One for the Road: a car for a quick learner

Olivia Carey is a provisional driver and her dad will buy her a car; he has up to £5,000 to spend.

A car for the head

There is a huge choice of cars that are cheap to buy and insure, and the really obvious choice is the Citroën C1, which can be picked up from £2,995 in tidy condition. But Olivia didn't like those. I also found a one-owner Suzuki Alto, which a Citroën dealer had just take in part-exchange. A year old and still under warranty, it had just 1,000 miles on the clock, and was on offer at £5,995 - but Olivia felt it cheap, cramped, almost like a toy.

A car for the heart

Better, then, to go shopping for a car that Olivia actually liked. What she wanted was a black Volkswagen Polo. It had to be black. So we looked at some 1.2 petrol models which were noisy and although cheap at £2,995, were more expensive to insure than the much more refined 1.4 model. We briefly looked at a diesel, which turned out to be the most expensive to insure. A 2008 1.4 Match, in black with air conditioning fitted the bill at £5,000. With a fresh MOT, cambelt service and new front brakes, it was perfect for Olivia.

Looking to buy?

Email James Ruppert at onefortheroad@independent. co.uk, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget

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