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  • EMG's Guide To Buying Your First Car

EMG's Guide To Buying Your First Car

  • Published: 15 September 2022
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When you pass your driving test, you’re excited (and a little nervous) to get out on the road. Before you do though, the next step is the all-important purchase of your first car, and it’s something that should be carefully considered. Your first set of wheels is not only about affordability, but also the type of car you want to build your confidence in, so you can zip around to your heart’s content. 

At EMG, we’re experienced in helping those that have recently ditched the L plates find their first vehicle, and we’ve learnt a thing or two about making the process easier. Below is our guide to buying your first car, something we’d love for you to do at EMG Motor Group…

Do your research about the car you need

It’s time to get practical about your car use; will it be used regularly for short commutes, long drives, or simply on an ad hoc basis? Will you regularly carry passengers, including children? Do you need driver conveniences such as Bluetooth and Sat Nav?

Getting clear on what you need from your first car will narrow down your search, and ensure you’re not left without the features that would make life easier or paying more for a spec you don’t need.

Work out what you can afford 

Bearing in mind the months of lessons, the test itself, and the rising cost of living, it’s likely that affordability will be underlined on your list of criteria to be hit by your first car. With that in mind, there are several elements to your budgeting that you need to consider: 

Initial cost 

This is probably the most obvious cost involved in the purchase of your next vehicle; the upfront price. While the outlay of buying a car can seem daunting, there are ways you can bring the price down. Buying a used car, for example, from a reputable retailer like EMG Motor Group, can get you a car that's still of high quality, but preloved and therefore cheaper. 

There is also the option of car finance, which allows you to spread the cost of your first car over a series of monthly payments, and this requires a much smaller upfront financial commitment than buying the car outright. This could bring new cars within your reach too, further expanding your options when you’ve got your hands on your license. 


Due to the link between newly-passed drivers and collision rates in the UK, car insurance is notoriously expensive for those who have recently received the go-ahead to go it alone on the roads. It’s well worth shopping around to get the best deal, and be accurate in what you’ll be using the vehicle for, how far you’re likely to travel in it in a year, and where you’ll be parking it at night. 

Cars with generally low insurance premiums include the Kia Picanto, Nissan Micra, MG3, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i10, and the Volkswagen Polo. All of these vehicles are available from EMG Motor Group, either new or used, and it would be our pleasure to guide you toward the perfect one for you. 


Car tax must be paid on eligible vehicles, something that will almost certainly apply to whichever first car you go for. Car tax varies from vehicle to vehicle, so make sure you find out what your first car candidates may cost you annually. 

For cars registered after 1 April 2017

Vehicle tax is due from when the vehicle is first registered, and this covers the vehicle for one year. You’ll then pay a different rate once this year is up, and you can do so at 6-month or 12-month intervals. 

What you pay for during the first year following registration will depend on how much CO2 emissions your car produces per kilometre. From then on, a petrol or diesel car will cost £165 per year to tax, or £155 for vehicles with an alternative fuel type, such as a hybrid, or a car powered by bioethanol and liquid petroleum gas.

For vehicles with a list price of £40K or more (that’s the published price before any discounts), an extra £355 per year will be due, though vehicles that produce £0 emissions are exempt from this, and you only have to pay this for 5 years following the first eligible tax year.

Cars registered between 1st March 2001 and 1 April 2017 

The amount of vehicle tax due on these vehicles will depend on the fuel type and CO2 emissions of the vehicle, so it’s important that you check before you purchase a car registered during this period of time. The upside is that some cars with smaller engines don’t need to pay any tax at all (though it does still need to be officially taxed). You can find this information online, and on the V5 certificate.

Tax for vehicles registered before 1st March 2001 tends to be more straightforward; it’s based on engine size. If the engine size is under 1549, tax for one year will cost £180. If it’s over 1549, you’re looking at £295 per year.

Fuel economy

Smaller engines will see you paying less at the pumps, and are likely to suit your first few months of driving at least. Buying a fuel-efficient car can really keep your monthly costs down, so consider this when you’re car shopping. 

Find your first car at EMG

With a purchase as important as your first set of wheels, it’s important to get the right help and guidance on the whole process, from choosing the right car, to financing, taxing and insuring it. That’s what you can be assured of here at any of EMG’s trusted dealerships, spread across the East Midlands. When it comes to advice on the right car to buy, our experienced sales team at EMG can help. 

Whatever you need from your first car, contact us today with your requirements and we’ll match you with one of our new or used cars.