Whether it be your pride and joy, an extension of your unique personality or simply a way of getting from A to B, a car can say a lot about you. You may have your heart set on the latest Aston Martin or Lamborghini but unfortunately, the younger generation often have to prioritise price over style, here, I present to you my top 5 reasonably priced cars for students, just in time for when our biggest loans of the year start to roll in, on the 8th of April.
Number 1. Volkswagen Polo Mk.4
This sporty number is a very safe choice; the Volkswagen badge is a guarantee of reliability and high build quality, meaning that even second hand, they are likely to still be in good working order (even if its past its prime, aesthetically speaking). The Volkswagen also comes with a 4-star passenger safety rating according to euro NCAP, which is to be expected from German engineering.
Number 2. Fiat Grande Punto (2006)
Next up is the sporty Italian option. Some may say that the fiat badge is a sign of inferior build quality and reliability, however, these little machines are one of the best deals on the market, for value for money with a safety rating of 5 stars for occupants and 3 stars for pedestrians according to euro NCAP. Buyer beware, safety ratings of new models may be significantly worse than the 2006 model, as our science editor knows from bitter experience. You can find models for as little as £600, however, you may need to fork out a couple of hundred extra in order to find a model with lower mileage and full MOT history (which is something that you should always look for, to ensure the car has passed all safety checks. If the car does not already have one, always try to negotiate with the owner to get an MOT done, before you exchange money!).
Number 3. Ford Ka
Looks like Wayne gives the Ford Ka an EverTEN!. This may not be the sexiest of the options, and Wayne Rooney may not be the one to convince you, but if you’re in the market for a reliable run-around to simply allow you to get from point A to B, then look no further than the Ford Ka. You can easily pick up a model in good shape for less than £1000 and with such a small engine insurance unlikely to break the bank either, the Ka is a great option for students with a limited budget. What’s more, the KA comes with a 3-star safety rating; something you and your parents will be glad for, since this thoroughbred can reach a tyre blistering of 96MPH (despite being able to reach this speed, it is not legal to do so, unless on a track, so don’t risk your licence for a minute of speed!).
Number 4. The Mini Cooper
One of my star picks is the 2001-2006 Mini Cooper. The original Mini, a quintessentially British beauty, has always been stylish motor, and this revamped version has kept that timeless style whilst combining it with the excellence of BMW engineering. It’s that world-renowned German engineering that has helped make the Mini one of Britain’s best-selling cars. Minis come in such a variety of specifications that there really are models out there to suit anybody, making the car popular with such celebrities as former teenage heartthrob Robert Pattinson and automotive aficionado Jay Leno. Now, you may have to fork out slightly more for the mini, possibly as much as £1500 for a newer and lower mileage model, however, the mini is overall a better car, receiving a 4/5 star rating from Parker car reviews. Features such as a 4-star safety rating show that you really do get what you pay for with this little gem.
Number 5. Renault Clio
Va Va Voom. The 2001 Renault Clio epitomises the quick and nippy hot hatch. An extremely fun car to drive which is as at home on busy city streets as it is on winding country roads. Affordable too, with decent models available for £1000, more impressively, the Clio has been awarded a 5-star safety rating by euro NCAP, which is higher than any of our other choices. It’s certainly a look which hasn’t aged a day although you may find that those good looks have come at the expense of the passengers comfort with a slightly pokey interior. But don’t let that worry you, drivers will be glad of the snug driving position as they unleash all 68 of the Clio’s horse power. It may be true that the Clio can’t beat the Volkswagen and Ford when it comes to reliability but in terms of behind the wheel fun the Clio wins hands down, I can assure you!
So, there we have it. There are many other cars that would suffice and do much more, as well as being suitable for all student budgets, many of which can be found on the Top Gear website’s rankings for 2018/19.
With all second hand cars, though, we must remind you that it is essential to be confident in what you are purchasing! Always ask yourself these following questions:
- Is it a reputable seller?
A company such as Available Car is often a more guaranteed option than the guy down the road and behind the alley.
- Has the car got a full service history and MOT certificates?
This may sound complicated to some, but all you need to see is that the car has been looked after, and is in compliance with UK motor standards. These certificates will also let you know if there has been anything changed from the original model, either a paint job because someone changed their mind on bright orange, or if a side panel has been replaced because of an accident. Any car that has been in an accident is always something to be aware of, because of the damage that may have been done beneath the surface, that you can’t see from a quick glance.
- What is the mileage?
Mileage on a car tells you how far the car has been driven. We all remember that scene in Matilda when the dad fixes the mileage, and the cars are already worn out. A higher mileage is like an older age – a greater risk of damages occurring, because of more fragile joints. Just be aware and try to get a car with the lowest miles possible!
- Will the car do what you need it to?
The really funky Smart Car might be great for students who need to get from Smithdown, to University Campus, and back, but they aren’t the best for getting up to the speeds needed on a motorway. If you are travelling home every weekend or so, look for a car that has a good MPG, and can reach those speeds that will get you from the filter lane and onto the motorway safely.
Cars are great, and learning to drive is what many 17-year-olds want, but when it comes to choosing a car, there are far more important things to consider than just the colour and the badge. Safety is the most important thing, followed by actually serving a purpose. Choose a car that works hard for you, does what you need, and keeps you safe.
For more advice on insurance, car safety and other motor enquiries, visit the following website: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/categories/car-insurance