Life is often so much easier when you can drive, but … it can also be so expensive.  From driving lessons, car insurance, and buying your first car, it can all have a huge impact on the bank account!


If you’ve ever watched Top Gear – or your other half has – then you might know that it’s been 10 years since the Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May competed in the ’17-Year-old Challenge’. With £2,500, the show presenters were challenged with finding a car to buy and insure. The other minor stipulation was that the car had to be fit for a 17-year old and everything they’d need from it. 


It’s no surprise that inflation has continued to affect the pound over the last decade. Prices in 2019 are 33.03 per cent higher than they were in 2009 therefore if the Top Gear boys had £2,500, we’d have £3,325.67, embarking on the same mission, ten years later. 


On average in 2019, it cost a newly passed 17-year-old £1,036 to insure a car, according to MoneySuperMarket. If that is taken out of the overall budget then here are three cars that we could afford, before we can save up to get our dream car.

Skoda Fabia

Price: £1,995.00


Skoda’s reputation has significantly improved in recent years. Following huge investment and takeover by Volkswagen, Skoda’s reputation skyrocketed. The Fabia shines bright like the Polo or the A3, while the Octavia exists as a fierce rival for any executive saloon in the modern motoring world. Just venture outside and you’ll notice an abundance of taxi drivers now depending on the Skoda, showing how much of a reliable brand this really is now. 


A 2011 which will do approximately 55mpg can help keep costs low in the long run. Although it’s only a 1.6L diesel, the 103 bhp engine is enough to outweigh many alternative small cars. On the inside, you’ll be quick to spot the modernity present, with ergonomic aesthetics and a multimedia system complete with satellite navigation system, ensuring a road map isn’t a necessity.

Audi A4 Estate

Price: £1,995.00


A second-hand Audi A4 Estate 2.0L TDI can be snapped up for approximately £2,000. Okay, we won’t beat around the bush and suggest this vehicle is low mileage — it’s not. However, although 130k miles on the clock of a low quality car will set the alarm bells ringing in even the most relaxed of individuals, with a car such as the A4, which the RAC described as ‘strong in every department’, you can drive with confidence. Regular Audi servicing is enough to keep the cars in tip-top shape for a long time!


While older models of the A4 were recorded as having transmission and handling problems, but by the time we reached the 2005-08 generation, these problems had been rectified. The S-Line model, which we have priced here, delivers 167bhp for a 2.0L engine, meaning you won’t be left drastically searching for that deliverance of power when you require it. 


With a luggage capacity of 442 litres with the seats up, there is a lot of space in this model. That said, unfortunately there aren’t parking sensors, meaning if you aren’t the most confident of parallel parkers, this wagon might not be the best suited. Considering the car is from 2007, it’s abundant with technology. Cruise control and electric seats are certainly enough to make those long road trips that little bit more comfortable. We all know 17-year-olds have a great affinity with music and thanks to the cash you’ve left over, you could easily replace the standard Audi radio with a Pioneer Bluetooth system and subwoofer. 

BMW 3 Series

Price: £1,995.00


BMW is synonymous with sleek designs and quality assurance. This was certainly present in the BMW 3 Series model produced between 2005 and 2011. This is, in many ways, a car of utter beauty. Superbly, designers took head of previous customer feedback and assigned it to the development of this 3 Series with an emphasised focus on interior space and standard equipment taking precedence. Although not the biggest of cars, there is certainly enough boot space. 


If you’re a lover for technological gadgets, you’ll enjoy the parking sensors on this vehicle. Also, steering wheel controls act as a great assistance to drivers, especially those who’ve just passed their test, meaning they can keep their eyes on the wheel at all time. Sadly, BMW has the lowest mpg return out of all the models discussed, around 28 in urban conditions.


When Top Gear did their challenge, the Volkswagen Golf MK III, Volvo 940 Turbo Estate, and Hyundai Scoupe were awarded these spots. Oh, how things have changed!


Article put together by Vindis, who offer Volkswagen servicing.