21 year first car suggestions? - Lockey
Hello All,

My first post in the forum!!

I'm 21, just having finished Uni. I passed my driving test last year in September and am now after a car for work (having no experience previously). My budget is ~£3000, give or take few hundred. I am able to go to £4000, but would prefer a £3k car!

I am looking at 1.4CL 3 door VW Polos. They seem quite well kitted out, good build and relatively low insurance, but very expensive. (Although I guess that's good when I sell it on?!).
I have driven one and like it very much. I am wondering whether this is a good car to go for, or whether to go for a Punto 1.2 ELX or similar. (i.e. Fiesta, Clio, etc). I would like the kit (electric windows, central locking, PAS etc, but don't wanna pay a fortune).

I am a 6'2" male, so this has to be taken into consideration. Does anyone have any ideas for suitable cars for me, or do people agree that this is a good car for me? Does anyone have any similar experiences?

Cheers for your input.

21 year first car suggestions? - PoloGirl

I have to say I think the Polo is an excellent choice - totally unbiased of course!! - and I'm impressed you don't seem to be considering saddling yourself with finance on a first car.

The polo is more expensive simply because it's a better built and more reliable car, and it'll protect you should anything nasty happen.

I paid just under £5k for my P reg polo (1.4 SE) over 2 years ago and it still doesn't have any rust on it at all and nothing major has gone mechanically wrong, so you should easily be able to get a decent one for that money. The only thing mine doesn't have is electric windows but you'll find one that does. The 1.4 engine is nicely nippy too :)

Good luck - I love car shopping!

21 year first car suggestions? - Lockey
I'm very bored to be honest( I thought I'd love car shopping, but I just want a car, now). It's such an ordeal searching for cars - I'm very tempted to go out and buy one.

I was lucky regarding money. I'm a keen saver and also I luckily had my parents to help me through Uni, so I've got my student loan to fund my car.

Cheers for the reply.

What's the difference between the SE and CL? I presume it's the same engine?


21 year first car suggestions? - Blue {P}
With a budget like that I would consider a much larger car, that kind of money would easily buy a fully kitted out Mondeo, or a slightly older but fully kitted out Focus.

These cars may be more comfortable for you, because, at 6'2' I can see many small cars could be uncomfortable. Also if you explored a Diesel engined version there would be little, if any, difference in running costs.

If you're worried about the car being too large for a first car then I can only say don't, I've driven small and large cars after passing my test 2 years ago, and honestly, the easiest cars to drive without a doubt have been the large ones. They feel much safer, and more stable on the road than other smaller cars that I have driven, the only exception being my current MK6 Fiesta! :-)

21 year first car suggestions? - Lockey
With a budget like that I would consider a much larger
car, that kind of money would easily buy a fully kitted
out Mondeo, or a slightly older but fully kitted out Focus.

I was thinking that as well, originally, but I've read that the 1.4 Focus is underpowered and ditto for the Vauxhall Astra. The Polo is good for my size - I fit in it well, comfortably. I can see your point regarding the size and stability on the road, however. Maybe I should test drive the Focue and see what I think about the size...

Thanks for your reply
21 year first car suggestions? - lezebre
Just finished university and get the odd feeling of listlessness? How about a red 1967 Alfa Duetto Spider?
More realistically, I've got one word to say to you, Lockey: Nissan !
21 year first car suggestions? - Lockey
Just finished university and get the odd feeling of listlessness? How
about a red 1967 Alfa Duetto Spider?
More realistically, I've got one word to say to you, Lockey:
Nissan !

I originally thought of getting a Nissan Micra, but realised that I would only be able to afford the older variety, and I don't really like the look of the Micra!

I'm not really into my classic cars - sorry! ;-)

21 year first car suggestions? - DavidHM
I've just seen a nice 99 T Xsara 1.4 LX for £2k. 70k up but FSH and mint. At 6'1" myself I would personally prefer a car bigger than a Fiesta/Punto etc. £4k won't buy you much of a Focus unless high mileage or in some way lacking in history unless you're very lucky, so although I like them a lot I can't really recommend buying one.

As for 1.4 Focus sized cars being underpowered - well I guess they are but they're no worse than 1.2ish smaller cars, by and large, and the insurance on the 1.6 litre models isn't that much more if you can find a nice one for a nice price.

Although you would find most cars big enough to drive comfortably, you'll only be able to transport children or people much shorter than yourself behind you in any comfort for a long time. Oh and my choice of small car - a Skoda Fabia, if you can get one for sensible money but more likely a slightly older (W-reg ish) Ibiza, which has all the qualities of the Polo but is likely to be newer for the same money.

And the 67 Alfa reference... here's to you Mrs Robinson, etc. No?
21 year first car suggestions? - automaticallyuk
Advice on first car.......

Buy new car, with low depreciation and three year warranty
and try and get one with free insurance.

Aim for 50 mpg.
Aim for < group 3 insurance.

If you buy a polo for £4000, insurance on top, tax, a service, new tyres etc will cost a lot. If the clutch goes, then that will be another £500. Read up on whats good and bad about the cars.

My advice would be to go for one of the following which i am considering.

Toyota Yaris, 1.0 T2 with free insurance.
Skoda Fabia 1.2 Classic, with free insurance.
Hyundai Getz 1.1 GSi, with five year warranty and free servicing.

All these can be got for around £6500 on the road, will cost peanuts to run and serivce. and should be reliable. Why waste £4000 on a high mileage car, when for a couple of grand more you can have new.

21 year first car suggestions? - Steve G
I can see your point automaticallyuk but not many 21 year old males would want to drive any of those cars ;-) . As for buying a new car with low deprieciation... Mini, Boxster, Ferrari cant think of any others....
I'm making assumptions but most young drivers buy a car they can afford to insure and then build up their no claims bonus so they can buy a car they really want.
If you like the Polo Lockey and you can find a nice one that fits your budget I dont think you can really do any better, its a good choice IMO.
Might be worth contacting a few VW dealers and ask if they have any come in as part exchanges.
Good luck
21 year first car suggestions? - Hawesy1982
Get a mid-sized turbo-diesel such as a 306/xsara

The 306 especially has group 5 insurance which is pretty low for the size of car and performance, it should feel quicker than any 1.4 petrol, you will get good mpg and an enjoyable chassis. If you get one without sunroof you will fit in it easily. Most cars at £3 will be starting to slow as far as depreciation is concerned, prob <£500 a year from that point on. My only caution with peugeot/citroen is that i have found the build quality a bit lacklustre but just check well before you buy.

IIRC £3k should get you a 60k (just run-in in diesel terms) P or R reg 306.

Possibly a T reg Xsara for that money but the insurance group is two groups higher at 7 for some unknown reason
21 year first car suggestions? - Edd
How about a seat Ibiza TD? Based on the VW polo platform its creaper and just as relaible.
How about a Nissan Micra (old shape) cheap as chips (maybe a new bottom of the range new one with a warently from a broker even) there ugly as sin (both new and old shape) but reliable. Definalty not a car for a young person but its cheap and reliable plus the one I had as a courtesy car stood up to non stop abuse fine (a excellent sign of a good car) plus ther quite roomy for tall people inside better than a Clio
Or how about a Clio for a few grand you should be able to pick up a low milage one with one carful woman (they usually are) owner.

I'm 6 4 and have a Clio (its a new shape one but there the same size) but the size inside is ok.

How are you going to insure it as your a young driver it may cost you a grand to insure it meaning you have to look for a cheaper car.

If you have 4K plus 1k insurance money have a look at a new cars with warenties which are imortant if you need the car for work (nothing like saying to your boss the car is broke all the time).

How many miles you inted to do in the car and how long your going to keep it (ie are you going to get something different in 6 months when you have saved up) are important don't buy an unrelaible old car with all your money as it looks cool but never gets you to work. Its more important in your prospects (and money) that you turn up to work.

21 year first car suggestions? - Monaro
I am in almost the same situation, but am less worried about looking daft in a Micra. I want a reliable small car to do 150000 miles in 6 or 7 years and cost me peanuts to run. I have been looking for a while but have seen a few '52 plate 1.0 S Micras with under £20k for about £3800. When I get a chance to see one I will buy that. Reliable, group 3 ins and economical. Anything older than that I would look at a new car with the free insurance.
Paul C
21 year first car suggestions? - Blue {P}
150,000 miles in 6 or 7 years, in an old stlyle Micra!?!

Rather you than me :-)

21 year first car suggestions? - RichardW
>car to do 150000 miles in 6 or 7 years and cost me peanuts to run

For that sort of use:

1. Buy a diesel
2. Buy a big car

A diesel will be 2.5 - 3k rpm on the motorway, which is much more relaxing than screaming a 1 litre engine at 4k rpm. It will also use substantially less fuel. A bigger car will be more comfortable, and again more relaxing than a small one. It might have slightly higher running costs, but this is a small price to pay for being able to drive 500 miles / week and still be able to walk at the end of it!


Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
21 year first car suggestions? - Ivor E Tower
At 21 and just driving for a few months, insurance will be costly and will almost certainly rule out a larger car, no matter how good a bargain it may be. Best idea is to start with something that is in a low insurance group - may be worth paying a bit more to get a new car with free insurance deal but check the group rating or you could be in for a shock at the end of the free insurance period.
Make sure you try what you intend to buy - comfort is important. If you are cramped and have to bend your limbs uncomfortably, you will be much more likely to have an accident.
Polo seems like a sound option, but good luck .....
21 year first car suggestions? - Hawesy1982
For any high mileage driving, you want a diesel and a not-tiny car. For a young driver you can't beat the 306TD's, as i posted above. It's very comfortable, only group 5 insurance which is very low for a car K-T reg and a decent size like mine, and will happily cruise at illegal motorway speeds.

To check any car's insurance group, you can't beat www.parkers.co.uk
21 year first car suggestions? - David Horn
I'm 18 and drive an S-reg Citroen Xsara 1.9TD coupe - fantastic car, comfortable, dual airbags, PAS, central locking, CD changer etc, very nippy, only problem is the hideous gold colour.

Cost me £3995 with 61K and a 3 year warranty and does 46MPG around Devon's horrible country lanes. Insurance group 6, or 7, or 8 (can't remember, car's insured in my mum's name with me as main driver - horribly complicated, my mum and insurance broker sort it out. I write the cheques...) and insurance fully comp costs £800.
21 year first car suggestions? - Lockey
I really don't want a diesel, though! I have no need for one! Sounds nice- my dad had bad experience with Citroen so I would probably never buy one myself! Cheers for the reply!

21 year first car suggestions? - Lockey
Yeah, the problem with the Polos is that they're just too expensive.

I've been offered a 98R Ford Fiesta 1.25LX 3 door 38,000 miles for £2650. I had a drive and it was very nice.

I'm now thinking about getting that, but not for £2650! ;-)

The insurance is only £850 on it - a whole £200 or so cheaper than the Polo I was looking at!

I'm very tempted to go for that!

What do peeps think?? It's in A1 condition bar a few minor paint scratches!

21 year first car suggestions? - Manatee
Don't cry too much over the Polo - my personal experience of a Polo, a Golf, 2 Audis and a Galaxy (VW behind the badge), all bought new, is that they were neither reliable nor cheap to fix. Ford has allegedly made huge strides in reliability over the last few years. A decent Fiesta at the right price is a sensible idea.

If you can see yourself in a Ka, they must be seriously cheap now, looking at the new supersite prices, and although the engine is not as up to date as the 1.25 Fiesta (or anything else come to that)they are Group 2 insurance and nice enough to drive even for tall people. We bought one 4 years ago which has now done 30,000m, mainly in the hands of my daughter, and nothing has gone wrong.
21 year first car suggestions? - Blue {P}
Fiesta 1.25 gets my vote, as a very satisfied former owner I can say it was an excellent car, very comfortable, very nippy if you keep the revs up and it seemed well made. In second gear around town, generally up to 40mph, you will find that it will suprise most other drivers. ;-)

21 year first car suggestions? - Hawesy1982
Yes for low mileage the 1.25 fiesta is a good idea, but bear in mind i think its still group 5 insurance, which will cost you a tad more than a group 2 or 3. The Clio from '98 on i really quite nippy even as a 1.2, and is group 2 or 3 i think.

At group 4, a bigger, better looking car - 1.4 Pug 306

Oh and for a group 5 car, 1.25 Fiesta or 1.9DTurbo 306? Hmmm i know which one id choose every time!(Ok i'll stop pushing a 306 now :-P)
21 year first car suggestions? - Lockey
I got the Fiesta in the end - I got it for £2200 in the end with 38,000 miles on clock. Not bad! It's a great little runner and saves me £250 on insurance over the Polo and I really enjoy driving it!

Cheers for all your input everyone!


Value my car