If you’ve got a brand new driving licence under your belt and you’re scouting around for your first ever new car, the range of options may seem bewildering.
Your first thought may be to look for a first car combining supercar glamour and performance, SUV space and practicality, and city car insurance ratings. It probably shouldn’t take you long to realise that’s the one option that doesn’t exist!
But have no fear, as a new driver you may be limited to some of the less exciting first car choices, but that’s not to say you can’t have a car that’s great fun to own and drive.
For most first car buyers, the priorities are cars that cost as little as possible to run – whether that be purchase price, servicing and repairs, fuel economy and insurance. Frankly, even if the other costs are manageable across a wider range of cars, the crippling price of insurance will put most new drivers off anything but the smallest-engined cars.
So cars with the lowest insurance group ratings are a great place to start your search, with the added advantage that they’re are often cheap to buy and economical as well, thanks to their small-capacity engines and light weight.
If you're buying a new car you can sometimes grab a cheap or free insurance deal, although do check the age restrictions. These deals allow new drivers to build up 12 months’ no claims discount, which will really help for the next year when you have to pay up.
For parents buying a first car for their children, having something very safe is likely to be a top priority. Have a look at the Euro NCAP crash test results of the car you're interested in to see how it compares to its rivals - and chck that stability control is included, as it's sometimes optional on cheaper cars. Bear in mind that all modern cars have a high standard of safety, though.
Boot space isn't likely to be needed too often, so a small three-door is going to be a solid choice most of the time. These little cars are fun to drive and look good too, so there's bound to be one you like.
Diesels may have attractive mpg figures, but be aware that they can be unreliable if they aren't driven long distances regualrly: for trips around town and to the shops, petrol is the better option. The latest petrols have great running costs and some are even free to tax.
Tight turning circles, responsive steering and good visibility make them easy to drive, which is useful when you've not got much experience with driving. You could also stick with the car you learned in, as it'll be easy to get used to.
Whatever you go for as your first car, most young drivers will demand a decent stereo, and some way to connect their phone. Other convenient features are handy - and of course, there are plenty who wouldn't be seen dead in a car that isn't stylish.
Everything you need to know about learning to drive, getting your driving licence and choosing your first car...