Getting in to a car and driving it for the first time is a big thing for any teenager.
Whether it’s a Volkswagen Polo (as my instructors car was) or a Toyota Yaris (as my son learned in), it’s a big moment to finally get the keys and be in control (mostly) of a tonne or so of metal.
My daughter? She did it differently. Her first driving experience was in a new Jaguar XE worth £32,525.
This wasn’t a driving instructors who was charging extortionate rates though. Instead this was Jaguar’s own attempt at teaching the young a thing or two about motoring, easing the next generation of drivers gently on to the road with an increased awareness of safety and responsibility.
That may daughter now wants a Jaguar rather than a Fiesta, Corsa or Polo is, undoubtedly, just happy coincidence for the manufacturer…
The scheme is aimed at 11 to 17-year-olds, with prices starting at £45. They rise as high as £124 for longer sessions, but what do you get in return for your spend?
The keys to a Jaguar XE with the new Ingenium 2.0-litre diesel engine and an automatic gearbox, for a start. Your child takes the driver’s seat, while a highly qualified instructor sits alongside operating dual controls if necessary. There’s even a video camera on board so everything can be recorded, and that’s available to take home for an extra £19.
There is little in the way of briefings, so it’s straight in to action. Learning to pull away, steer and stop safely starts the day, before students move on to junctions, roundabouts, and even two-way traffic and both parallel and reverse parking.
The session is held on a closed off area that ensures safety, with the urban environment being recreated using traffic cones. It’s not the most realistic layout you’ll ever see, but when you’re 11 years old and trying to figure out how the pedals, steering wheel and mirrors of a 163bhp Jaguar work together, it’s not a major concern.
The lessons aren’t run to a fixed schedule, so your child will be free to learn at whatever pace suits them best. The lack of structure means they won’t feel like they’ve failed if there’s not time to progress to some of the trickier parts of the lesson, or extra time is needed on developing other skills.
“Jaguar First is about introducing young people to the concept of responsible driving, helping them in turn to become safer drivers, and raising their awareness of safety as a pedestrian or cyclist,” explains Mark Cameron, Jaguar’s experiential marketing director. “The XE is a great car for this, as it offers the very latest in technology and innovation, and is also ideal for helping teach young people about environmentally responsible driving.”
Lessons will be available around the country, starting at Allianz Park in London, Bath and West Showground, Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham, Manchester’s EventCity, Lingfield Park Racecourse and the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Young Driver has teamed up with Skoda to offer a similar programme, with kids taking the wheel of a new Skoda Citigo, while Ford’s Driving Skills for Life initiative extends training further to 17 to 24 year-olds, dramatically highlighting dangers on the road in an informative and entertaining fashion.
You can ensure your child’s first time behind the wheel of a car is in somebody else’s new Jaguar by booking at jaguarfirst.com.