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So you finally pass your test and it's time to bin those L-Plates. Now to shop for that first set of wheels....

So if it’s your first time buying a car, it's important to invest in a car which won't need endless days in the car garage rolling up huge bills.

When choosing why not consider diesel, they are cheap to run, also you might consider a hatchback this gives you lots of space  for luggage etc.

False Economy?

Only the fortunate few will have a lot of cash to splash on a first car. So most will be shopping at the more 'value end' of the market. However it’s still quite easy to pick up a new set of wheels for a around £1000 or less.

Remember that although older cars are cheaper on paper, it might be worth spending a bit more as older cars can often cost more to tax and fuel compared to newer more energy efficient cars.  Although a decent first car could be had for £1,000, spending £2,500 for your first car will get you a car with potentially more reliability and economy


Finding one with an MOT and a good set of tyres is a real bonus. Also buying one with a slightly higher mileage that's had an expensive cam belt changed could work out cheaper than buying another with a few thousand miles less on the clock.

Take a good look at the history...

The most important thing to do when buying a used car is to look into the cars history. Firstly check out the service history, this can shed real light on anything suspicious. Look for service stamps and even better, see receipts and invoices for work done.

Keep an eye on the mileage, if the mileage drops between services or MOTS then the car almost certainly has been tampered with (clocked). Remember sometimes unscrupulous sellers cars might have once been write offs or have been stolen, so it's essential to ensure that you check the information about  the cars your buying and the information in the log book. Check the colour, registration and VIN (Vehicle Identification Numbers) all match up. VINs shouldn't be replaced or altered in any way.

Insurance stuff...

It's probably better to go for something with a rather modest engine - the more powerful the car the more it will cost to insure because the insurers consider it a 'higher risk'. Hot hatches are very tempting but there's likely to cost a real fortune to run for new drivers.

Also, keep clear of cars which have been heavily modified, as insurers will usually hike up the price of a policy if the car's been modified. Before you part with your money get an insurance quote as you may need to re-look at other cars if the price quoted is too high.

It's now decision time!

This is down to personal preference and the condition of the individual car you're looking to buy . There are plenty of great cars out there so don't go for the first one you see, remember it's a buyer’s market!


With this in mind here are five cars that could be a great first set of wheels...

Ford KA, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Polo, Citroen C2 and Kia Picanto.

Intuition Driving School are here to provide you with the best help and advice on every aspect of driving. For further information please call 01782 561 782 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..