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Young Scots splash the most cash on their first car

11 April 2016

New drivers spend an average of £3,685 on their first car but young Scottish drivers spend nearly twice as much as those living in the South East

The average amount of money spent on buying a new driver’s first car is now £3,685, according to new research* from Gocompare.com Car Insurance. However, the study also revealed big regional differences in what people spend on their first set of wheels.

Young Scots are the biggest spenders, paying an average of £5,449 for their first car whilst new drivers in the South East paid the least, spending an average of £2,928.

Within 25 miles of Edinburgh you can buy a three year old Ford Ka 1.2 Zetec with just over 32,000 miles on the clock for £5,500. Or for the same money you can buy a 12 year old BMW 3.0 330i with 89,000 on the clock.**

Within 25 miles of Tunbridge Wells you can buy a five year old Vauxhall Agila 1.0 Ecoflex with 77,000 miles on the clock for £3,000. Or if you’re looking for something a bit sportier you can buy a twelve year old Mini Cooper 1.6L with 58,500 miles on the clock for the same price.**

However, consider the running costs of the car too – not least the insurance. For the examples mentioned above, the cheapest quotes we found for an 18 year old were***:

  • Ford Ka 1.2 Zetec: Annual premium of £819.96
  • BMW 330i: Annual premium of £4,064.42 (£3,244.46 more expensive)
  • Vauxhall Agila: 1.0 Ecoflex: Annual premium of £985.63
  • Mini Cooper 1.6L:  Annual premium of £1,734.85 (£749.22 more expensive)


Average spent on young drivers’ first cars

1st - Scotland


2nd - London


3rd – North West


4th  – Yorkshire & Humber


5th – North East


6th – East Midland


7th – East Anglia


8th - Wales


9th – South West


10th – West Midlands


11th – South East


Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson for Gocompare.com, said: “Everyone remembers their first car and whilst many of us probably started out in something of an old banger, today younger drivers are spending a bit more money and are able to get a half decent first car.

“A quick search on Autotrader found a couple of good examples for the highest and lowest spending young drivers as well as some which may not be so sensible when it comes to insurance. Insurance premiums will be lower for younger drivers if they choose a standard car with a smaller engine in a low insurance group. So the BMW and the Mini Cooper, whilst affordable to buy, will cost a lot more to insure than the Ka and the Agila.

“Another way to get your premiums down is to consider a ‘telematics’ policy. Some policies require your car to be fitted with a ‘black box’ transmitter and others do a similar job with a smartphone app. In both cases the idea is that your driving is monitored by the insurer and your premiums can come down faster than with a traditional policy if you prove to be a safe driver.

“However much you choose to spend on your first car, remember to compare insurance premiums before you take the plunge. There’s no point having the hottest hatch or the coolest convertible if you can’t afford to insure it.”

Gocompare.com has produced a guide to learner and new drivers' car insurance.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*Between the 18th and 25th January 2016 One Poll conducted an online survey among 2000 randomly selected British adults with children aged between 16 and 25.
**Autotrader.co.uk search carried out on 14 March 2016.

***Based on 9,000 miles a year, one year’s NCB, has held a full license for a year, social only, full-time student, comprehensive cover.