How to buy your first car: choosing a car

Passing your driving test is a great achievement. Here’s how to build on that success by buying a safe, reliable car without breaking the bank...

How to buy your first car – choosing a car

How do I choose a safe first car?

The newer the car, the more likely it is to have the latest safety kit. Any recent model should have anti-lock brakes and front and side airbags. Look for a car with electronic stability control, which helps to avoid an accident in the first place; it’s been compulsory on new cars since 2014. Most new cars will have been assessed by the safety experts at Euro NCAP, so check out our round-up of the safest new cars on sale before you buy. 

Mini Countryman long-term test car driving interior

Any car can be unsafe in the hands of an unsafe driver, however, so it’s worth considering post-test training. IAM RoadSmart's Advanced Driver Course is the only one accredited by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, while the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents also offers an advanced driving course. Both are available nationwide and can result in insurance discounts for drivers who successfully complete the course.

How do I choose a reliable first car?

The What Car? Reliability Survey is a great place to start. It rates the durability of 169 models spanning 32 brands, with those that suffer from the fewest faults and are the cheapest to repair rewarded with the highest scores.

So, which car should I buy?

Small cars are generally the cheapest to buy and run, and with small engines and low repair costs they should have the lowest insurance groups, and that makes them appealing as first cars. So check out our round-up of the best small cars you can buy. 

< Previous | Next: Click here to see our full list of best small cars >

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