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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Your First Car

Buying your first car can be a daunting task, especially if you’re inexperienced in the new car buying process.

There a lot of decisions to be made along the way, none of which should be taken lightly. From the colour to the engine size, your first car is always one you’ll remember, so if you can, make sure it’s one you look back on fondly.

Luckily for you, you’re not alone in this journey, in this guide you will learn about:

Best cars for new drivers

Best first car deals

Why fuel efficiency is important

Considering resale value

Insurance for first time drivers

Questions to ask when buying a car

Best cars for new drivers

Finding your best first car isn’t easy; it requires time, research and an eager eye, but what makes for the ideal first car?

  • Design/Style
  • Budget/Price
  • Availability
  • Practicality

Traditionally, the Renault Clio has been dubbed as the perfect first car for young drivers, ticking all the boxes.

Whether you choose a new or used Clio, you can be sure that the insurance won’t be extortionate, it is compact enough to execute your perfectly practiced maneuvers all the while maintaining a stylish design.

With hands free parking, an innovative touch screen MediaNav tablet, the Clio is equipped with the latest technology. And with style, comes substance; the Clio also offers low Road Tax at £110 and an abundance of safety and security features including ESC (Electronic Stability Control), ETC (Electronic Traction Control) and TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitor System).

Best first car deals

When purchasing your first car, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and find cars that may be perfect for you, but are outside your price range.

Model Price Monthly Cost
Renault Clio £8,550 £136
Renault Twingo £10,255 £149
Renault Captur £14,945 £179
Renault Kadjar £19,145
Renault Megane £17,250 £219
Renault Scenic £21,445 £269
Renault Twizy £6,995
Renault Zoe £13,995


Thanks to finance options, first time buyers are exposed to a wider market, allowing them to drive cars like the new Renault Megane without the immediate wallet dent.

The most affordable first cars will be through finance and its growing popularity amongst young drivers is more than justified.

Why fuel efficiency is important

When you get your first car, there is a novelty period. Within this period you become the most generous driver on the road, offering lifts to everyone and their auntie.

However, after this ends (usually about 1-2 weeks) you begin to realise the true costs behind running a car, none more than fuel.

Whether you drive a petrol or a diesel, fuel prices are the one cost you cannot avoid, essential to the day to day running.

MPG (Miles Per Gallon) is a measure of how efficient your car is with fuel and ultimately a measure of how little or often you’ll be visiting petrol stations.

With a combined MPG of 88.3, the Renault Clio has good mileage for a first car. If you want to opt for a slightly larger first car then the Renault Scenic has a combined MPG of 72.4.

Going electric

Now it might not be at the forefront of your mind when buying your first car, but electric cars eliminate the cost of fuel altogether.

Since Feb 2016, there has been a 102% increase in electric car sales and a combined 108% rise in hybrid vehicles.

The Renault Zoe is not only electric but also boasts style, innovation and affordability. Ranging from 120-190 miles you can enjoy a fuel-free, comfy journey in this 5 seater, subcompact car.

Renault Zoe

Considering resale value

It’s a well known fact that as soon as you drive a car off the forecourt that you can lose about 10%-40% of its value.

While depreciation is natural, there are precautions you can take to limit this and keep the resale value of your car at a maximum.

  • Choose a car with good fuel efficiency
  • Keep mileage down
  • Keep the car in good condition
  • Maintain a consistent service history
  • Regularly check and change oil

Insurance for first time drivers

Put simply, without insurance, you legally will not be able to drive and unfortunately, for young, first time drivers insurance premiums tend to be quite high.

This is measured by your lack of experience on the road and the likelihood of any scrapes or bumps.

Despite this, there are various things that you can do and consider to ensure you get the right cover for you without breaking the bank.

  • Use comparison websites to seek the best deal, every insurance provider will be keen to have the best price possible when visible against competitors.
  • Telematics or as they’re more commonly labelled, black boxes, are a great way for you to bring down your insurance. Although you have to be sure to drive safely and within the limits.
  • Add an older, more experienced driver on your own insurance, thus bringing the prices down.
  • Reel in the dreams of driving a sports car for now and choose a reasonable car which will have reasonable insurance prices.

For more information on how to get the most from your first car insurance, check out this useful video from MoneySuperMarket.

Questions to ask when buying a car

Now you know the ins and outs of buying your first car, it’s now time to prepare for the purchase.

Whether you buy from a trusted dealer like Renault Retail or privately, there are several questions that you should ask, at least then you will have all the facts before making the purchase. Here are our top five questions to ask when buying a car:

  1. Does the car have a full service history? If so, can I see it?
  2. Has this car been in a crash previously?
  3. Am I allowed to take the car for a test drive?
  4. Does the car have a warranty?
  5. Are you okay for me to check the exterior, interior and under the bonnet for any discrepancies?

Of course these questions are dependent on whether you buy privately or not and whether you opt for a new or used car. However, all of the above questions will help you make an educated and informed decision.

Now it’s up to you, and make sure to reference this guide if you ever need some help along the way. Alternatively, why not visit one of our local dealerships and speak to a specialist who will be happy to help. Find your dealer and make an enquiry today.