Car for my Daughter to learn in?

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Welly
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Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by Welly » Tue May 24, 2016 8:45 am

We might be on the look out for a cheap car for my Daughter to learn to drive in (or be able to practice in alongside her lessons). The plan* would be to run it for its purpose and then sack it off, she won't need a car if she goes off to Uni etc.

Insurance wise: I think it would be best for me to insure it with her as a named (additional) driver under my supervision. Someone else we know did this and the cost was quite reasonable on the basis that the learnee is not driving alone?

Car wise: It's probably going to end up that I retire the Volvo for a few months and use this other cheapo thing for work/learning. I remember Highlander found a quirk in the insurance where it was cheaper to insure a Mazda MX5 roadster that an 'ordinary' hatchback?? this sounds interesting and would fit both needs although I'm buggered if I'm driving anything rag-toppy with the actual roof down that would be embarrassing.

Would it be worth asking my insurer if they wouldn't mind a 17 year old girl driving my 220bhp Volvo? I dunno? could go either way?

Any experience/recommendings welcome.
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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by highlander » Tue May 24, 2016 9:29 am

The key seems to be to look for something that your average 17-year-old would never be seen driving. Cars that you would expect them to drive would typically include very low-powered (50 - 70 HP) naturally aspirated petrol engines, front wheel drive, usually smaller cars - stuff like Nissan Micra, VW Polo, etc. will generally turn out to be more expensive to insure than you would expect. I am guessing that the average driver of these cars is more likely to have an accident, therefore driving one of these cars is seen as higher risk, meaning higher premiums. Therefore, the trick is to buy something that is statistically less likely to be involved in an accident, something typically driven by the safer, more careful driver.

We found that it would be cheaper to insure a Mk.1 MX5 1.6 than it would be to insure him on pretty much any small hatchback. We viewed one locally and agreed to buy it, but then we found that the owner had fitted coilover suspension, and the insurance company said they couldn't cover the car given the modifications made. It would have been prohibitively expensive to put the car back on to standard suspension, so we had to go back to the seller, very apologetically, and say that we couldn't buy it after all (it wasn't a big deal; we hadn't exchanged money, and he hadn't taken down his advert yet; it was only a few hours later).

(There are many removable hard-tops available for the MX5; if you went down that route, and decided you liked the thing enough to keep it, that might be a way to keep your street cred)

He ended up buying a facelifted 5-door Mk1 (2002) Ford Focus Zetec hatchback with a 1.6 petrol engine. The insurance was slightly cheaper than it would have been for the MX5 (if it was stock). The insurance on a gen-5 Fiesta (2002 - 2008) with a 1.3 petrol engine was higher than the MX5.

The Mk.1 Focus is actually an excellent car - the 1.6 seems to be the most highly-recommended engine (even though there was a 1.8 and a 2.0 in petrol form that give faster 0-60). The 1.6 engine is light and very rev-happy, and it "feels" quite nippy when accelerating around town. It's also quite economical. The suspension is pretty decent, and other than a little bit of body roll (as it has a higher centre-of-gravity than the 406 saloon or Coupe) in the corners, it's a lot of fun to drive on twisty country roads.

The biggest worry with these is inevitably going to be rust around the sills, wheel arches, and the bottoms of the doors. Mechanically, they're pretty much bullet-proof. The interior on the Zetec trim model he has is quite spartan (manual cloth seats, manual wing mirror adjustment, and no air conditioning) but it does have electric windows all round, a CD player, and speakers that don't sound terrible. And being a hatchback, it has quite a useful boot, with rear seats that fold down for added load-lugging capabilities.

If you can find a Mk.1 Focus without serious rust woes, that's a really good shout for a first car. The ST170 model had a very nice leather interior, and there are enough 3-door and 5-door versions of that languishing in scrap yards for you to consider an interior swap if you wanted to upgrade a lower-spec model (the ST170 only had the 2.0 petrol engine and would be a lot more expensive for a younger driver to insure).

I have also seen young drivers on Pistonheads buying things like 1980s Jaguar/Daimler saloons, complete with V8 engines and car phones, and getting really, really cheap insurance for those.

Insurance-wise - NO - she should have the insurance in her name, with you as a named driver. While this will mean the insurance is higher, there's less chance of being convicted of insurance fraud - they may consider this as "fronting". You should fully expect the insurance to go up as soon as she has passed her test, simply because she will no longer require supervision from an experienced driver.
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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by lozz » Tue May 24, 2016 11:19 am

For a 1st time car ID recommend a fiat..

Ihad a little panda for a while..its something most wouid laugh at but..£10 unleaded lasted me over 2 week.
Group 1 insurance.. Nippy & reliable. (For round town use)
When I traded it in for the Mondeo..igot more back then ipaid for it..

The Ford ka is a good car for a 1st one too.. But they're rust buckets or can be.

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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by highlander » Tue May 24, 2016 11:32 am

lozz wrote:For a 1st time car ID recommend a fiat..

Ihad a little panda for a while..its something most wouid laugh at but..£10 unleaded lasted me over 2 week.
Group 1 insurance.. Nippy & reliable. (For round town use)
When I traded it in for the Mondeo..igot more back then ipaid for it..

The Ford ka is a good car for a 1st one too.. But they're rust buckets or can be.
My brother bought himself a Fiat Punto 1.2 as his first car, not long after I got myself the 406 saloon. It wasn't all that old (I think around 5 years). The head gasket went on it not long after he bought it.

The Ka is definitely one of the "common first/learner driver cars" I was talking about; the insurance on that might be (un)reasonably high.
2002 (D9) Peugeot 406 Coupe SE, 2.2 litre Petrol. Scarlet Red/Rouge Ecarlate/Rosso Scarlatto. Black Leather interior. SOLD :(
2008 (E60 LCI) BMW 525i M-Sport, 3.0 litre Petrol. Carbonschwarz Metallic. Black Dakota Leather and Myrtlewood interior.

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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by lozz » Tue May 24, 2016 11:40 am

The punto is prone for hg failure..
There is a design flaw with the heater matrix..(so they build up air pockets)
The hg don't fail on them if they're bled properly.

The panda has the same engine (fire) and they're not prone like the punto.


* forgot to add Suzuki to the list. Swift/alto ?

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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by steve_earwig » Tue May 24, 2016 2:07 pm

Welly wrote:...although I'm buggered if I'm driving anything rag-toppy with the actual roof down that would be embarrassing.
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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by highlander » Tue May 24, 2016 2:33 pm

lozz wrote:* forgot to add Suzuki to the list. Swift/alto ?
The Swift is a good car, from what I hear of it.

Welly, anyone can get away with driving a convertible. Just as long as you put on your best "Yeah, what of it?" face and a set of sunglasses.

I wouldn't mind driving a soft-top, but I have a terrible phobia about bees and wasps - I'd end up wrapping the thing (and my face) around a tree
2002 (D9) Peugeot 406 Coupe SE, 2.2 litre Petrol. Scarlet Red/Rouge Ecarlate/Rosso Scarlatto. Black Leather interior. SOLD :(
2008 (E60 LCI) BMW 525i M-Sport, 3.0 litre Petrol. Carbonschwarz Metallic. Black Dakota Leather and Myrtlewood interior.

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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by Welly » Tue May 24, 2016 3:10 pm

Highlander wrote:Welly, anyone can get away with driving a convertible. Just as long as you put on your best "Yeah, what of it?" face and a set of sunglasses.
I've got a small* area on top of my head where the skin has grown through my hair* for that reason I would kinda look like some sad mid-life crisis case who can only afford a cheap old Sports* car and is therefore* a loser obviously struggling to cope since getting divorced and being ostracized at work and by most of his friends. Neighbours would look at the amount of empty cans in his recycling which he takes out late on a Thursday night, John and Barbara live next door and have a new Nissan Squashpie on finance. John thinks he must be struggling and offers to help tidy the front Garden which looked unkempt..........oh wait wrong Forum :oops:

I like your reasoning about picking unusual cars though, it makes perfect sense. I think I'll go for a Cortina 2.0S 8) :shock:
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2005 Volvo S40 T5 a bit pampered
2010 Citroen C4 1.6 HDi turbo de' explosions
2010 Renner Twingo refreshingly simple

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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by steve_earwig » Tue May 24, 2016 3:47 pm

I had one of those, completely with typically useless Ford locks. It went missing :frown:

I know nothing (apart from I'm glad I don't have to worry about it) but wasn't there a lad in the papers a few years back who found the only vehicle he could insure without selling a kidney was a... tractor :shock:
Unskilled meddling sin©e 2007

2004 D9 2.0 HDi 110 Estate lhd VF38ERHZF81657352 - sold but being very well looked after.
1991 Yamaha TDM850 - fuel leaks galore!
2008 Toyota Recall4 2.0 VVTI ATM LHD JTMBH31V90D007261 - flimsy piece of crap.
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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by highlander » Tue May 24, 2016 5:12 pm

Victory (in cases of buying a cheap car for a learner driver) comes when their insurance premium is less than the purchase price of the vehicle.

I remember a few years ago reading about a guy who'd bought a brand new Fiesta (I think it was) for his son. The insurance quotes came back as being more expensive than the car - literally tens of thousands of pounds. This is why you check insurance quotes *before* you buy the car.

Re. the Cortina idea - other than the fact that classic Fords seem to be going for *ludicrous* prices these days, it's perfect. Classic car insurance has often been used as a means for new drivers to get behind the wheel for sensible money. Obviously only works for older cars though.

Locks on cars of the Cortina era were pretty useless in general, not just with Fords. I remember reading tales of people who had locked their key in their car, and got back into the car by asking a passing motorist to try their key in the lock instead (and it worked). Never experienced this myself; the oldest car I've been in was my old Mk 1 Clio (complete with infra-red central locking)
2002 (D9) Peugeot 406 Coupe SE, 2.2 litre Petrol. Scarlet Red/Rouge Ecarlate/Rosso Scarlatto. Black Leather interior. SOLD :(
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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by D4B » Tue May 24, 2016 5:28 pm

Welly wrote:Insurance wise: I think it would be best for me to insure it with her as a named (additional) driver under my supervision. Someone else we know did this and the cost was quite reasonable on the basis that the learnee is not driving alone?
We are just about to insure our 17 year old daughter to learn to drive......

I have it on good authority that it is better to name them as the vehicle owner, insure them as the main driver, with parents (or guardians etc) as named drivers.

Just ran a quote through for her last night on a 2005 Ford Ka, as detailed above, came back at £480 for the year, and that was our chosen insurer, not the cheapest quote!

I also understand that once they pass their test, the insurance will go up considerably as they will be "on the loose" on their own.....

This way, at least she will start to earn her own NCD.

Try different variations of your occupations, having a Pharmacist on our quote reduced the price somewhat. We found that Van Driver was more expensive than Delivery Driver....

Cheers Steve
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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by Welly » Tue May 24, 2016 7:15 pm

Cheers D4B that makes sense, you're obvs a good few steps ahead of us. Might still ask about adding her to my Volvo just to hear the stunned silence at the other end of the phone :supafrisk:
Cars in my care:

2005 Volvo S40 T5 a bit pampered
2010 Citroen C4 1.6 HDi turbo de' explosions
2010 Renner Twingo refreshingly simple

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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by Bailes1992 » Tue May 24, 2016 7:52 pm

Have you considered a nice MK4 Astra? They drive reasonably well, you can pick up a very decent example for £500 and they don't have the rust issues that the MK1 Focus does. :supafrisk:
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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by Doggy » Wed May 25, 2016 12:48 pm

:lol:
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Re: Car for my Daughter to learn in?

Post by KozmoNaut » Wed May 25, 2016 4:25 pm

lozz wrote:For a 1st time car ID recommend a fiat..

Ihad a little panda for a while..its something most wouid laugh at but..£10 unleaded lasted me over 2 week.
Group 1 insurance.. Nippy & reliable. (For round town use)
When I traded it in for the Mondeo..igot more back then ipaid for it..

The Ford ka is a good car for a 1st one too.. But they're rust buckets or can be.
I used to drive a Fiat Panda (from 2008), it was a very fun little car, kinda cheeky despite being so square. Extremely practical, too.

The best part was that it was not very fast at all, but it felt fast, which should keep any youthful shenanigans in check.
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