Choosing your first car is a momentous event, signifying a newfound freedom and independence – and one of the first major investments you make in yourself as an adult. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, by any means – but if you don’t know much about cars to begin with, you might not know where to start! Here are some simple tips to help you choose the right first car for your needs.
Your first decision is to choose the model of car to use. The car model you should choose depends a lot on the needs you have for your first car. Are you a freshman looking for a car to navigate your new city, or do you need a serious commuter car for long distance driving? In the former scenario, you’re probably better off with a compact hatchback for efficient, agile driving; in the latter case, a sedan with a heavier engine may be more economical.
Gasoline, Diesel or Electric?
The next stage in your decision-making relates to the type of engine or motor included in your choice of car. There are three main options on the market today: petrol, diesel or electric. Gasoline cars are more efficient at lower speeds, better suited for short distances and city driving. Diesel cars are more efficient at higher speeds, and better served on the highway or A-road. Electric vehicles are relatively new to the market but give existing fuel drunks a run for their money – at the expense of slightly more difficult fuel.
Your first car costs a lot more than it was sold for. You also have to factor in fuel and maintenance costs. Gasoline and diesel have recently started to drop in price, after experiencing supply shortages due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This instability could foreshadow future problems with fuel affordability, where getting an electric car could save a significant amount on fuel costs. However, while electric cars require less maintenance, they can be more expensive to repair if they break down.
Tax and Insurance
In addition to fuel and maintenance, you also have to deal with costs related to road tax and auto insurance. Road taxes have changed little over the years, and currently exist as a form of emissions tax; if you choose a fully electric vehicle, your road tax liability is reduced to zero due to your zero emissions status.
Insurance, however, is a different matter. Insurance costs vary based on a variety of factors, including driving experience and the value and reliability of the car you choose. With this as your first car, you may not pass your driver’s test – in that case, temporary insurance may cover you for a practice session with a chaperone before your final test. After getting this temporary insurance, you can take the time to research providers for the best long-term deal as an experienced driver.