Getting your first set of wheels is tremendously exciting. That chance to control where you go is intoxicating, which is why picking your very first car is quite a big deal. It’s something that thousands of people do each year, but it’s actually quite a personal choice when it boils down to it.

There’s a lot to consider when picking your first car but, fortunately, we’ve got some key pointers to follow. You can also check out our latest How to Car video kicking off season two here – it’s all about getting your perfect first car.

Look beyond the price tag

It can be easy to get hung up on the outright cost of a car. You’ve set yourself a budget and – boom – you’ve found a car that fits the bill. But there’s a lot more to consider than just buying the car itself.

Insurance is, of course, the biggest consideration. For many new drivers it could end up exceeding the cost of the car, so it’s well worth doing your research here. Pick a variety of models and get some quotes – it’ll mean you’re better prepared and informed to make a decision based not only on the car’s price but how much it’ll cost to insure, too. You should also take into account tax, MOT costs and how much you’ll need to pay to fill it up. Check beforehand and it should help avoid any unwanted surprises.

Consider getting a black box insurance policy

Not finding an insurance policy that works for you? One that uses a black box might help to drive down the cost of a premium. They work by monitoring your driving style, how quickly you’re driving and the severity of your braking to judge your premium costs. Drive more sensibly and they’ll go down; become a careless driver and you’ll see them shoot up. It definitely incentivises careful driving.

New or second hand?

There’s the ever-present discussion about going new or used for your first car. For instance, a new car might appear expensive to begin with, but thanks to low-interest PCP schemes it might end up being more affordable than you think. Plus, you can get an additional warranty cover which should protect you from any expensive repairs.

There is, of course, a catch. New cars lose their value far more quickly than used one – so you’ll notice a sting if you buy outright – while those PCP finance deals will require a chunky final payment if you fancy owning it at the end of the end. If you’d like to know more about financing a car, you can check out our video from Season 1 here.

If you’re buying second hand then you won’t have to pay as much up front. Plus, if you’re able to buy it outright then there’s less to worry about with no payment plans or interest to worry about. You can, of course, still PCP a used car or use another type of payment option.

However, used cars only come with shorter warranties – or sometimes won’t come with one at all. You might have to pay more when it comes to servicing and repairs, too, which will eat into your saving over a new car.

Make sure you’re comfortable with it

Whichever car you pick, make sure you’re comfortable with it. Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to go out and test drive it, so take someone who is experienced with cars along for the ride and they’ll be able to relay what they can feel to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t worry about walking away, either; if you’re not happy, then there’s always another car to choose. In fact, there is a wealth of cars available on right now, so check out our features on the best cars for first-time drivers here and here.