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Student wheel advice


IF YOU’RE a student, a parent of a student, or a soon-to-be student, there will come a time when you either consider purchasing a vehicle or decide to rely on lifts from friends or public transport. If you’re fortunate enough to have some sort of budget to play with when it comes to a set of wheels, we have a few suggestions.

There are benefits to buying a new car and benefits to buying used. The former means that you are getting a full-length warranty and perhaps a service plan while also having peace of mind knowing that you aren’t buying someone else’s problems. The latter is of course better value; the cheaper used car could be a bargain or it could be a nightmare.

We’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to employ when purchasing a new or used vehicle, while also including a list of good student vehicles to consider:

  • The fuel consumption- As a student you’ll be rationing your money between that social life one needs, as well as food and fuel for your ride so the more frugal the better.
  • If you’re looking at a used car- Insist on proof of a full service and repair history and check that all work was carried out by a reputable mechanic/garage.
  • Take down the vehicle’s identity number- (VIN) and run it by the manufacturer and insurer, to check that there’ve been no claims from the previous owner for an accident or problems from the manufacturer.
  • Inspect the vehicle’s paint- if it looks uneven from panel to panel or one panel looks newer than the other it may have been in a collision. Also check under the carpets in the boot for potential dents or folds from a collision.
  • Get a better deal on a car- We are currently in a buyer’s market with so many options and an economic downturn. If the manufacturer or seller really needs to shift cars they will give you a better deal. If not, there is bound to be another deal around the corner.
  • Ensure that is has a few safety items- Your own safety is the most important thing that you should think about when driving, so check out if the car has an occupant safety cell, ABS brakes and airbags to give yourself some sort of protection in the event of an incident.
  • Ensure that the vehicle is a doddle to maintain in terms of parts pricing and availability. The annual Kinsey report gives a comparative parts pricing basket for many cars and should be where you start while parts availability is something that differs from dealer to dealer, so make sure to do a bit of research.
  • Buy with your head and not your heart- That cute city car may look great or that hot hatch looks like it will go like the clappers but remember, you’re in this for basic transportation so get something practical, reliable and with good resale value. Once you’re working and earning money then purchase your dream car.


Examples of good student cars found on

  • Chevrolet Spark Campus: here
  • Fiat 500 1.2: here

  • Honda Brio: here

  • Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.4: here
  • Toyota Etios: here

  • Suzuki Swift: here

  • Renault Sandero 1.6: here

  • Opel Corsa 1.4: here

  • Nissan Micra: here

  • Mazda 2 1.3 : here

  • Kia Picanto: here

  • Hyundai i10: here

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