Passing your driving test is an unmatchable feeling; it only happens once (unless you don’t play by the rules) which makes it a really special occasion in your life. Besides being able to go to the drive through McDonalds, visit 24 hour supermarkets for late night snacks and be as free as you want there’s also the thrill of being able to have/use your own car.

There are a lot of options out there for new drivers. Most people opt for a fairly low key used car, but there are other options out there such as using a company like Intelligent Car Leasing to take out a lease arrangement, or taking finance on a new vehicle which is paid back in instalments. This article will run you through the various options available whilst highlighting the benefits and pitfalls of each.

Buying a used car

By far the most common option for first time drivers, buying a used car is low cost and easy to do.
The reason why this is a popular option is that getting a low value vehicle really mitigates the overall liability and reduces the monthly cost of insurance. This is because the more valuable a car is the more the insurers would have to pay out should there be an accident that resulted in a write-off.

If you’re unsure how much you should be paying for a second hand car then check the valuation tool from Parkers. It gives a general list price based on the make, model, year and amount of miles driven. Sometimes young car purchasers are taken advantage of; so make sure you know the market price to keep yourself protected.

The disadvantage of buying a used car is that they’re more liable to breakdowns and need repairs frequently. Therefore the initial money you saved on the purchase price and lower insurance can
sometimes be offset by repair and maintenance costs.

Leasing a car

Leasing cars is becoming much more popular in the UK among all types of drivers. The reason being is that the monthly payments are a lot lower than when using straight up car finance. Essentially when you obtain a car on a lease agreement what you’re paying for is the depreciation in value. For example if a car costs £9,000 new and for simplicity we’ll say it loses £1000 in value per year, all you pay for is that drop in value via your set monthly payments.

This is good for people that want a new car at a low monthly price with little hassle. Essentially as long as you’re happy to make the monthly payments you can switch cars every 2-4 years and always have a new car at your disposal.

The disadvantage is that it can be hard for new young drivers to get an agreement for a car lease under their own name. Most companies need a minimum of 3 years employment history to accept you. Therefore most young drivers who decide to lease their vehicle get it agreed through their parents but make the monthly payments themselves.

Get finance on a new car

Getting finance on a new car is the alternative to leasing and also a very popular option with first time drivers. This way you still get a reliable car which is under warranty via a manageable monthly repayment. Essentially your monthly payment goes towards the value of the car plus any interest that may be charged. Over a period of years you’ll work towards paying of the value in full; after which the car will be fully yours.

The advantage of this is that you get something that is completely under your ownership. You can treat it as you will and not have to report back to a company after a period of years to return the vehicle. This gives people peace of mind, and many like to know that they actually own the car rather than “borrowing” it off a company for an extended period.

The disadvantage is that the value of the vehicle almost always falls faster than the outstanding balance on the loan. Therefore if you ever decide to sell up early before you’ve paid off the balance you’ll have to make up the difference personally. For example if the vehicle was originally priced at £10,000 but has dropped in value to £5000, if you haven’t paid £5000 or more by that point you’d be left in negative equity. This essentially means you’d have to make up the difference yourself to the finance company out of your own pocket.


Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages which will suit different drivers and their preferences. The cheapest way to get your first car is to either buy used or lease a new one.
But overall if cost is the critical factor then opting for an old vehicle will probably be the most suitable choice. Whatever you choose to do make sure to stay safe and have fun, you’ve earned it!