Get them the best car you can

The IAM is calling for parents and young drivers to buy the latest model possible when choosing a first car for a new driver, as the registration plates change.

According to IAM research, 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.

Research from insurers Young Marmalade suggests that young drivers are more likely to take better care of a more valuable vehicle – or one on a payment scheme – leading to lower accident rates.

IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “It makes sense that any driver will take better care of a new car, and especially one which they’re still paying for. Young drivers are the highest risk group on our roads and the insurance industry claims that 20 per cent of young drivers crash in their first year.

“Parents should help their child choose the best car they can get for their money. A new car won’t be an option for everybody but there are plenty of used cars that will be almost as good – you do need to do some thorough research though.”

The IAM suggests five considerations for choosing a sensible first car:

NCAP rating – look for four stars in the adult rating category; don’t settle for less than three, even on older models.

Insurance group – group three or under gives a wide choice of small cars, and makes insurance affordable while the no-claims discount builds up.

Length of manufacture warranty – three years used to be the norm, but five or even seven years is becoming common, so there are plenty of used cars still under the manufacturer’s warranty. Check the small print for exactly what’s covered though – there may be mileage limits.

Depreciation – cars with high initial depreciation mean you might pick up a three-year-old bargain, but don’t forget that if the price drop continues it may be worth very little when you come to sell it.

Mileage – many small cars do a low annual mileage, so don’t pay too much for a three- year-old car that’s only driven 15,000 miles – there will be lots like that.

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