Do you believe in love at first sight?


The first task is to identify what kind of car you want. With 1 in 5 drivers regretting buying their car within minutes of signing on the dotted line, it’s important to choose the right one for you. Be honest with yourself and make sure you are realistically operating within your budget. Take into account servicing costs, fuel bills, insurance, road tax and any other easily forgotten expenses like parking. Your final balance available may not be as big as you at first thought. Modern ‘supermini’ cars like the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa could offer the space you need with the added benefit of low fuel bills, zero road tax and cheaper insurance.

In addition to whether you can afford it, think about practicalities. Where will it be parked most of the time, do you need something that’s a bit smaller for those tight city parking spaces? Is your first car a family car – think boot space, number of doors and safety features. Are you into the latest gadgets? Don’t be fooled by paying for fancy extras that you won’t use. Remember, most new cars come with Bluetooth as standard and smart phone navigations are just as good as built-in Sat Navs.

Tips and Tricks

Do your homework. Turn that guy in the shiny suit from a car salesman into a mere facilitator. You’re in charge! Take it for a test drive. Make sure you understand the controls and choose a varied driving route. Compare the car with a competitor, never buy directly after taking your test drive and don’t feel obliged to buy the car. Once again, you’re the boss. Think carefully about colour. Garish yellows and pinks can be difficult to sell on, opt for something subtle and timeless that won’t affect the resale value.

Where To Buy

Most first-time buyers will look no further than their local franchised dealer, and if you want a low-hassle, safe way of buying a car, larger dealers normally have the best finance options and largest choice of cars. However, you may well find other avenues that can offer savings. If you’re looking for huge choice, visit s1cars. com, where you can search from large and independent dealers plus private sellers so that you can choose from thousands of deals local to you. Contact multiple sellers from the comfort of your own home, finding the right car for you before you venture out for a test drive.


This is a biggie. If you’re young and have recently passed your driving test, you can be seen as high risk in the eyes of insurance providers. You can opt to piggyback onto a parent’s policy as a named driver but many insurance providers are wise to this and will not only ramp up the price of your parent’s policy but you’ll also run the risk of ruining their no claims bonus if you have a prang. The flipside of this is that you will be missing out on building a no-claims discount of your own, so the best thing to do is accept that it may be a few years before you can own something with a high insurance rating and plump for something modest. The best option when it comes to insurance is to shop around. Use online comparison sites to your advantage, taking the time and hassle out of contacting multiple providers. The amount you pay can vary depending on what cover you opt for, fully comprehensive insurance would obviously be the ideal cover, but you might not be able to stretch to that initially. If you can afford it however, it could be well worth paying out the extra, which would give you cover for damage to your car and to any other involved in an accident, whether you were at fault or not. Get as many quotes as you can – as different companies may well vary wildly in how much they charge. Use one company’s quote to beat another down in price. You’ll often be asked what the best quote you’ve received is. Again, sometimes a little creativity can work wonders! Remember, get the best cover you can afford, insurance is expensive only until you need it. ‘Pass Plus’ is a post-driving test instruction course backed by the Driving Standard Agency designed to help young drivers cope with the reality of driving in all conditions. There’s no examination, but if the instructor is satisfied that you’ve cottoned on, you’ll be issued with a certificate that can reduce your payments. Also look out for providers that offer Telematics or ‘Black box’ insurance that uses data from how you drive to lower the cost of your insurance.


This can be a minefield, simply getting your head around the different type of finance agreements available. You’ll need to understand the difference between good credit and bad credit and realise that not having a pile of cash up front rarely diminishes your bargaining power. The important thing is to take time to consider your options, however keen you might be to get behind the wheel. It might sound obvious but be clear about exactly how much you can afford. Work out your monthly outgoings – miss nothing out – and subtract the total from your monthly income. Leave a small surplus to cover any extras – loan protection insurance and documentation fees for example. If buying outright with cash isn’t an option, there are many ways to finance a car, from bank loans, credit cards and leasing. If you opt for a finance agreement, remember there’s the period of time to decide for repayment. Obviously, the longer you take to repay, the more interest you’ll end up having to cover; be clear about what you’re taking on and opt for the shortest repayment period you can manage. Now it’s a case of deciding which of the many means of financing is right for you – and be under no illusions; there are many, often embellished with fancy marketing names. Make finance work to your advantage – and don’t assume that you necessarily need to own the car. Usage is what matters – and the easiest, most flexible and cheapest way to achieve it is what you’re looking for. Knowledge is key, do as much research as possible, talk to friends and family, but most of all, make the right choice for you. And most importantly, have fun!

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