If you’re looking to get out on the road for the first time, expensive taste can’t always be satisfied. There’s no shortage of cheap-and-cheerful hatchbacks and superminis available at the bottom end of the market – particularly if you’re willing to go second-hand. But if you want to drive in the lap of luxury, you’ll need to put your hand in your pocket.
Well, not quite. There are some models which successfully offer premium-level qualities, while still appealing to first-time buyers. Let’s take a look at some of the more appealing.
The latest A3 comes with a sharper, punchier aesthetic, with beautiful angles all over the place. It’s bristling with onboard tech, and the quality is of the sort you’d expect from the prestigious brand. Audi’s driving experience is consistent across it’s luxury and more affordable models, so the brand is a great place to start if you want a taste of luxury. You can pick up a used Audi A3 for a relatively affordable price, making it a great choice for a first time car if you have the freedom of a bigger budget.
What’s left to say about the iconic Golf? Now on its eighth generation, this classic design packs many of the features you’d expect from a premium car into a package that would seem to rival more affordable cars, like the Fiesta. This unique market position has made the vehicle a favourite among first-time motorist with deep pockets.
BMW 1 Series
BMW describe their 1-series as ‘primed for adventure’. It may be at the bottom of the manufacturer’s range, but that doesn’t mean the 1-series has compromises on premium features and engineering. The latest version doesn’t offer rear-wheel drive, but it still provides excellent dynamics and ergonomics, along with plenty of room. As such, it more than pulls its weight in this category.
From only non-German manufacturer on this list comes the Leon. It’s a slightly more fully-featured alternative to the Ibiza, which provides a great driving experience, plenty of room in the rear, and excellent fuel-economy – particularly if you opt for the plug-in hybrid version. You’ll also get AEB and lane assist if you opt for the latest incarnation of this future classic.
The A-class is the most compact of all the ‘proper’ Mercs, and yet it retains the gravitas that persuades those looking for premium qualities in their first car. It’s as pleasant to drive as you’d expect from the manufacturer, and it’s safe and boasts a full-featured infotainment system. With that said, the reliability record is patchy, and it isn’t cheap; thus it’s worth taking a look at the alternatives, unless your heart is totally set on going for a new Mercedes.
So, if you want a slice of luxury in your first car then these models are a good place to start. The more valuable and powerful the car, the higher insurance will be – especially for first-time drivers. However, if you are in a privileged position to be able to afford the costs of a luxury car then you will certainly benefit from the driving experience and performance of premium vehicles.