Buying A Car For Young Drivers

I used to work for an insurance brokers and was so grateful for the staff discount I was entitled to when I first started driving.  At this moment in time, two of my children are learning to drive and once they pass they will have the skill forever but we're all worried about the cost of purchasing a car, then the price of insurance and the escalating cost of fuel.  Hitachi Personal Finance have sent me some really useful information as a guide to buying a car for young drivers.  The tips are from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).


learner driver to P-Plate new driver

It is tempting for young drivers to buy cheaper, older cars. However, as the IAM argues, this can prove a false economy as research shows that nearly half of men under 20 who were killed or seriously injured in crashes were driving cars over ten years old.  Younger drivers are at more risk of serious injury because older cars offer less crash protection and have fewer safety features.

IAM director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said:  “The ideal car from a new driver should have as much new technology on it as you can possibly afford – crash protection, airbags, anti lock brakes and crucially electronic stability control.  Young drivers often buy really cheap old cars that lack these modern features.  In a crash a new car will protect its occupants much better so it’s a good investment for your safety.”

Here’s the IAM’s top things to consider when buying a car for a young driver

NCAP rating

NCAP awards all cars star ratings based on their performance in a series of crash tests. The overall top rating is five stars and the IAM recommends looking for cars which have a rating of at least three, and ideally four.

Insurance group

Insurance groups are a huge factor in choosing a car for a young driver, as premiums can be so high. The lower the insurance group, the less you’ll have to pay. However, it’s important to look for cars which have good NCAP ratings within the lower insurance groups so you get the best of both worlds, for example, the Citroen C2 has four stars and is in insurance group one, while the Seat Ibiza has five stars and is in group three.

Manufacturer’s warranty

Most manufacturers used to offer a three year warranty as standard, however, five and seven year deals are becoming increasingly common, meaning many second hand cars in the market are still under warranty, which could save you a lot on repairs. The IAM advises that you read the small print before making a purchase as there may be mileage limits.


You don’t want a car which has done hundreds of thousands of miles on the road, but at the same time, it’s not always wise to pay a premium just because a car only has 15,000 miles on the clock after three years. According to the IAM, many small cars only cover small distances each year so search around for the best deal.


If you’re looking for a relatively new car for less, you might pick up a bargain if you go for one with a high initial depreciation rate. However, remember that if the price continues to drop at the same rate, you won’t get a good price for it when it’s time to sell it on.

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