Driver Hub  Owning a car  Buying and selling   Buying a car: expectations vs reality
Frustrated woman in front of car with bonnet open

Buying a car: expectations vs reality

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

February 5, 2018

Owning a car Young driver stories 5 min read

I’ve been looking at buying my first car ever since I can remember. Most people at least wait until they’ve started their driving lessons but not me! I couldn’t wait to get my own wheels and almost every car I saw was a contender, so when it came to actually getting my first car I could’ve cried. Now I’m not saying there’s the perfect time to buy your first car. I know people who’ve waited years after they’ve passed their test before getting their own, and if I’m honest – I wish I had waited! So let’s take a look at how my extremely high expectations of my first car didn’t quite go to plan.

I bought a banger…

I restarted my driving lessons after I had finished university, and I wanted to get my own car to practice in alongside my lessons because I knew that private practice was going to be super helpful and if I could get 1 years No Claims Discount under my belt then why not!?

At this point, I really wasn’t fussed about a flash new car! I just wanted a little run around that I could call my own, and with that, I found what I thought was the perfect little ride – a 2005 Ford KA. Like most of my shopping habits, I found it online and found myself getting so eager and impatient that before I knew it, I was arranging to go and view it.

I took my Dad with me because in all honesty, I have absolutely no idea what I’m looking at. For me, if it’s a nice colour, has got 4 wheels and turns on then it’s perfect – right? Wrong. I knew there would be more technical things to look at so taking someone with more experience was a great idea. Now, according to my Dad, there was a slight problem with the exhaust (I think) but that was a quick fix and the car seemed to be an absolute steal. £360 for a car that only needed the smallest bit of work? SOLD! We drove it home the same day. Have I mentioned how impatient I can get?

The excitement I got was borderline ridiculous. Yes, I sat in the car without the ignition on pretending to drive whilst sorting out my insurance so I could really get driving (we’ve all been there… right?).


Cheap isn’t always best…

All in all, I managed to drive my little blue Ford KA around the block twice before it completely broke. I was gutted! It turns out there were way bigger problems with the car and more seemed to get uncovered every time I thought about it. Mechanics quoted it would cost me around £600 to fix, and since the car didn’t even cost me that much – there was no way I was doing that! Plus, I was straight out of university so I really didn’t have the money. You know when something seems too good to be true?

In total, my little KA has cost me more money than it was worth. I had to cancel my insurance so I never got the No Claims Discount I wanted, and the private practice I did manage equates to zero because I was too worried about a door falling off, that I couldn’t concentrate on improving my driving skills!


My first second car

Luckily, since my disaster of a first car, I have managed to become a bit more patient. Instead of having to explain to people that my first car was a bust, I get to explain that my first (second) car is a brand new Vauxhall Adam Slam, on order, that will be with me soon. It turned out to be much more affordable than I thought it would be. This excitement trumps the feeling I had before because I know the risk of it breaking is SO minimal. I think the part I’m most excited for is the novelty of my car not wearing off, unlike the shortest lived excitement of my last car – which was around 50 metres. My little KA gave me no sense of freedom, or extra practice when learning to drive. All it actually gave me, was a headache. Now – I’ve got a brand new car on the way with a year’s free insurance, 12 months tax covered AND I don’t have to worry about it going in for an MOT for 3 whole years!? I’m winning.


It goes to show that your first car may not always be the best car. Do you have a first car fail like Chloe’s? She has taken the plunge and has got a brand new car on finance! Let’s hope this one lasts a bit longer than her first…

Cars for Young Drivers→

Check out our range of brand new cars and finance offers to suit you!

Chloe Martell profile

By Chloe Martell

'As a new driver, I'm so eager to share my driving journey with you all - from when I was a learner, going through my test and all the aspects of my driving life now, including my love of cars!'  See more posts by Chloe

Share this article

Angry man in car pointing
Learning to drive News Young driver stories 6 min read

Victims of road rage - Learner driver stories

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

October 17, 2019

As many of you know, we’re petitioning for change on how learner drivers are treated when they’re on the roads. Astonishingly, 90% of learner drivers have been subject to tailgating and overtaking when in their…Read more

Young girl in car
Driving advice Owning a car Young driver stories 6 min read

Kimberley's MOT misery

Kimberley Dodge profile

Kimberley Dodge

September 27, 2019

Fear. Dread. Horror. No, I’m not talking about the rush of panic when you spot a spider in your bedroom. I’m talking about the stab of fright that pierces your heart when you hear the…Read more

Interior Audi A1 steering wheel
Owning a car 7 min read

Audi A1 - Chloe's review

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

March 7, 2020

As a young driver, whilst I like to think that reading reviews about cars from petrol heads will help me when it comes to choosing my car, it really doesn’t. I want to know what…Read more