but if you don’t know much about cars to begin with, you might not quite know where to start! Here are some simple tips to help you choose the right first car for your needs.
Choosing a Model
Your first decision comes in picking a model of car to go for. The model of car you should choose depends greatly on the needs you have for your first car. Are you a fresh university student looking for a car to navigate your new city, or do you need a serious commuter car for longer-distance driving? In the former scenario, you might be better with a compact hatchback for efficient, agile driving; in the latter case, a saloon with a heftier engine might be more economically sound.
Petrol, Diesel or Electric?
The next stage in your decision-making relates to the kind of engine or motor your car choice includes. There are three key options on the market at the moment: petrol, diesel or electric. Petrol cars are more efficient at lower speeds, lending themselves more to short distances and city driving. Diesel cars are more efficient at higher speeds, and better served on motorways or A-roads. Electric vehicles are relatively new on the market but giving existing gas guzzlers a run for their money – at the expense of being slightly more difficult to fuel.
The cost of your first car is much more than its list price. You will also have to factor in the costs of fuel and maintenance. Petrol and diesel have only recently started to come down in price, after suffering supply shortages at the hands of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This instability could indicate future issues with fuel affordability, where getting an electric car could save a significant amount on fuel costs altogether. But, while electric cars need less maintenance, they could cost more to fix if they break.
Tax and Insurance
On top of fuel and maintenance, you will also have to contend with costs relating to road tax and car insurance. Road tax has changed a little over the years, and today exists as a form of emissions tax; if you choose a fully electric vehicle, your road tax obligation is reduced to nil on account of your zero-emission status.
Insurance, though, is a different matter. Insurance costs vary according to a wide variety of factors, including your driving experience as well as the value and reliability of the car you choose. With this being your first car, you may not have passed your driver’s test yet – in which case, provisional insurance can cover you for practice sessions with a chaperone ahead of your final test. After obtaining this provisional insurance, you can put some time aside to research providers for the best possible long-term deal as a fully-fledged driver.