So How Much Did Daddy Spend On Your First Car?

Automologist and father of three, MAC, wants to know. 

My answer is nuffink, not a bean. In fact, sweet Fanny Adams! My first car, I am proud to tell you, was bought with my hard-earned cash. So, why is this even a question? Well, that is because a little over 18% or one in six parents who just happen to have a child between 16 and 21 years old in Europe will buy a first car for their offspring, according to a recent report.

Parents in the UK seem to be the most generous, with an average spend of GDP3,410 on their child’s first car. The research—undertaken by a company called Parkers, which may seem to be an appropriate name in part—shows just how much parents are willing to shell out, just so their children may experience the joys of driving for the first time. Alternatively, they may be buying the car because they are simply fed-up with being a 24-hour call taxi service, of course.

About a quarter of the parents that did pay out for a new car for their child held the belief that it is the parent’s duty to have done so. Of course, it is natural that a parent waving farewell to a child as they go off to university would want to have a say in the car they are buying. It has to be safe, cheap to run and reliable; after all, you don’t want to get those late-night calls for assistance after the car has broken down outside the student bar.

The choice of first car is quite significant—often the first car you own will influence a lifetime of car-buying decisions. So, here is what the British parents on the survey have been buying for their children…(drum roll, please)…

At the top of the list is the Fiat 500. It has the reputation of being one of the cheapest cars for a youngster to insure and, according to Parkers, has the correct combination of cool, economy and image. Think it is a little girlie for my taste, though.

It is a fun-looking car!


Next up is the Mini One. Of course, this is a little more boy-racer and has the added benefit of the BMW quality and reliability. A bit like the Fiat 500, it is not that practical but then, youngsters these days always look for style and image and not how many bags of shopping you can cram into the boot.

It does have something about it, even in yellow.

Third on the list is the Vauxhall Corsa. A pretty anonymous granny wagon, frankly. But wait, it is also the driving school car of choice. So many of the students would have learnt how to drive in one and thus be comfortable with the choice. Not to mention, of course, that it does have a reputation for reliability.

From certain angles, this can look quite Stylo-Milo.


In at four is the venerable Ford Fiesta. This is the UK’s most popular car by far and has been for a while. Heck, my Mum drives one. As they are so ubiquitous, they are inexpensive to service and parts are cheap, but what is more, they are rated as the best driving supermini, so stick that in your tailpipes, all you Mini One drivers.

Squint a little and this is not a bad-looking car.


Last on the list is the Skoda Citigo. This may seem like the choice of the parent who really didn’t want to buy a car for their kid. But hold your horses for a minute. The Skoda is a VW company now and the Citigo is built on the same platform as the VW UP and SEAT Mii, but is much more reasonably priced. This could be the most sensible buy of the lot.

Boxy but good, as we used to say about Volvos.

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