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Buying a first car for your son or daughter? 4 models you should really see first

This week, we’re taking a look at starter cars for test passers.

Image: DoneDeal

WHEN IT COMES to getting a car for your daughter or son, there are some important things to consider. The number one priority for most will be finding a vehicle that is safe and also reliable. After all, you don’t want them to be stranded at the side of the road anywhere.

If they’re learning to drive then some other practical aspects – like ease of use – should be considered. Popular advice for novice drivers often includes buying a car that you won’t be overly precious about, as it may endure a few bumps and scrapes during its lifetime.

Having a car that is also insurance-friendly is going to be a bonus, though the rising cost of premiums is making it more difficult for younger drivers to find suitable cover.

Here’s a look at just some of the potential cars that you may want to consider if you were purchasing a first car for one of your (not so) little ones.

1. Hyundai i10 (2014 onwards)

Source: DoneDeal

On a practical front, the Hyundai i10 hits all the key points. Its compact dimensions make it easy to fit into almost any parking space, it comes in five-door form, and it has generous amounts of room inside given its small size.

Within this segment of the market there’s isn’t a great deal to separate the competitors, but in our experience, the i10 is one of the best cars in the class to drive. It feels solid, and its 1.0-litre petrol engine has enough power to make it feel reasonably nippy and should be economical to run.

It is classed in lower insurance groupings, and it scored four stars in the Euro NCAP test in 2014, scoring well in adult and child occupant protection.

2. Ford Fiesta (2013-2017)

Source: DoneDeal

If you’d prefer something a little bigger, the Ford Fiesta ranks as one of the best small cars money can buy. It has sold in considerable numbers here, so there’s plenty of choice in the used market too.

During its time on sale, Ford offered several diesel and petrol engines. Our pick would be the 1.0-litre EcoBoost, as it suits the car and has enough power to suit the car, though you may not find it as fuel efficient in the real world as the figures may claim.

In addition to there being plenty of choices, there’s also an extensive network of Ford dealers, so finding a serving location nearby shouldn’t be a problem. We think sticking to the manual transmission is the better choice also.

3. Dacia Sandero (2013 onwards)

Source: DoneDeal

Getting on the road can be expensive, but if you still want a relatively new car without breaking the budget consider looking at the Dacia Sandero.

The Sandero is Dacia’s small car, and while it might not have the prestige or kerbside appeal of others, it remains a sensible choice. The interior is roomy and is robust enough – don’t expect to find lots of soft surfaces in here.

These cars didn’t cost a great deal when they were new, so you should be able to pick up a used model for a decent price. Our advice would be to stick with the petrol engine, as the diesel does little to make the car more fun to drive.

4. Toyota Yaris (2006-2011)

Source: DoneDeal

The Yaris has been on Irish roads since the late nineties but this second-generation model represents good value for money, and there’s still a healthy choice of models available.

Despite being a little older, these should still be easy to insure, and generally, the car has a reliable track record. There are a number of JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) versions on the roads, and these are usually badged as a Toyota Vitz but are essentially the same car.

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About the author:

Dave Humphreys

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