Bargain of the Week – My First Car

Happy 2011. Yep, we’re back with another series of Bargain of the Week. OK, so I’ve had January off, but this particular edition is a personal one and something many parents dread. Our soon to be seventeen year old is getting her very first car and my other half is already snapping with worry. This is also the year where I’m (celebrating?) eighteen years in the motor trade. Whether my career deserves a celebration is questionable, but at least I’ve made it.

I’ve come in handy for my other half before (yes, I am useful when she wants me to be) when I had to find her last two cars, and now she’s asked me to find our daughter a car, albeit hanging over my shoulder asking “is it safe”. In the past I’ve never seen a teenager’s first car as “safe” but more “cheap”. The cheaper the better as far as I was concerned, but this little exercise is slightly different. Out goes the natural lean towards cheap rubbish and the search is on for a good in-betweener. Do I go for the typical Ford KA, or something different? To be honest I’m not too sure.

And not just that, this time around rather than pick a bargain from the classifieds, write about it and move onto the next, I’ve got to search for real. Talk about pressure. I hate to admit it, but I’ve forgotten just how difficult buying a first car is. First up there’s the insurance. Then there’s the budget (or should that go the other way around?) Most parents scrimp and save to buy their offspring’s first car, so how much do you spend to be guaranteed something somewhat reliable? We’ve chosen up to £1,500 but might have to balance that out for insurance (upwards of a grand!). Trouble is now she knows she’s getting a car, there’s been a lot of “oooh, I like that one!”

We hate to let her down but having prized her away from her i-Phone we’ve sat her down in front of her Apple Mac (yes, I know, but kids want everything these days) and shown her the delights of internet used car lots. I knew it would be a bad idea as all my other half keeps asking is; “does it have an airbag” and “is it safe enough”, or, “what about a new Ford”. All these requests have an effect as to what we can buy, and every time I see a nice little runner it’s blown out of the water by a certain persons unreasonable particulars (come on guys, you can sympathise with me?).

Over the last few weeks I’ve narrowed it down to a few suggestions. Plus, we need to make a decision soon. Her birthday is in April. My first BOTW for the New Year is a tough one as I still have the insurance to deal with.

My first encounter with new-driver insurance for a number of years hasn’t really surprised me. I paid over a thousand pounds for my first car, and even in 2011, prices still remain as high. Thank goodness for price comparison websites. It’s made my job a lot easier but the costs are still mounting up. Oh, and I also need to factor in fuel, road tax and general maintenance.

Over the next few months I’ll keep you posted on the highs and lows on buying a car for a new driver.

Wish me luck; I’m probably going to need it.

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2 Responses to Bargain of the Week – My First Car

  1. Mark Robbins January 26, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    Hmmmm, eighteen years in the motor trade? phone around your contacts, or go to the auctions, buy car, job done in 48hrs?………………… few months?

  2. Douglas Q January 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    My first car was a Land Rover Series 3.

    My parents had considered a Vauxhall Carlton (as it was then) 1.8 GL. with the argument that it was big, strong and at the time, safe. However, I am very, very glad that they did not buy it. for I would have probably wrapped it round a tree or through a hedge or into a ditch perfectly illustrating my lack of driving experience and tennage tendancies.

    18 years down the line and I am still here and no little thanks to the land Rover! I have many memories of my first Land Rover, my brother, when he turned 17 received it, and I obtained a Land Rover 90 (pre defender). They were strong, safe, you learnt the mechanics and at the end of the day, I (and many friends) have lots of stories from my times with the Land Rover’s, be it in the snow, off roading, trips to France or Wales.

    I would strongly urge you to seriously look at the Land Rover – you and the family will sleep more easily in the knowledge that she is safe inside the Land Rover.

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