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A Car Guide for First-Time Drivers

Have you recently passed your test and are looking for your first car? Or are you simply looking for a car to learn in prior to your driving test? With so many options available to you, it’s crucial to thoroughly do your research and to know your expectations when it comes to the money side of things. 

For example, you may be looking for a longer-term car with top-of-the-range features and a comfortable ride. With that being said, insurance can be very costly for first-time drivers, so doing your research can save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the long-run.

At Parkland Motors, we understand that choosing your first car can be a bit of a minefield. Whatever your situation as a first-time driver, here are our top tips to finding the right car for you and some things you’ll need to look out for.

Choosing Your First Car

Realistically, you only really learn to drive once you pass your driving test and you adapt to real-life driving situations. For this reason, you’ll want to choose a car that offers practicality, comfort and makes driving as easy as possible to enable you to build up your confidence.

If you’re thinking ‘should I buy a used car as a first car?’ then the answer is yes! Of course, there are some popular choices for a first car due to their low insurance group ratings. Although we do recommend looking at our guide of the best small cars, here are just a few of the most popular first car choices.

Ford Fiesta

Known as one of the most popular cars for learners to drive in, the Ford Fiesta makes the perfect first car. With amazing safety features and credibility for being fun to drive, the Fiesta offers the best of both worlds. Thanks to an innovation called MyKey, it’s a car that parents can confidently entrust to a younger family member. MyKey helps to reinforce better driving habits through seat belt warnings, speeding warnings, speed limits and radio volume limits.

Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 is a solid performer known for its clean, comfortable and modern feel. It’s a great car for building confidence and with its safe handling and reliability, the i10 makes for a well suited to younger drivers. And, with a variety of engines to choose from, you have a great variety of more affordable options.

Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto offers space and practicality as well as being one of the cheapest cars to run. If you’re looking at buying brand new or even semi-new, you’ll be pleased to hear that Kia offers a fantastic seven-year warranty, making it a safe option for new and old drivers alike. As well as its reliable warranty, the Picanto also offers incredible fuel economy and a low insurance group rating.

Peugeot 108

Another popular choice is the Peugeot 108. Amazing fuel economy, great performance and as a sensible and attractive hatchback, the 108 provides great running costs even for new drivers. As well as the 108, Peugeot also has the 207 and 208, which are also known to be excellent choices for new drivers.

SEAT Ibiza

The SEAT Ibiza truly delivers a fantastic driving experience and is reliable, affordable and extremely stylish. With a variety of engine options, the 1.2 is a fantastic choice for first-time drivers that provides an affordable insurance group and low vehicle tax rates. A great option for a first-time driver, the Seat Ibiza can seriously hold its value even with age.

Vauxhall Corsa

A model that is more than likely on your list is the Vauxhall Corsa, an affordable and practical small hatchback with all of the comforts that you could wish for. And with an excellent average mpg of 51.8, it’s the perfect car for first-time drivers.

Volkswagen Up!

Sensible and practical, the Volkswagen Up! are incredibly affordable to run and even offers all of the tech you could possibly desire. A fresh and enjoyable ride, the Up! is stylish and fun to drive, although does offer very minimal space so isn’t ideal if you’re looking for a bigger boot.

Volkswagen Polo

A household name, the Volkswagen Polo is known for its reliability and affordability. As a small car, parking and manoeuvring are made easy. Not only does the Polo feel great to drive, but it also looks superb too.

Young Driver Car Insurance

Car insurance for new drivers is known to be very costly, which is why choosing your first car shouldn’t be a decision you make lightly. For this reason, choose a car in a low insurance group and carry out insurance quotes before purchasing your vehicle.

Rather than phoning up insurance companies straight away, we advise using insurance comparison websites, including GoCompare, MoneySuperMarket, and Compare The Market. Once you have found the best deal for you, you can even phone up the insurance provider directly as they will be more likely to offer you a better deal than online. Alternatively, if your parents live at the same address, their insurance provider may also be able to provide you with a really competitive deal.

Another great tip is to arrange your car insurance several days in advance - arranging car insurance last minute to commence on the very same day will be far more expensive than if your policy begins two weeks later, for example.

We also recommend purchasing a dashcam for your car as this can help to reduce your insurance premium.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)

Vehicle Excise Duty is another cost to be aware of as you can be fined and left at risk of your vehicle being towed away if you forget to tax your vehicle. Vehicle Excise Duty (also known as car tax or road tax) can be anything up to £1,000, depending on the efficiency of your car. This can vary depending on emissions, engine size and fuel type.

Before buying your first vehicle, we do recommend researching tax bands before buying a car as some tax groups may cost you £30, others may cost you £300 per year. Similar to insurance, road tax can be paid on a monthly or an annual basis.

Vehicle MOT

If you’ve found a car that you like at Parkland Motors, we’ll be more than happy for you to have a test drive to really make the best decision on whether the car is the right fit for you. As our cars come with a minimum of 8 months MOT, you can be reassured that our cars are roadworthy and won’t cause you any hassle or stress.

However, if you have found a car elsewhere, you should ideally make sure the car has a valid MOT so that you’ll be able to test drive it. It’s also worth noting that as your MOT will be due every year (unless your car is less than three years old), this will be another expense to pay for, so we recommend shopping for a car with a minimum of six months MOT to prevent you from paying for any costly repairs soon after you buy it.

To make your life a little easier when shopping for cars, we do advise using the Government MOT History checker which shows you the MOT history of any car valid in the UK, including any advisories and the mileage recorded at every annual MOT.

Choose Your First Car With Parkland Motors

Looking at buying your first car? Well, you’ve come to the perfect place. We stock an impressive range of used cars to suit all styles, lifestyles and budgets. If you’re still not sure about which makes suits you, then you’ll be pleased to know that we have over 300 used cars in stock at any time, and full dealership facilities.


We are more than happy to talk you through your first car requirements and help you find the best car to suit you. Contact us today for more information on our cars and services.