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Ideal first car for 17 year old in 2022


Dommo
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My son is 17 and despite the DVLA's most lethargic efforts, has a provisional driving licence in his hand. Thus, at some point in the future, will also need a set of car keys, because there's no way he's driving any of mine.

 

Current thought process is to get a policy off early, so he's building up no-claims whilst he's still learning. I'm interested in those with recent experience of this - as in what is a suitable first car nowadays?

 

My initial thoughts are to spend a bit and get something modern, with modern safety features such as collision detection as this would make it cheaper to insure. However, any reduction in insurance would probably easily be covered by paying more for the car in the first place.

 

At the other end of the scale, if the car is cheap, it still has to be safe. When he inevitably wraps it round a tree, I want it to be safe enough and slow enough that he walks away with only cuts, bruises and a massive amount of shame.

 

Currently on my shortlist I've got:

  • Last gen Renault Twingo - these seem to be low insurance group and relatively uncommon
  • VW Up! (and siblings)
  • To a lesser degree, Toyota Aygo and siblings (see caveats at the end)
  • VW Polo and siblings, ~2010 onwards
  • Toyota Yaris ~2013 onwards

 

I've been told it mustn't look like a pea (which is weird, because that would imply he gets a choice if I'm buying), and I have an irrational hatred of Vauxhall Corsa's ever since I had one as a hire car, so I'm vetoing perhaps the most popular choice!

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First thing I will say is, make sure your son knows that no-one cares about what car you have, just that you have a car.

As I am 22, I've had a lot of experience being in cars similar to what you are looking for, so from this I can say that the VW Up! and the newer Toyota Aygo and siblings are both good choices.

The Up is deceptively big on the inside, but at the cost of boot space. They're surprisingly nippy little things as well, a couple of friends have had them, and they have all had good experiences with them. I have a friend who is 6'5 and the Up was his first car, and recently has been considering buying an Up GTI as a little run-about as he uses motorbikes more often now, so size isn't really an issue in the Up.

The Aygo is a bit bigger, but the rear seats have less leg room than you'd expect (Although, I have quite a few very tall friends, and I tend to end up in the back, despite being 6', and my friends tend to have the seat pulled back a bit) if that is something that he'll worry about. The boot is an okay size, larger than the Up's, but not anything to write home about. 

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1 hour ago, Dommo said:

VW Up! (and siblings)


From the Oops! storybook: VW decided to do a range of UP! models in basic colours and name that accordingly, ie, Red UP!, Blue UP!, White UP!, etc. until someone pointed out to them that it might not be appropriate to name a car “Black UP!”

 

Budget please?

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Thanks Alex, good info comparing those two breeds of car :yes:

 

Cap'n - budget would ordinarily be 0-8k, with the idea being the higher up the budget you go, the more it has to offer in terms of safety or features/quality. To be fair, I'd probably not be averse to slapping down a PCP deal at a dealership if it was in the realms of man maths! I suspect the days of "free insurance" deals are long gone though, particularly for under 18s/21s

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It’s just that £3k will buy a good Ford Focus with a smaller engine, low tax, low insurance group and easy to maintain that he can write off with torching your bank account, and it will have ABS, airbags, etc, very safe car.  A Honda Jazz is not quite as fun to drive but bulletproof build quality.

 

We all have to start somewhere.  I had a 20 year old Ford Battletank with 4/60 a/c (four windows down, 60 mph), a 6 cylinder asthma simulator and Armstrong unassisted steering - my father was more worried about the other cars I’d hit.  He was right, too - but I was never injured.  Had arms like Popeye - but never injured.

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Our oldest grandson will be 17 next month, and is very keen to start driving (which is good!).  None of the cars in the family are suitable for him to learn on, so Grandma and I have said we will buy him a car.  His initial want was an Audi A1, but we've managed to persuade him that a non-premium brand will be OK.  He has said a Fiesta will suit, and there seem to be plenty about 10 years old with the 1.25 engine.

 

A-Plan were very helpful for insurance - their Oxford branch is the one that specialises in young drivers.  they said anything up to 1.4 litres would not be too expensive.

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My son (now 22) started of with an R53 Mini Cooper S and just under £1700 for a years insurance (without blackbox).  The year after that dropped to £1050 and the year after that to £850. He bought the car for £2500 and sold it 3 years later for £2500.

 

He's now in a 987 Boxster S and at £900 for insurance.

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I didn't get my license until I was 20, and didn't get a car until I was 21. First car was a 15 plate 1.2 Corsa, first year was just over £1000, and second year dropped down to just over £600.

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Unless you have deep pockets, get something cheap, slow and safe....

 

My 2 eldest had cheap £1k shopping trolleys, slow as a glacier on a frosty morning and pretty much disposable when they inevitably broke or bent them (which they often did 😂).

 

Getting a phone call to come and tow a car home has happened more than once...

 

One time I arrived to find chunks of gearbox casing, cogs and teeth liberally sprinkled down the road following a full send, 3rd to 2nd, "money shift" 😂.

 

Another, it was to tow a little Fiat out of a ploughed field... after the usual "diesel on the road" excuses, it transpired he was attempting to beat his speed record round a particular bend and discovered lift off oversteer 😂

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Toyota Hilux 4 cab. Insure it third party so he still can build up no claims without the crazy cost.

 

also mean you have a vehicle for oiking crap about in

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My children had Citroen C2 and Pug 107, son loved the C2 and daughter the 107, as cars the 107 was very good, reliable, economical, cheap (that’s a comparative term as non are cheap) to insure, easy to drive, remarkably ok to use con motorways and I guess due to the former retained its value well.

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Try to look outside the obvious ones. Sometimes a bigger more family targeted car will be a lot cheaper to buy and insure. Get lots of quotes before buying anything.

 

Also sometimes the older cars are more expensive to insure than newer ones.

 

A 5 door Yaris would fit the bill as all the others on your list are young persons choice

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I'll be honest I have had nearly 40 years of pretty good service from Vauxhall with some huge succeses with Isuzu brands.

I bought a 1.2 Corsa for my daughter to learn with and it never missed a beat being cheap to run and insure however I bought new with a purchase incentive scheme. We had other Corsa's with the 3 cylinder Isuzu engine which was my wifes favourite. VW's have not been to good for me as service costs spoilt things, but I don't think you can beat Ford for basic motoring

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NOT a Fiesta! One of the most stolen cars in the UK last time I looked, so gets a loading for risk...

 

What about a Suzuki Swift?

And the Focus was mentioned. I'm a BIG fan of the Focus having had one for over a decade.

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