Being 16 years old can be a frustrating time in life – you’re old enough to have a life away from your parents, but not old enough for the freedom of owning a car.
There’s some good news, though – as there are actually cars that you can drive at 16, before you take your full driving test. Some people with certain disabilities can get into a proper car at 16 for mobility purposes but other 16 year-olds can also get into four-wheeled transport before their 17th birthday and that date with the driving instructor. You may never have heard of them but there are tiny, slow, lightweight machines called quadricycles that you can drive at 16.
What is a light quadricycle?
A light quadricycle falls into the same licence category as a moped, so the requirements to be able to drive one on the road are the same: you need to get a CBT certificate at an accredited training centre. This will be done on a moped, but allows you to get on the road at 16 years old.
To qualify as light quadricycles, these machines have to weigh less than 350kg (not including batteries if they are electric) and have a top speed of less than 28mph so boy and girl racers need not apply. Then there’s the price, these vehicles tend to fall in the £10,000 bracket so you’re basically paying the price of a conventional city car to get on the road a year early.
Most young motorists will decide that the substantial downsides attached to quadricycles render them not worth the effort or money, so will go for a moped instead until they can get a full driving licence. But for the winter months having four wheels, four seats (in some models) and a roof over your head might be an attractive idea and you can bet that none of your friends will have one!
So what are some of the choices for a 16 year old with a pocket full of cash and a fresh CBT certificate? Check out some of the quadricycle options below…
Axiom is a company that specialises in these tiny AM-licence vehicles in Europe, and some models are available in the UK, too. You can choose from a ‘Coupe’ or ‘Crossover’ model – although the only real difference is looks – and a variety of colours. Don’t be fooled by the Coupe model’s rear spoiler – this tiny quadricycle features a 400cc diesel engine and only has a single forward gear.
It does feature an enclosed cabin, though, so the weather should stay out – and that will be the main draw compared to a moped, especially for those using it for commuting.
If you’re after more of a big-name brand, Renault has actually produced a quadricycle that can be driven at 16 – the all-electric Twizy. While the main version of the car does not qualify – it is too fast and too heavy to comply – there was a Twizy 45 that was designed specifically for 16 year old drivers. However, it never went on sale officially in the UK, so you would have to import one!
There are also a handful of cars from various manufacturers such as Ligier over the years that may qualify, but again it may be a case of importing them from continental Europe or finding a second-hand one in the back of a local paper.
Should you buy a quadricycle?
These days Aixam is really the only easy choice for 16 year olds looking for a ‘car’ – as many insurers will not cover these drivers, and the ones that do are wary about anything but that model.
Our advice would be to get yourself a moped if you’re 16 and really need motorised transport. You only have to wait until you’re 17 to take your full driving test and get a proper car at which point the options look far more enticing.
Click here to read our step-by-step guide on how to go about getting your driving licence.