Kids learning to drive? Find a good P Plater car in 2019.

Getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time is a major life milestone. And the chances are your teenage son or daughter will be more interested in style than safety. Whilst there’s no golden rule on which car to choose for a P Plater, there are a few things to consider before you buy.

Buying a new vs used P Plater car.

Your decision to buy a new vs used set of wheels will drive your budget and the options available to your P Plater. Of course, there’s always a trade-off. When sizing up cars for your P Plater, doing your research can give you peace of mind about your decision.

New cars may cost more to buy, but they could also cost more to insure and service. Having said that, new cars generally come with better fuel economy, the comfort of a warranty and more safety features. Depending on what money you have to spend, a good option might be to look for the new car that’s within budget.

Used cars can be a cheaper option but they come with wear and tear issues and may cost more in ongoing repairs. There are other considerations too. With a used car, you can never be 100% sure of the car’s history. Opting for a used car that’s just a couple of years old could save you a few dollars, without sacrificing too much on safety or reliability.

What to look for in an ideal first car.

Safety features

As a parent, safety is probably top of your agenda, so look for the safest and most affordable car within your price range. Safety measures in Australia are improving and more new models now come brimming with safety features, such as electronic stability, anti-lock braking, dual airbags, side airbags and head airbags.

According to The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), today’s essential safety features include electronic stability control (ESC), curtain (side) airbags and auto emergency braking (AEB). Check the ANCAP car safety rating website to look up the safety ratings of any car you’re thinking about buying.

If you’re planning to buy a used car, it’s a good idea to check whether the model was part of the Takata Recall. Visit and input the registration number of the vehicle before you buy.


Living in a high-density area that requires street parking might mean that a compact car is going to be more practical. But if the car is going to be a family back-up car, for example, a medium model might provide the added boot space you need. Also, consider when your P Plater will be using the car and where the car will be travelling to in your decision.


If your P Plater is going to be driving long distances, opt for a make of car known for reliability will be especially important. A good place to research this is the website Canstar Blue.


Saving a few dollars on a car’s purchase price means nothing if you consider the ongoing costs that could l hit your P Plater over the lifetime of the car. Comparing like for like is easier than you think with the help of independent organisations such as the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ). Their 2019 review of the cheapest and most expensive cars to own in 2019 takes into account fuel, registration, servicing, insurance, loan interest and even depreciation.

P Plate Car Restrictions

If your P Plater has their eye on a high-performance car model, make sure you check the restrictions with your state transport authority first. NSW, QLD, VIC and SA all have P Plater car restrictions in place.

If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a car for your P Plater, try enlisting the help of other parents. Once you’ve checked comparison sites to find the car models you’re comfortable with, see if you can collectively agree on a shortlist. Getting a group of parents and friends on the same page might be all that’s needed to get your car choices over the line.

Or if your P Plater is campaigning for a more expensive set of wheels, you could suggest some ways to save the extra dollars. Our Saving for a P Plater car article has some great tips.

Where to buy a P Plater car.

Buying from a licensed car dealer gives you the comfort of a statutory warranty. And if there’s any money owing on the car, it’s the dealer’s responsibility to cough up. To get a good deal on a new first car, look out for plate clearance sales or perhaps even consider buying a demo car.

If you’re buying a P Plater car privately, you’ll need to be extra vigilant before you buy:

  • Always make sure the seller can provide the registration papers, a vehicle logbook and the transfer of ownership papers.
  • Take someone with you who can check the mechanics of the vehicle, or even better, a qualified mechanic. Organisations such as the NRMA will do a pre-purchase vehicle inspection from around $270 – a small price to pay for peace of mind.
  • Do an online PPSR check to make sure there’s no money owing on the car.

Get the help you need with a first car.

Before you go ahead and buy your P Plater a car, it’s a good idea to get a handle of the total running costs and budget needed month to month. Our car budget calculator is a great tool for this, and it can be linked to our Purple Transactor Account for easy, automated saving. And if you’re shopping around for a car loan, our car loan calculator will calculate what loan repayments to expect.

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or need. Beyond Bank Australia Limited, 100 Waymouth Street, Adelaide, SA 5000 ABN 15 087 651 143 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 237856. ©2019