- Skills and safety aspects of driving taught to children
- Different experience durations to suit budgets
- Skills can be built upon over a number of sessions
What is it?
As part of its strategy to engage with children before they’re old enough to legally drive on public roads, Jaguar First enables kids to get behind the wheel of XE Saloons, F-Pace SUVs and even F-Type Coupes on closed courses.
Each driving session is accompanied by instructors and all the cars involved are fitted with dual controls.
Jaguar cites that ‘learning to drive responsibly from an earlier age lowers the risk of accidents. One-in-five newly qualified drivers will crash their car within six months of passing their test.’
Young people who take part in a driving course such as this are said to be more receptive to what’s being taught. ‘By extending the period of learning with a qualified instructor, and introducing the concept at an age when they’re more receptive to safety messages, this figure can drop by more than half,’ claims Jaguar.
How much does it cost?
There are three session lengths available:
- 30 minutes - £39.95
- 60 minutes - £74.95
- 90 minutes - £109.95
You can also pay extra to have the session recorded using on-board cameras.
Where can you do it?
There are currently six locations where the Jaguar First driving experiences take place:
- Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham
- Dorfold Hall, Nantwich
- Great Tew Estate, Oxfordshire
- Lingfield Park, Surrey
- Molineux, Wolverhampton
- Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Who can do it?
It’s open to anyone aged between 11 and 17, as long as they are at least 1.42m tall.
All of the Jaguars available for the driving experiences have automatic transmissions, allowing the children taking part to get to grips with the fundamental aspects of making the cars go, stop and turn without having to worry about changing gears.
Once the basics have been established, the young drivers then get the opportunity to tackle junctions and roundabouts, as well as negotiate slaloms between cones and learn parking skills.
At certain courses, such as that at Great Tew, which uses The Grand Tour’s track, young drivers can begin to explore how cars handle at higher speeds.
What do you get from it?
Our Deputy Editor, Keith WR Jones, took his two younger kids to the Jaguar First course at Great Tew where Fin (14) and Lily (12) both drove F-Paces and F-Types – what did they make of the driving experience?
‘Considering I don’t really have an interest in cars, it was really good fun,’ suggested Fin. ‘The instructor was really clear telling me everything I needed to do and pointing out where I needed to do things differently. I preferred driving the F-Type as it felt quicker – I could feel the back of the car sliding a bit going around some of the corners!’
Lily felt differently: ‘I like the F-Pace best because it felt easier to drive than the sports car – the steering didn’t feel as stiff and because I was higher up I could see more. I was a bit cautious to begin with, but the instructor was very patient and explained everything so that I understood exactly what I needed to do.’
The Parkers Verdict
In order for kids to make the most of an invaluable experience like this, a session of at least an hour long makes more sense if you can budget for it.
We were really impressed by the quality of the instruction, which is designed in such a way that children taking part can build upon their experiences as they receive a log book recording the skills they’ve mastered to varying levels of competence and independence.
A greater number of venues around the country to make it more accessible is the only point to improve worthy of note.
Rating (out of 5)