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Choosing cars for new driversBack

If your child is approaching the age of seventeen and is keen to own their first car, it can be a stressful and worrying time for parents.

Many teens will end up with a second-hand car because of the cheaper cost to buy it and the fact it will reduce their car insurance premium. This can be a good idea in principle, but it is well worth making sure that a used car is still safe and road worthy.

The safety of a car cannot be detected from an external inspection so it is a good idea to choose a vehicle which has gained a safety rating of 4 or 5 stars from Euro NCAP. Furthermore, a HPI or Experian check must be carried out on the vehicle to make sure that the car has not been lost or stolen and is roadworthy.

At Trusted Dealers, we offer free HPI and Experian checks to all of our customers as part of our 10 Points of Difference promise, providing added peace of mind for buyers, and also their parents! So, why not take some advice from the experts by following our simple guide below.

What do you need it for?

When choosing a car, it’s always good to consider what you will mainly be using it for. Will it be for long trips or short trips? Will you do much motorway driving in it? Will you need to carry luggage or equipment on a regular basis? Will children travel in the car at all? The answers to all of these questions might point you towards certain types of car or specific safety equipment.


Before purchasing a new or used car, it is advisable to look at its Euro NCAP safety rating to see how it measures up in comparison to other vehicles. Euro NCAP provides motorists with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold throughout the UK and Europe and grades their performance according to how well they protect the occupants, and the severity of injuries to a pedestrian struck by the vehicle.

Safety features

There are a number of safety features which can help to protect a driver and occupants in the event of an accident such as the following:

  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) prevents the wheels locking during severe braking, and in adverse driving conditions, can minimise stopping distances.
  • Separate brake and rear lights have proven more effective than integrated ones.
  • Rear screen wipers help maximise visibility, whilst heated rear windows are useful to clear the rear windscreen quickly and keep it clear.
  • Air conditioning can also enable windows to be demisted more quickly and provides cleaner, fresher air in the vehicle. However, it is well worth noting that the use of air conditioning is a car does increase fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent.
  • Airbags offer extra protection, and are designed to be used in conjunction with seat belts. Most new vehicles are fitted with driver airbags; many have passenger front airbags, and some have side airbags (usually only as optional extras).

All-round visibility

Good all-round visibility is essential in a car so it is a good idea to check whether the pillars between the front and side windows and the space taken up by the door mirrors still allow you to see forward without moving your head. Cars with a higher driving seat position will help to increase visibility. Make sure you can also adjust the driving seat so that you can reach and operate all the instrument dials and controls as well as fully depress the clutch.

Take a test drive

Always test drive a vehicle before you buy a new or used car. The look of a car might be very appealing, but if you struggle to drive it, or its performance just doesn’t match up then it is better to find this out sooner rather than later. A test drive is also a great opportunity to quiz the sales advisor for further information regarding the car and gain some expert advice.

Posted by Leana Kell on 09/08/2012