As a parent I was shocked to discover that more than three quarters of us here in Blighty either buy their child’s first car outright or contribute money towards it.
According to the people at Moneysavingheroes.co.uk, £1500 was found to be the average amount given for a car purchase. It was also found that one in five parents received help to buy their first car. Didn’t happen in my case, but my parents helped in so many other ways, especially my mum, who didn’t tell my dad that I painted car parts on a rug, leaving some obvious overspray.
The bottom line is that parents want to guarantee that their offspring have the safest and most reliable set of wheels possible. As I have often explained, it’s all about the insurance – that’s the beginning and the end of it. Don’t think you can buy a cheap classic and sit back; insurance companies hate them, along with some diesels and less safe older cars. You will have to spend hours of your life getting insurance quotes, too. For the moment, though, let’s spend £1500 on something that is first-driver friendly.
A Volkswagen Polo. I’ve bought one of these for a teen and the 1.4 was actually pretty cheap to insure. So a 2004 1.4 Twist with 75,000 miles isn’t half bad at £1500. A one-owner, too. Then again, a 2004 Ford Fiesta 1.4 LX with 94k miles at the same money is also worth considering, because servicing will always be very affordable. Otherwise there is the Vauxhall Corsa, a 2007 Design with over 100,000 miles that is worth considering as a more recent alternative to the Ford.
What may be less reliable and less cheap to fix is a 2007 Citroën C3 1.4i Cool with a fresh MOT and proper service history. It even has a warranty for parts and labour, so maybe we’ll feel better about buying one of these. You could, though, consider a Chevrolet Aveo 1.2s. A 2009 with less than 80,000 miles is within the £1500 budget.
Probably the best example of a teen-friendly model would be a 2006 Toyota Yaris 1.0 VVT-I T3 with just shy of 100k miles. It has a service history and it’s a dealer part exchange, so they have an obligation to make sure that it is in roadworthy and warranty-worthy condition.
My advice for buying a teen a car is to do all the hard graft by checking out the insurance implications in your postal code. What is affordable in one area of the UK may be a bit pricey in another. This will be boring, but is more than worth doing – if you are a proper parent.