Driving may not exactly be kids stuff but youngsters and teens are being given the chance to get some real-world experience – behind the wheel of a Jaguar.
The Big Cat’s new XE sports saloon, which hit UK streets earlier this year, is the model being used for the launch of a new initiative called Jaguar First.
This new scheme provides driving lesson experience days to 11-17 year-olds to help prepare them for their driving test and for driving safely and responsibly on public roads.
Jaguar First lessons start from £45 and offer under-17s a fun and safe way to experience driving a car, in a realistic on-the-road environment.
Youngsters will drive a 2.0-litre, 180PS diesel XE with automatic transmission and lessons will be delivered by Government-approved driving instructors in Jaguar XEs featuring dual controls.
And while the lessons will mirror on-road lessons for those with provisional licences, they will take place on specially designed private road systems.
The venues being used are: Allianz Park in London, the Bath and West Showground, Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham, EventCity, Manchester, Lingfield Park Racecourse in Surrey and Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
Once they’ve mastered the basics, youngsters will be able to progress to driving in two-way traffic, dealing with junctions and roundabouts, master turning and steering through slaloms and reverse parking.
At some venues there will also be areas where drivers can safely experience handling the car at up to 40mph.
Research has shown that learning to drive responsibly from an earlier age lowers the risk of accidents.
Some 400 people are killed each year in the UK in accidents involving young drivers, and one in five newly qualified drivers will crash their car within six months of passing their test.
By extending the period of learning with a qualified instructor, and by introducing the concept at an age when they’re more receptive to safety messages, the figure can drop by more than half.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Mark Cameron said: “Jaguar First is about introducing young people to the concept of responsible driving, helping them in turn to become safer drivers, and also raising their awareness of safety as a pedestrian or cyclist.
“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.
“The lessons are also great fun and an exciting yet safe way to give new drivers a sense of what it’s like to be in control of a car.
“Whether our customers choose a 30, 60 or 90-minute experience, they will spend the whole time in the car, driving.”
Jaguar First lessons are available to book at www.jaguarfirst.com.