New drivers are spending an average of £4,627 on their first car, with the Ford Ka found to be the most popular model.
Research from CarGurus revealed that 62% of first-time car buyers opt for a second hand vehicle and more than half (56%) fund the purchase without parental help.
James Drake, communications manager at CarGurus, said: “While there is a growing trend for new cars amongst first time buyers, probably because of finance deals, there remains a significant proportion of young people funding their first car purchase on their own.”
The study found that, on average, first time car buyers today spend £1,375 less than their grandparents did when buying their first car.
“We were surprised to find that new drivers today spend less on their first vehicle than their grandparents did. It would seem that the UK’s large used car market is helping first drivers to acquire more affordable vehicles, such as the Ford Ka, which is currently the number one first car of choice,” added Drake.
A quarter of young people have their cars bought for them by their parents, with a further 10% receiving some financial assistance from their parents.