A guide to choosing your first car
Buying your first car is an important rite of passage and finally getting your own transport can be one of the most exciting and liberating things you'll ever do! However, with all the choice of vehicles and different things you need to consider, it can easily become stressful. So what do you need to bear in mind when picking a car? We've summarised the most important things to look for with your first set of wheels.
Decide your budget...
When choosing a car the first thing you need to work out is the size of your budget. Look at what you could put down as an initial payment and then the amount you could afford to pay each month. The great thing about leasing is all your costs are clear, you know exactly what you have to pay up front, each month and then there is no payment to make at the end your contract, you simply hand the car back. Aside from the direct costs of your lease there are other things to consider too though:
Young drivers tend to have to pay more for their insurance so it's important to research a car's insurance group. Each vehicle has a rating from 1 (cheapest to insure) to 50 (most expensive) based on things like its value, performance and safety features. When browsing cars on our website you can see the group under the ticked badge logo.
Factor in fuel
It probably goes without saying that one of the main expenses you need to factor in is fuel. Of course prices can fluctuate throughout the term of your contract but the biggest impact on what you spend will be how economical the vehicle is, you can get an idea of this by looking at the Miles Per Gallon (MPG) figure under the petrol pump logo, more miles means less pennies and pounds at pump.
Every car on the road is placed in to one of 13 bands based on its emissions and this rating dictates what Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is applicable. From April 1st 2017 the system is set to change slightly but in general, lower emission vehicles will pay less. Don't forget with a lease the cost of VED is built in to the overall charge, so that's one less thing to worry about when choosing your new car.
The Fun Bit...
Enough about insurance, emissions and economy - choosing a car is supposed to be fun too! Leasing a new car can make the most recently released vehicles much more affordable and that means you can take advantage of the latest features as they hit the market.
If you're the sort of person that loves to have the newest gadget before everyone else, be sure to look carefully at the options on your new vehicle. You'll probably have noticed many modern cars now come 'connected'. That means you can access features from your smartphone - such as apps, maps and music - through your car stereo and infotainment screen. As with all technology these days things can feel dated very quickly indeed, and that's where a lease can come in to its own, at the end of your contract you can get something brand new again.
Ten years ago Fiat's relaunch of the 500 reminded everyone that little cars aren't all about being functional and can definitely be desirable too. The iconic little Italian motor has proved a big hit and shown there's no need to compromise style-wise whatever kind of car you're looking for. More recently vehicle personalisation is becoming much more popular, with all the options available these days it's much easier to stand out from the crowd! With regular upgrades every 2-4 years, leasing a car is a great way to make sure you're always driving the latest vehicle.
It's an unfortunate fact but newer drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident than experienced road users. Bearing that in mind, it makes sense for your first car to be as safe as possible.
Be sure to look at a vehicle's Euro NCAP rating, as well noting any features you think you might find useful. Safety technology is developing all the time and the newest vehicles have tools that could help you avoid a collision, or simply just make parking that little bit easier.
There's nothing quite as frustrating as breaking down. Whether you're on your way to an important meeting, or just heading out for the day, being let down by your vehicle can be very annoying - not to mention expensive. It's a good idea to do some research in to how reliable different models have proved to be in real life situations. If you'd like the peace of mind offered by a vehicle warranty and an optional maintenance contract then leasing could be the answer. Of course you're less likely to experience issues with a new car but if any problems arise it's likely they'll be covered by the vehicle's warranty anyway. With a maintenance contract you'll have pretty much everything taken car of from tyres to servicing and electrical repairs.