Learning to drive is practically an essential skill in today’s world. While public transport is meant to have come on leaps and bounds, private transport options remain the most popular and reliable way to navigate the UK. There are many questions that new learners have when considering learning to drive, but there is one which is rarely answered succinctly: should you learn to drive in a new car or a used one?
Learning to Drive in a Used Car
The principal positive in learning to drive using a used car is, naturally, price. Buying used can save you a serious amount of money up-front – but the cost saving does not just relate to the amount you pay for or finance your car. There are knock-on impacts, such as with insurance. You will need insurance if you intend to practice outside of scheduled lessons, and insurance plans for learner drivers are often cheaper when applied to used cars; this is precisely because used cars are cheaper and less valuable than new ones.
The merits of this decreased value carry through to your driving practice, too. With an older, cheaper car you are much less likely to worry about dings and scratches, particularly alloy scratches from parallel parking. You might also be less nervous behind the wheel as a result, giving you the freedom to focus on your lessons.
Depending on the age of your used car, though, you might find your nerves return in other ways. For one, particularly old cars might not have the same safety features that are now standard in newer models. This might make the prospect of an accident more likely or more dangerous, impacting your driving in the process.
Older cars may also be more susceptible to wear and breakdowns during use, particularly if their service history is patchy. Long-standing issues that impact driveability could present roadblocks to learning, or even force the learning of bad habits.
Learning to Drive in a New Car
A new car is much more reliable than a used one, on account of having arrived in your hands straight from the showroom floor. No parts will be worn, and everything will work as intended – guaranteeing a smooth and positive driving experience. New safety equipment and on-board technology will also make driving both safer and easier.
There are long-term cost benefits to buying certain new cars, too. On balance, new vehicles are more fuel efficient, while electric vehicles cost significantly less to ‘fuel’. This could help your budget in the short-to-medium term.
But new cars are also incredibly costly to buy outright, and even costlier to insure. In the event that you suffer an accident as a learning or early driver, the premium could have heavy impacts on your finances going forwards.