We all remember the excitement of passing our driving test. Whether it was yesterday or 30 years ago, the sense of relief and freedom you earned after weeks, months, or even years of lessons finally paid off.
And nothing compared to the feeling of getting behind the wheel of your very first car. Wanting to impress your friends, but also being conscious of the costs for first-time drivers.
As you grow, the role of your vehicle grows with you. What would have been your dream first car may not be practical later on in life. So how do you choose the best vehicle for you?
Whether you are buying brand-new from a dealership or second-hand off the street, here are some things to consider.
Keeping a car on the road is not cheap. Factoring in tax, insurance, fuel, and general upkeep can set you back a lot of money. Work out what you can afford before setting a budget on the purchase price.
Even after buying your new car, there are still things you can do to keep costs down.
Fit For Purpose?
It is no good buying your dream car, if your lifestyle, work habits, or family commitments make it impractical and more of a burden.
Before purchasing a car, think about what you need your new vehicle to do for you.
Where You Live
Look at your surroundings before choosing your new car. Bigger cities such as London, Glasgow, and Manchester have low emission zones that could see you paying around £12.50 a day if your car does not meet the emission standard.
Rural locations have a lot of dirt tracks and country lanes that could benefit from 4x4 or off-road capabilities.
Taking a proper look at where you intend to drive your car will dictate the options you have when starting your search.
Family And Friends
Who is going to be sitting in the car next to you while you drive?
Individual drivers or couples that rarely have passengers can take advantage of the smaller, compact cars.
If you have - or are planning for - a family, the number of seats and doors has to be a factor in your decision-making process. Having two doors instead of five can make things like installing car seats difficult and impractical.
Do you carpool, or have passengers on a regular basis? Thinking ahead at the logistical practicality can save you time and money in the long run.
What is this car going to be used for in your free time?
If you find yourself spending the majority of your time socialising in city centres or built-up areas, finding a car that is easy to park, creates low emissions, and has a good alarm system is a really good idea.
For those of you that like the more rural pastimes such as camping, for example, look for cars that can fit everything in, whilst also being comfortable going off-road. Do you need to tow a caravan, attach a bike rack, or roof box?
Keeping Up Appearances
Not everyone needs to worry about what their vehicle says about them, but in some cases, the vehicle you arrive in needs to make that vital first impression.
An estate agent meeting a client for a multi-million-pound townhouse, for example, won't want to arrive in a beaten up people carrier.
So looks may not be everything, but what do you need your car to say about you?
Pay attention to your shopping habits.
If you like to shop daily or get your shopping delivered, you are unlikely to need much room in terms of storage space. If however, you tend to shop for the week or longer, then having a large, easily accessible boot is essential.
Do you have, or are intending to get a pet that needs the use of your boot? Before purchasing a car, ask to see the space available and make sure that it fits your needs.
We are living in a time where climate change and ecological awareness are at the forefront of most people's minds.
Researching the best option for your individual circumstances is always a good idea. Regular motorway journeys may be better with a diesel car, whereas shorter, everyday journeys would do better with petrol. Or maybe you should consider an electric car as a more eco-friendly option.
Let's face it - perks shouldn't factor in at all, but we are all a sucker for a built-in satnav, reversing sensors, or an automatic cup holder!
It's important to be honest with yourself about what you want in a vehicle, but also not to get distracted by the added perks, if the basics are not fit for purpose.
Whilst looking at options for your new car, you should also make sure you factor in regular upkeep costs. Leaving a car until it needs a service could prove to be costly, so look at regular ways you can keep your car road safe.
So you have looked at all the above, and managed to find your perfect car. Now what?
Before purchasing anything, make sure you take it for a test drive and run some basic checks. If you aren’t sure what to look for, then take someone with you and be thorough!