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Cars of our Lives

Cars of our Lives

Brits will own around 11 different cars during their lifetime – with a Ford Fiesta an almost constant feature, a study has found.

The poll, of 2,000 drivers, has revealed the timeline of our car purchases from the moment we pass our test to when we hit retirement.

But while what we need from a car and the cost of each motor changes over time, the classic Ford Fiesta seems to remain the most popular choice at all stages of our life.

It also emerged we buy our first car at the age of 23 – usually a Ford Fiesta, KA or Vauxhall Corsa worth around £1,574.

James Wilkinson, CEO at car finance experts, Zuto, who commissioned the research, said: “For most of us buying a car isn’t about making an extravagant purchase, it’s a necessity to get through day-to-day life, so it’s interesting to see from the research that we are buying cars based on economical decisions at nearly all stages of our lives.

“The top five most popular cars that we help finance mirror those found in the survey and you can clearly see how our cars change over our life – from needing a cheap and cheerful run-around for the first couple of years – to a larger family car once you settle down and start a family.

And in later years, still looking for something cost-effective to help you from A to B.

“At Zuto we’re all about helping customers find a car that they need, guiding them through the entire buying process, building their confidence and helping them fully understand all aspects and costs when it comes to running a car.” Researchers found after spending the first few years borrowing mum and dad’s car, we finally buy our own motor at the age of 23.

Almost one in five chose a Ford Fiesta as their first purchase, with the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford KA, Nissan Micra and Renault Clio among other popular choices.

Around five years later, as you approach 28 years old, Brits buy their second car – most likely another Ford Fiesta or Ford Focus worth around £2,107. While 43 per cent had to buy a new car as their old one no longer ran or was going to cost too much to fix, 16 per cent wanted to upgrade as they had more money to spend.

But at the age of 32, after settling down, the average Brit purchases their first family car – a Ford Focus or Fiesta worth £7,997.

Vauxhalls are also a popular choice when looking for a family car with the Astra, Zafira and Corsa in the top five.

After making do with an average of three second hand cars, the average Brit is in a position to buy their first new car at the age of 34.

The Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Focus are still the most popular choice, along with the Vauxhall Astra and Ford KA, with an average value of £11,548.

James Wilkinson, from Zuto, added: “From our own customer data we can see that drivers aged 34 upwards make a significant shift into buying nearly new cars, understanding the cost saving benefits rather than buying absolutely brand new off the forecourt.

“This quarter alone we’ve seen a 17% increase in cars one to three years old being financed, and with the Government extending the required age of cars to be MOT tested, we anticipate this to continue to grow.”

It also emerged that while 28 per cent bought a brand new car because they had more money and were able to afford it, 17 per cent just wanted a nicer, newer car.

One in ten also admitted the finance options made a new car an affordable option.

After raising their family, Brits ditch the child-friendly car to finally buy their dream car at the age of 42 – most likely a Mercedes Benz, A BMW 3 series or a Mini worth £14,627.

Finally, at the age of 54, we start looking forward to our retirement, buying a car such as Ford Fiesta or Toyota Yaris.

The study also found the average Brit will buy a new car every five-and-half years, with recent figures from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) revealing that eight out of ten cars are bought using finance.

Car Time line:

*Aged 23 – First car Worth - £1,574.16 Top five first cars 1. Ford Fiesta 2. Vauxhall Corsa 3. Ford KA 4. Nissan Micra 5. Renault Clio

*Aged 28 – second car Worth £2,107 Top five second cars 1. Ford Fiesta 2. Ford Focus 3. Vauxhall Corsa 4. Reanult Clio 5. Volkswagen Golf

*Aged 32 – Family car Worth £7,997 Top five family cars 1. Ford Focus 2. Ford Fiesta 3. Vauxhall Astra 4. Vauxhall Zafria 5. Vauxhall Corsa

*Aged 34 – first new car Worth £11,548 Top five new cars 1. Ford Fiesta 2. Vauxhall Corsa 3. Ford Focus 4. Vauxhall Astra 5. Ford Ka

*Aged 42 – dream car Worth £14,627 Top five dream cars 1. Mercedes Benz 2. BMW 3 Series 3. Mini 4. Mazda MX5 5. Audi TT

*Aged 56 – Retirement car Top retirement cars 1. Ford Fiesta 2. Toyota Yaris 3. Volkswagen Polo 4. Vauxhall Corsa 5. Nissan Micra