When you’ve gone to all the trouble of passing your driving test, you want to get behind the wheel of your own car as soon as possible. But this can quickly become quite expensive, as young drivers insurance premiums are generally higher, for instance. However, there are several cars that are more likely to fall within your new driver’s budget, even if you are aged under 25.
The Micra is perennially popular as it is great for commuters, being relatively small and easy to park. Its average fuel consumption is around 50 miles per gallon and, being in vehicle tax band E, costs £140 per year to tax. As it falls into insurance band seven, it costs less to insure than many other cars. With a reputation for reliability, it would make a great first car as the repair costs would be likely to remain low.
Another car which features in the top ten drivers’ choice lists on a yearly basis, the Fiesta falls into the same vehicle tax and insurance bands as the Micra and has almost the same level of fuel consumption, at around 45 miles per gallon. Replacement parts are easy to come by, if a repair should become necessary, which means that its upkeep costs are likely to be affordable.
The Clio has recently undergone a facelift, but older vehicles are still in plentiful supply due to the hardiness of the car. With similar performance specifications to the Micra and the Fiesta, the Clio is also in insurance band seven and is likely to do somewhere in the region of 45 miles per gallon. As there are many models containing diesel engines, this offers the potential for extra savings as they are often found to be more fuel-efficient than vehicles with petrol engines. The vehicle tax band is E, which means that taxing one will cost £125 per year. With regular servicing, a Clio could easily see you right through university and well beyond.
Whilst there is very little difference in performance between this and its little sister, the 106, the 206 has better equipment as standard, including electric windows and air-conditioning. It runs at approximately the same level of fuel efficiency as the previous cars – somewhere around 45 miles per gallon – and is in the same insurance band. Like the Clio, the vehicle tax will cost £125 for this band E car. The 206 is available in different body shapes, including hatchback, which is the most popular, and convertible, which would certainly add to the overall cost in terms of initial purchase price and insurance fees.
Undoubtedly, the most economical of the five vehicles is the Punto. Not only does it give a greater level of fuel economy, at approximately 67 miles per gallon, but it is in vehicle tax band A, which costs nothing. As the Punto is in band 11, insurance costs could be far below that of a band seven vehicle or higher. Although not considered to be fashionable, the Punto has a kind of ‘indie’ charm and while rust was a problem on older, pre-2003 models, newer models have galvanised bodies which means that rust is no more of an issue for the Punto than for any other reasonably-priced car.
It’s almost certainly the case that you will have to stick to a strict budget when choosing your first car. Even so, it should be enjoyable to drive, economical to run and reliable; all five of these cars fit that bill.