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Top Tips for Finding your First Car

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There’s nothing quite as exciting as buying your first car but with so many on the market, choosing the right one can be tricky and confusing. To help you work out what’s right for you, comparison site mustard.co.uk share their top tips for finding your first car, as well as how to get the best cheap car insurance in the UK.

Think about what you need

First things first. You need to work out what you need in a car. Think about the journeys you make, the number of miles you’re likely to cover and how much space you need.

All of this will help give you an idea of what’s going to work for you. If you cover lots of miles everyday, fuel consumption is going to be hugely important. Similarly, if you frequently drive on the motorway, you’ll need a car that’s comfortable and can keep up with traffic safely. Plus, if you use your car to lug equipment around, you’ll want something with enough boot space to do that.

Work out your budget

If you want more for your money, take a look at the used-car market as there are usually bargains to be had. But it’s not just the cost of the car you need to think about. You’ll also need to factor in car tax, officially called Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

Currently, VED is £165 for petrol and diesel cars. The good news is that if you buy an emission-free car, you won’t need to pay car tax. But if you’re lucky enough that money’s no object and your car has a list price of £40,000 or more, you’ll also need to pay an extra £355 VED for the first five years of the car’s life.

On top of VED, you’ll also have to factor in servicing and maintenance. Some car dealerships offer prepaid plans which can help you budget. Otherwise, expect to pay around £160 for a service.

Cars over three years old also need to have an MOT every year to make sure they’re roadworthy. MOT costs are capped so at the moment, it’s £54.85 for a car.

Choose a car in a low insurance group

All cars belong to one of 50 insurance groups. The lower the group number, the cheaper the car is to insure so if you need to stick to a budget, double check what this is. Bear in mind that while models broadly fall into groups, they can also vary according to the car’s specification. For example, a Fiesta can be in group four but also in group 13 depending on its features.

To give you an idea of what other first-time car buyers are looking at, here are the top five cars that are also in low insurance groups, according to Parkers.co.uk:

Renault Clio (insurance group four) — the number one first car for new drivers for the third year running. Not only is it practical to drive and has lots of safety equipment, it looks great too.

Volkswagen Up (insurance group one)— small and neat, the VW Up is perfect for winding your way through towns and cities. It’s not the most powerful car on the road but for urban drivers, it’s a sound, practical choice.

Kia Picanto (insurance group four) — another small city car but sportier if the VW Up is just a bit too utilitarian for you. Higher spec models offer a good balance between being nippy enough for town but powerful enough for the motorway. However, remember that a higher spec will also mean a higher insurance group.

Ford Fiesta (insurance group four) — like the Renault Clio, the Fiesta is a classic first car, and for good reason. It’s practical and comes with lots of features as standard, so you won’t miss out on any gadgets. Low running costs are another bonus.

Fiat 500 (insurance group five) — if you’re looking for style, the Fiat 500 is likely to be top of your list. It’s cute and quirky but it can end up pricy if you want to make it your own and add extra features.

Compare cheap car insurance in the UK

Car insurance will be the greatest ongoing cost you’ll face, especially as a young and inexperienced driver. Under 25s pay significantly more for cover compared to other age groups because statistically they’re more likely to be involved in an accident.

So, to make sure you get the cover you need without cutting corners on protection, here’s what you can do:

  • Pay for your policy in one go to avoid interest fees.
  • Add a more experienced named driver.
  • Keep your car as secure as possible.
  • Consider a telematics insurance policy which adjusts premiums based on your driving.
  • Avoid cars with modifications as this can increase what you pay.

Also, remember to shop around at sites like mustard.co.uk, where you can compare policies from a range of leading UK insurers.

 

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