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Demand for smaller second hand car engines could be on the up as motorists increasingly look to cut down on the costs of driving.

According to a survey by Confused.com, those buying a car for the first time are becoming ever more savvy to the expense of running a vehicle.

Whereas big engines and modifications used to be the young new driver's territory, due to the cost of insurance and overall rising expense of motoring, they are now more likely to go for something more modest.

The comparison site's research found that 70 per cent of people chose a first car with an engine size of 1.3 litres or smaller.

Ford's Fiesta was found to be the most popular car among new drivers, followed by the Mini One.

Fifteen per cent of under 24s said the cost of insurance was the main reason for choosing a car with a smaller engine, and when you compare premiums it's easy to see why.

For example, the average premium for a 17-year-old male on a Ford Fiesta Encore with 1.3 litre engine stands at £5,372.96, while the same driver would cost an average of £12,144.75 to insure on a Volkswagen Golf GTI with a two-litre engine, says Confused.com.

"Car insurance is a huge purchase for young drivers," said Gareth Kloet, head of car insurance at the company.

"However, our research tells us that these drivers are adapting to pressures and opting for smaller, cheaper cars, in order to minimise their premiums."

Buying a car was cited as one of the biggest expenses that people make in their life time by 76 per cent of respondents to the survey, showing the importance of making the right choice when purchasing your first car.

However, 35 per cent of first-time buyers pay £500 or less for their first car, the poll found.

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