Student looking for first car... - Glasgow Mag

This is my first post so i apologise if this is a much-discussed topic previously. i have also e-mailed Honest John himself but thought it would be interesting to hear other folks advice/experiences.

I am a 22 year old med student at Glasgow uni. I have had my license 4 years now but haven't done much driving (on parents insurance, hence no NCB record).

I am looking for a small modern car, either nearly new or brand new. My budget is £10K maximum. I am thinking along the lines of the SEAT Ibiza, Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa although would be open to any other suggestions (although no girly cars please!).

Thanks in advance,

Glasgow Mag.
Student looking for first car... - Glasgow Mag
In addition - I forgot to ask earlier about this. I see SEAT are offering free insurance for 1 year on the Ibizas - but the age range is 25-80. Is there any chance I could get them to budge and allow me, a 22 year old, a year's free insurance? After all this could have a big say in my eventual choice with Vauxhall and Ford among others offering free insurance to over 21's.
Student looking for first car... - DavidHM
No arguments there from me. Of the three, I'd say the Corsa is the weakest and the Ibiza probably the best value. Lots of people will also suggest the Toyota Yaris for reliability but - and you may not agree - I find them a bit dull. The Nissan Micra might also be worth a look, except for its manifest girliness.

All of those qualify for free insurance, so buying brand new will be better than nearly new for you - I imagine a 22 year old bloke in Glasgow, with no NCB, will be looking at something approaching £1k for insurance.

Given that you presumably want something a bit blokey, I would suggest the Seat Ibiza. has a 1.4 SE, with alloy wheels and air con, for £9395. (I'm not sure if this includes free insurance - if not, try but their Seat prices aren't online.) Probably a 1.2 base model is better value at £7300 if I'm honest.

Alternatively you could look at the Fiesta Zetec (Blue Oval, a fellow insomniac on here, has one and loves it) for about £8,500 discounted. At the moment, Fiesta prices are a little unclear because Ford is offering a free air conditioning promotion, which is worth having, but 's prices aren't necessarily reflecting that yet.

Finally, there's no free insurance on the VW Polo, but it holds its value astonishingly well, which might make up for the difference, especially as it's cheap to buy in the first place. A Polo 1.4 Twist three door is £8690 from and is cheap to insure, includes metallic paint, electric windows and alloy wheels.

If you want something bigger, you might just about be able to squeeze into a Mégane, Corolla, Civic or Focus, but you will be using all your budget and getting quite a low specification, low power car. Unless you really need the space, I wouldn't bother.

Oh and the Corsa is probably the weakest of the lot, although the 1.2 SXi has a good spec for £8500 with a fairly spurious free finance offer - they were selling for a good £800 less a couple of months ago. Try if you must.
Student looking for first car... - DavidHM
Sorry, you're right, I thought the free insurance on the Ibiza was for 21+.

Is there a way of making them budge? No way in hell - the scheme will be underwritten by a large insurance company with Buy a Polo instead. It's the same car, but cheaper, with a better badge and less depreciation.
Student looking for first car... - DavidHM
Sorry, you're right, I thought the free insurance on the Ibiza was for 21+.

Is there a way of making them budge? No way in hell - the scheme will be underwritten by a large insurance company with fairly rigid policies. It's out of the dealer's hands. (I'm 25 and live in London, so a free insurance policy is a 10% dicount on the car to me - but to my 52 year old mother in rural Wales, it's barely dinner for four in a good restaurant.)

You may be able to negotiate an extra discount, but not much of one and if you like the car, buy a Polo instead. At least as far as the 1.4 SE / 1.4 Twist are concerned, they're the same car, but the VW is cheaper, with a better badge and less depreciation.
Student looking for first car... - Glasgow Mag
First of all I'd like to say thanks very much for your comments so far.

I think you realise that I don't need to have the fanciest model available - i.e. I can do without CD player, electric windows for the time being although A/C would be nice if not essential. I am a student after all.

So if I compare the basic 1.2 SEAT Ibiza at £7.3K and no free insurance with the VW Polo Twist 3 dr at ~£8.7K with free insurance (??) and my insurance I think will be ~£1.2K is there much difference in the initial outlay between the 2 options?

Also does the free insurance come irrespective of whether you pay it all upfront or instead opt for finance?

Student looking for first car... - DavidHM
In all these cases, free insurance happens regardless.

The Polo doesn't have free insurance. If you're looking to keep costs down, the Ibiza is a good buy as it's kind of sporty looking, not too slow, and well equipped (though no ABS). Insurance is fairly cheap on both cars (group 3 for the 1.2) but with no free insurance on the Polo, you're looking at a £1k difference in outlay.

However, spec up the Ibiza with metallic paint and ABS (£600), and take into the fact that the Ibiza will be worth maybe £4300 at three years, and the Polo about £5k, and the Polo probably makes more financial sense. (Unusually, metallic is standard on the Polo Twist.)

If you're not too bothered about kit, you could look at a Fiesta 1.2 LX, which will have a similar spec to the Ibiza, but with free insurance. (No alloy wheels though, which do look cool.) Again, I'm not sure about how much discount you'll get but phone brokers and dealers and £8k or less should be achievable.

A/C and electric windows are standard on all these cars, ABS is standard on the Polo and an important safety feature worth the £300 extra on the others. The Polo is the only one without the CD player.

The Yaris (a 1.3 T3 would be your best bet, at £7550 with free insurance from ), doesn't have air, but does have ABS and CD player. Taking into account the lowest initial cost, it can't be overlooked, and would probably be a shoe-in if it had air. (Are you listening Toyota?)
Student looking for first car... - peterb
"Are you listening Toyota?"

Let's hope so. If you want a cheap Yaris, get the T2. If you want decent spec, get the T Spirit. I don't think they're selling many T3's in this hot weather.
Student looking for first car... - SteveH42
Yeah, I really do think they have missed a trick here. The T3 is a decent spec apart from the fact you can't even get a sunroof or aircon as an option. If you can get a T3 for not much more than a T2 then it's worth it for the few extras, but I'm sure many people who want a better spec than the T3 but can't justify the significant jump to the T-Spirit will be looking elsewhere which is a real shame.
Student looking for first car... - james S
It may be worth looking at the excess on the "Free insurance". I Knew someone who got a Ford Ka and there excess was £650. They had never had an accident before and got a huge suprise when they had to claim.

Normal insurance on the Polo might only be say 150-250 or £350 with voluntary excess. If you are new to driving you are more likely to crash. If you did the polo would then be better value (assuming the free insurance excess is so high).

Bear it in mind

James S

Student looking for first car... - Canon Fodder
Hey Mag,

Just to chip in my own two penne'th....

I also looked at the same range of cars about 6 months ago - and ended up with a Polo. Some quick bullet points on some of the 'issues' that came up...

Fiesta - mediocre seat and no left foot rest, no ABS.
Ibiza - no ABS or side air bags, average interior.
Corsa - rubbish seat and offset driving position.
Yaris - Interior not to my taste, 1.0 engine inadequate.
Polo - a bit thirsty, no oil painting to look at.

It came down to the Polo as I valued it's safety features over the Ibiza's 'toys'. Also there was a big discount from ukcarbroker at the time. I would have tried the Yaris 1.3 but it was a good £1500 more at the time so......

I should add that being an old git, insurance wasn't so much of a concern for me.

Best wishes to you.

Student looking for first car... - Glasgow Mag
Honest John is suggesting the Honda Jazz - hadn't actually thought of it before to be honest. Is this a very new model? Does anyone have any views on it?
Student looking for first car... - DavidHM
A very impressive car for £8.6k with free insurance, discounted from UKCB for the S. Only downside is no air con as standard.

If it's just you, it might be slightly more than you need to spend. It looks a bit like a people carrier, but it has a brilliantly flexible interior, neat handling, masses of room, and great reliability. Performance and economy are also excellent.

I was thinking that the Jazz is a little more expensive, but it's not really, when you take into account what it offers.

So we have, adding £1100 where there is no free insurance:

Yaris 1.3 T3 - £7550, no air con
Fiesta 1.2 LX - £8k / £8300 with ABS (estimated)
Ibiza 1.2 - £8470 / £8746 with ABS
Jazz 1.4 - £8617, no air con
Polo 1.2 Twist - £9400 including metallic paint, no CD
Student looking for first car... - SteveH42
To both DavidHM and Canon Fodder, have either of you actually driven a 1.0 Yaris? They go and go well. The engine pulls right through the range and while you do have to push them a bit, the performance is there and they are a lot of fun to chuck. I just about kept a 306 GTI honest around the Lakes as while they could pull away faster, the Yaris is much nipper and can be thrown around much more. It's also fine on the motorway - certainly nicer than my 1.4 Tipo and it can cruise at 75 with no trouble at all as well as accelerate from 75 to 85 in a crack. Compared to the Corsa and Fiesta I drove when looking to change the Tipo, the Yaris was by far the most perky drive.

However, as an thought, if you look at the various broker prices there isn't actually that much difference in price between the 1.0 and 1.3, and with the new block in the 1.3 the consumption seems not too much lower. Not sure how much the insurance goes up though. The price difference certainly isn't £1500 - it's not even that between the 1.0 and the D4D.
Student looking for first car... - DavidHM
Thought about the 1.3, thought, he'll probably have NCB in a year's time, so insurance won't be such an issue, fuel consumption is similar, it's only £300 more, and he needs something to mitigate the alleged girliness of the Yaris, so it's got to be a bigger engine.

As for the Clio - I think probably £8500 is a more realistic price for it, there are some serious quality issues, it's an old design now, and there are so many other cars that seem better, that I just can't recommend it, although I've driven a few and I do like them.
Student looking for first car... - Canon Fodder
Hi steve,

I did indeed drive the 1.0 Yaris. My main criteria when choosing the car were long distance refinement and comfort - I was after a mini mile-muncher for as little £ as possible - I'm too old for chuckability to be a factor.

I found the 1.0 whiney at motorway speeds and and the acceleration around the 70mph mark inadequte to hold ones own in motorway traffic.

Regards the price difference, you're forgetting that I'm going back 9 months to when I started looking. At that time the 1.3 was only available in CDX trim, which was about £1500 more than a 1.0 GS - honest!

Toyota have impoved specs and lowered prices considerably since I was looking and the Yaris looks a tough package to beat now.

Student looking for first car... - AR-CoolC
Renault Clio 1.4 Dynamique £9500 get it in black and it doesn't look too 'girlie'
Student looking for first car... - hootie
Just wondering if anyone out there is offering free servicing as an alternative to free insurance? (or if you could negotiate for it?) this might be a better bet for young drivers, as personally I found that the free insurance had too many terms and conditions applied - they only really want to give it out for people who'd get quoted £300 - £400 I think.

In the case of a new car, which you'd want to have main dealer serviced this might be a much better option financially.

I'd also recommend getting a good selection of insurance quotes for the shortlisted models before you decide to buy. I'm still shopping around for our daughter and have found quotes varying by up to £900 pa! Very broadly speaking it seems to be engine size which makes the most difference, plus any non standard modifications (such as adding alloy wheels ...I know, I know, I did try and persuade Mr H not to go for them, but he wasn't budging)

We went for Toyota, but then again (so I'm told ;) not such a good image for a fella)- our criteria was safety and reliability. You really need to go out and test drive for yourself when you have a sensible size list of choices, there's no other way to find the best vehicle for you.

Good luck, and please let us know what you decide.
Student looking for first car... - RichardW
What happened to students driving bangers???

Times soon change (only 6 years since I was one of them).

1k to buy car (that's a good un!), 1k to insure (OK my first ome was only £500 to insure), leaving 8k to spend on things more important to student life like beer and pies. And you don't have to sell your soul to he main dealer when it needs an oil change.

Oh well, I'm still driving 'bangers' 'cos I can't bear to part with all that hard earned - maybe I just don't fit in.....


Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
Student looking for first car... - Andrew-T
Good question, RW. The world is full of decent cars for a grand - you just need to know how to detect the best ones. And in some uni towns it makes sense to drive a low-profile car.
Student looking for first car... - Hawesy1982
Anyone wanting to find a comprehensive list of cars in each insurance group should go to (hope its ok to advertise that site here moderators), under owning click insurance guide and then you can pick by car or by group, they include the trim levels in each group too, so, as above, if you by a car with alloys as standard it shouldn't affect the cost of the premium. I found this a great help when buying my first car as for example an N reg 1.1 Fiesta is group 4 whereas a Pug 306 1.9l Turbo Diesel is only group 5 and a measly 1.4 Astra is group 7!

It DOES pay to check this out before you buy!
Student looking for first car... - Glasgow Mag
I am swaying towards either the Ibiza or the Corsa - with the Jazz niggling at the back of my mind.........
Student looking for first car... - Welliesorter
Sorry to complicate things but have you considered a Skoda Fabia? It's the same platform as the Polo and Ibiza and some reviewers regard it as a better car than the Polo. The current offer is for interest free credit. They've recently reintroduced the Silverline: a basic model with a few nice extras, such as alloy wheels and a CD player, thrown in. ABS is standard, but there's no air conditioning.

I'd have liked air conditioning in mine but find that the car's ventilation is pretty good once you start moving. I've yet to brave a daytime trip during the current heatwave however!
Student looking for first car... - Hugo {P}
Citroen were doing free insrance for first year with the Saxo.

Alternitively, get yourself a banger for virtually nothing and run this for the first 2 to 3 years, accumlate some NCD, then go for a newer car without having to mortgage it to pay for the insurance.

****Signature? - Ideas on a postcard please anyone!****

****We never stop learning****

Student looking for first car... - andymc {P}
Glasgow Mag, if you're swaying between the Ibiza and the Corsa I'd plump for the Ibiza. As far as I'm aware, the Ibiza has less likelihood of breakdowns/reliability problems, and it'll hold its value better - especially considering that the current Ibiza is a new design, whereas the current Corsa has been around for three years, is therefore due for replacement sooner and will therefore be an outdated model sooner. But if you're still thinking of the possibility of a slightly bigger car, the base Seat Leon 1.4 comes with aircon as standard and can be had for around £9k - don't know if free insurance is available or not though. The 1.9 TDi S might be an option too, as the fuel economy will be better. These ones won't be quick, but are solidly built and handle well.

Having said all that, I think Hugo has the best idea - get something for much less money for the time being, considering that you're much more likely to damage it at this early stage in your driving career. Pay for your own insurance and still save a packet left over to spend on beer and rent. You won't be hit by huge depreciation either. Not being condescending about your lack of driving experience, by the way, just realistic (I had my shunt about a year after passing the test).
Student looking for first car... - Glasgow Mag
Appreciate the advice Andy - what you say does make sense. But the reasons I want a new or nearly new vehicle are (1) They are generally safer to drive, and (2) Unless you are very lucky, and find a reliable older car, then the chances are that you will get your fingers burnt when the costs of repairs mount up. I've seen this happen to friends on numerous occasions and something tells me I should stay well clear of this.

Also, I have a weekend job which gives me enough to lead a happy student life with beer, etc and my folks pay my rent for me. Plus I really do need the car pretty soon because I will be having to make 20 mile plus journies on a daily basis.
Student looking for first car... - Andrew-T
.. and (andymc) perhaps learn a thing or two about how to keep your cheap car running, and sleep better by worrying less who might be trying to pinch/break into it. I thought all today's students are running up debts without buying new cars?
Student looking for first car... - Glasgow Mag
Yes (Andrew-T) but what about th costs of repairs for a seemingly cheaper car, and the lack of safety features?

Also I am not overly worried about the debt I will incur since in 2 years time I expect to be on the salary of a junior doctor, i.e. £35K per annum. Therefore I will have little trouble clearing it quickly.
Student looking for first car... - teabelly
An 8k car bought now might be worth 4k max in 3 years and something like the yaris wouldn't cost that much in repairs over that time, unless you were very unlucky.

Have you considered leasing? - seem to have some good leasing prices. You can get full maintenance options too so you wouldn't have to even thing about any servicing or maintenance costs. There is also - but they seem to be more expensive but they are a more well known name.
Student looking for first car... - RichardW
I have a 95N Citroen Xantia TD. Cost £1450 last November with 72k miles on it. Now on 87k, since then it's needed only a new wheel bearing (£80), part exhaust (£80) and radiator (fitted by me for £115 parts, about £160 if fitted by someone else). Also needs new front pads and discs - another £150 if someone else does it. It's still 'worth' about £1200. I don't care if it gets dinged in the carpark, no one is likely to key it out of envy (they would be struggling to pick themselves up off the pavement for laughing probably!), I don't need to spend half my life washing and waxing it (wash when you can't get in without getting dirty, and even then just a rub over with a cold hosepipe!). It has an air-bag, but no ABS, and would be outperformed in modern crash tests as cars are designed to pass these (which may or may not make them 'safer') - don't forget that most of the safety comes from the attitude and aptitude of the person behind the wheel.

All in all it's cost about £2700 so far to run it for 9 months, less than the depreciation alone on a new car!

I realise that it is a personal choice, and some people are happy to pay the premium for 'peace of mind' (but check out the threads for "My new car's gone wrong again..."!), but you can motor reliably on a budget - you just need to select carefully in the first place.

Oh well, people have got to keep buying new cars so I can pick thme up cheap in a few years time!


Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
Student looking for first car... - Glasgow Mag
When is the best time to look for a nearly new/ex-demonstrator? Is it now, since lots of folk are holding off until 1st September for the new registration plates, or some time around October when these people will have made their purchases?
Student looking for first car... - Andrew-T
Mag - older cars aren't dirt-cheap because they cost a lot to keep running. It's because there are loads of newer ones available which are more desirable in the status race, and lots of people have money to burn. Provided you avoid buying a real lemon (and it's not difficult) you can save several grand without losing all your street cred.

Value my car