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Gemma Louise

July 10, 2019

Owning a car Young driver stories 8 min read

Hi everyone, I’m Gemma and I blog over at www.gemmalouise.co.uk. Last week I upgraded my little Peugeot 108 to a bigger model, the 208 and I thought I’d share the process with you all. This is my second car, so the whole experience was a lot different than it was with my first car purchase – and you might find some of this helpful even if you haven’t bought a car yet.

Why I decided to get a new car

So like I mentioned above, my first car was a little Peugeot 108. I went for something small because I was a first-time driver and I didn’t feel that I could drive anything bigger than that. Obviously, with your first car, you build up your driving confidence and a year on, I’m such a confident driver now. I have a two-year-old little boy and I don’t find my Peugeot 108 very practical for me. The boot just about fits in his pushchair and that’s it, no room for anything else! Not only that but it’s only a 4 seat car so even the back seats have very limited space, too. The front seat has to be quite far forward too because of his big car seat and we travel quite a lot, so our luggage is always crammed into the back of the car and it’s just not ideal for me when I’ve got a lot to take around on road-trips.

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What I had in mind for my new car

I knew I wanted something bigger, but not only that I wanted something more powerful. My previous car had quite a small engine and with all the miles we do (we drive all over the country!) I was in need of something with more power. I knew I didn’t want anything too big, but definitely bigger than my little 108! More space on the back seats as well as a larger boot so it could fit more than just a buggy in was key.

Paying off my finance

I got my first car on 5-year finance which in hindsight was a bit of a mistake for me. At the time I thought I’d have that car for years, but boy was I so so wrong! This is something to bear in mind if you’re about to buy your first car because if I could go back in time, I would definitely do things differently – either I’d select a shorter finance term, or opt for a bigger car to start with. My first car was quite an expensive buy at £7000 and even after trading it in I still had a good £2000 to pay off on the finance. Not ideal but I was so desperate for an upgrade that I sorted something out to be able to pay it all off.

Going on some test drives

I think test drives are so important when it comes to buying a car. I had my eye on a Ford Fiesta and when I drove it, I just wasn’t a fan at all. Imagine if I’d have bought one without knowing what it was like to drive! I drove the Peugeot 208 and I loved it instantly so that’s kind of how I knew that was the one for me. It’s also good to test drive cars with different power if you’re after something with a bigger engine on it, as the test drive will confirm if it’s the right one for you.

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Deciding on the car for me!

Obviously, the test drive played a huge part, but I also made sure to have a good look at different cars in person before I decided on ‘the one’. I really loved the look of the Peugeot 208 but wasn’t a massive fan of the Ford Fiesta up close. I’d loved the look of one my friend had but when I was actually looking at it up close I just preferred the Peugeot by far. I loved the interior of the Peugeot more too, not just the outside of it! I also know someone who works at the Peugeot garage so I think that helped, it’s important to get advice off someone you trust when it comes to cars – especially if you’re like me and don’t know that much about them. He told me a few things about the Peugeot that really swayed my decision and made me want one much more than the Ford I had been looking at.

Picking up the car

The buying process was really smooth, albeit a bit slow as I’m super impatient. The car had to be delivered to the dealership so I had a good week wait for that and then it had a bit of work done to it. It was a lot less complicated than I thought it would be. A quick phone call to sort out my insurance, and then just an email to swap over the breakdown cover to the new car. The documents and everything else was sorted out by the dealership so it’s good to buy from someone who will do all that for you, makes it a lot less stressful!

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Am I happy with my new car?

Overall I’m super happy with my new car, it was everything I wanted in a new car and I definitely made the right decision. I will definitely miss my old car, even though she wasn’t very practical she was so cute and got me through my first year of driving – we had some good times! But my new car is so much more practical for me – I can actually fit shopping in my boot now and I can carry more passengers than I could before. The power on it is amazing and I can do little things that I couldn’t before, like overtake tractors on little country roads as it speeds up wayyyy faster than my old car did. It took too long to overtake most things before so I didn’t dare! We are travelling down to Cornwall this month and it’s a 7 hour drive down for me so it will be amazing for all that motorway driving.

My car buying top tips

If you’re looking at buying a car or just upgrading your current car, I would definitely recommend having a think about what cars you like before going to view them. Having two or three in mind, and then going to look at them in person and giving them a test drive really helps. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes from just liking the look of something online. Make sure you pay off your finance (if you can) before thinking about buying a new car as otherwise, it can get a bit complicated – some dealerships will pay off your finance for you, if you exchange your car but this can then add an additional cost onto your new finance – it can all be a bit of a mind field. If you spend as much time in your car as I do, it’s definitely a great feeling to have something bigger and better.

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Gemma Louise profile

By Gemma Louise

'I'm Gemma, I'm 24 and a full-time blogger and photographer. I'm a solo mama to a two-year-old who is the best little sidekick. I've recently passed my driving test and it's one of the best things I've ever done, the freedom is immense. I love driving!'  See more posts by Gemma

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