Why a Hatchback is the Perfect Choice for New Drivers

For some young people, learning to drive is less about the practicalities of being free to use the roads as it is a matter of style and status. All they dream about is passing their test so they can jump straight out of their instructor’s oh-so-boring sensible saloon and behind the wheel of some souped-up, fully modded monstrosity they are convinced will impress their friends… not to mention members of the opposite sex.

We spoke to Keen Drivers who are driving instructors in Billericay and they recounted endless tales from their charges about how they will be cruising these roads in a supercar this time next year. We feel it is part of our job to educate new driver about some of the realities of car ownership to them. Gently, of course.

There are two main things a new driver should consider when purchasing a first car – insurance and road handling. A surprising number of new drivers do not realise just how expensive their insurance premiums will be when they first pass their test, especially if they are aged under 24. They also don’t realise that for cars over a certain specification or value, they will probably not find cover full stop.

Road handling is equally important because new drivers are inexperienced both at controlling a car and navigating busy roads. It boils down to a matter of safety – a car with a big, powerful engine which is light on the accelerator takes experience to handle safely in traffic. On the flipside, an old banger on its last legs can be just as dangerous if something goes wrong while it is being driven.

The only way is hatchback

It might not be very cool, but the best advice for any new driver is to opt for a first car that is practical, reliable and affordable. Unless you are lucky enough to be able to afford it, there is little point in aiming for something with a 2.5 litre turbo engine or larger, because the insurance premium will be eye-watering. Similarly, you want a car you can trust, that will get you through those important first couple of years without endless breakdowns or costly service charges to contend with.

A hatchback is simply a car that has a full width boot which opens upwards towards the sky and pivots at or near the roof.
This provides a huge opening to the boot. Most also have back seats that fold down. That combined with the large boot opening make these very practical cars for travelling with cargo, suitcases, fridges or even small sofas!

Look up any lists of best car models for new drivers you care to find, and the type which dominates almost unanimously is the hatchback. Owning a hatchback as a first car has practically become a rite of passage for millions of new drivers. Affordable to buy and cheap to run, one of the big advantages of a hatchback is that the small engine size keeps insurance costs down. Small engine size might not appeal to a generation brought up on Need for Speed-type video games, but in reality this is another bonus for new drivers, as it makes hatchbacks extremely easy to handle on the roads.

Practical Hatchback

Practical Hatchback

Another advantage over finely tuned cars is that hatchbacks tend to be anything but temperamental. They are built to provide solid service, and many manufacturers offer impressive warranty lengths of several years to back up their reliability.

Finally, there is one more benefit of a small car new drivers should not turn their noses up at. When it comes to parallel parking in a tight space, it will never be easier than in a hatchback.

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Buying Second-Hand and Revealing a Car’s History

In the market for a second-hand vehicle? It can be daunting to navigate such a large market, but when you know what to look for and how to find it you should not have too much trouble. It is vital that you are thorough with your search and are not rushed into any decisions as there are a lot of dishonest sellers out there and the vehicle may not be as advertised.

Checking the Car Over

Once you think you have found the right vehicle, the first thing to do will be to check it over and take it for a test drive. This will involve much more than simply kicking the tyres – fortunately, there is a lot of helpful information online to help you with this process. In addition to this, a smart move is to enlist the help of a mechanic who will be able to provide their assessment of the automobile. This ensures that it is safe to drive and will give you peace of mind.

The History

A lot of motorists think that this is enough to determine whether or not they should purchase the vehicle, but this is absolutely not the case. Equally important is learning the history of the vehicle – this will indicate if there are any recurring issues, how many owners it has had, how far it has travelled and if it has a hidden history (stolen, unpaid parking tickets, previously written-off, outstanding finance etc.)

A hidden history could reveal itself further down the line and cause a major issue for the buyer. In addition to this, concealing an aspect of the vehicle’s past may allow the seller to negotiate a higher price. This is why it is absolutely essential that you carry out a vehicle history check before making a purchase on a used-car. The seller may have done this themselves, but it is always worth doing it yourself for peace of mind.

Uncovering the History

These checks, available from companies like cap hpi, reveal an in-depth history and everything that you need to know to make an intelligent decision. You should ensure that there are no major issues with the car’s history, and also check that this information matches what the seller advertises.

Buying a used car can be daunting, but by knowing how to inspect a vehicle and how to reveal its history it should allow you to search with confidence and find exactly what you are looking for.

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New Citroen C4 Picasso

Right now it is difficult to see a better practical family car hitting the roads than the new Citroen C4 Picasso anytime soon. In addition to being a stylish and attractive car, this is also one which is surprisingly spacious, comfortable and efficient and has been very well received. Here is everything you need to know about this great vehicle:


This MPV is a mid-sized people carrier that has been given a fresh makeover, including a sleek headlamp unit and body-coloured bumper that gives it a modern very feel. It is immediately recognisable as a Citroen thanks to the trademark three-stage light signature. There are also two fantastic new colours to choose from – Lazuli Blue and Soft Sand.

The 2017 Citroen C4 Picasso

The 2017 Citroen C4 Picasso


Despite being a compact 4.4metres by 1.8 metres, the new Picasso C4 is extremely spacious and comfortable inside which makes it a great choice for families. This is thanks to the clever design, luxurious materials and impressive features like the electric massage (yes you read that correctly!) and adjustable footrest in the front seats. The elongated wheelbase allows for passengers to stretch out with plenty of legroom. There is also a larger seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso available for larger families.


The new Picasso C4 features a refined BlueHDi engine that delivers CO2 emissions of just 99g/km and fuel consumption of 74.3mpg- the best in its class and ensuring that it is very cheap to run. In terms of driving, it is a comfortable experience with responsive handling, but it does not reach blistering speeds which makes it a good choice for city use.

It also features a host of impressive driver aids, including active blind-spot monitoring, active safety brake, speed limit recognition, adaptive cruise control with stop function and various others. Motorists will also enjoy the fantastic onboard equipment, which will make any journey easier, more comfortable and more enjoyable. This includes an intuitive 7-inch Touch Drive interface and new 3D navigation system which can be voice controlled.


In addition to very low running costs, you can find this vehicle for affordable prices brand new when you know where to look. Places like Robins & Day make it simple to find a range of models and trim levels, as well as different finance options.

The new Citroen C4 Picasso is a leader in its class thanks to its stylish design, spacious interior, impressive technology and superb efficiency. For those in the market for an MPV with excellent practical touches, you cannot go wrong with this vehicle.

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Just Where Are The Best Deals on Wheels?

When looking to buy a car there is certainly no shortage of choice. The UK has over 4,900 franchised dealers plus many more generalists. Car auctions, internet sites and private ads offer even more options but this still leaves many buyers wondering just where is the best place to get a really good deal.

For most people, a car is likely to be the second most expensive single item that they will ever buy and so it is important to get it right. There is certainly plenty of choice and if you are looking to buy a used car in the London area, it is possible to find almost every conceivable make and model within a radius of a few miles. The first decision is whether to buy new or second-hand. New car sales are booming, fuelled largely by some of the new methods of financing them such as personal contract plans and leasing as new recruits to the world of motoring consider car ownership very much along the same lines as mobile phone contracts with a continuous monthly charge and regular upgrades being the order of the day. The canny buyer, however, realises that such a throw-away mentality results in some great cars appearing on the second-hand market and it usually means that the first owner has paid dearly for the privilege of new car ownership or lease. A car’s value depends on several things but one of the most predictable is its age and the depreciation curve is invariably steeper in its early days.

By steering clear of the lure of new cars, a buyer may suddenly realise that his budget will now stretch to a much better specified car. Most car purchases involve the heart more than the head and even our London buyer may fancifully visualise cruising along deserted country roads with the roof down whereas, in reality, a nose-to-tail daily commute is probably much more likely with emission levels and congestion charges figuring highly in any car buying decision.

There are undoubtedly some great bargains to be found but the risks should not be underestimated. Perhaps the ideal car could be almost new or fairly young, low mileage, well maintained and with a known history. An ex-demonstrator from a franchised dealer or an ex-lease car could probably fit the bill and some of those previously used by disabled people under the Motability leasing scheme can often be exceptionally good but the range of vehicles on offer may be rather limited. Buying ex-fleet vehicles is another option to be considered but some of these may have covered high mileages and a used taxi or minibus is certainly not to be recommended.

Another interesting idea is to check what vehicles are available from car rental companies such as those offered under the Hertz Rent2Buy scheme. The idea that ex-rental cars have been roughly treated by uncaring drivers is simply not borne out by the facts and there are some real gems to be found. Hertz even allow for an extended test drive in the form of rental for a few days so there should be no unpleasant surprises here!

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