There’s nothing quite like getting into a new car is there? No sticky steering wheels or miscellaneous crumbs in the back seat and no funny looking stains on the foot-well carpets; but buying a new car can seem like a luxury. For a start, they’re not cheap. However, nearly 2.7 million new cars were registered in 2016 compared to just over 2 million used cars that were sold last year – but what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander; so, what’s good for you? Here’s the lowdown on new vs used.
Pros of a shiny, brand new car
Nothing feels quite as good as driving off the forecourt in a car with the latest registration; you can almost hear the admiring comments as you drive down the road. But vanity aside, what other advantages do you get?
Well, new cars will have the latest tech and that means more gadgets to make the whole driving experience easier and better – like a car that parks itself. On the whole, new tech also means that brand-new cars are safer than their older counterparts – such as having camera and sensors to keep track of dangers you might miss or alerts which warn you of a potential hazard.
New technology also means that new cars should be more efficient, so fuel and road tax (or vehicle excise duty) may not cost you as much as an older model. Plus, let’s not forget that newer things should in theory be more reliable – because nobody wants a dodgy old rust bucket that only starts when it feels like it.
Another major win for new cars is that they’ll come with a warranty, a standard one typically lasts three years but some manufacturers offer far longer. Hyundai offer five year, unlimited mileage protection as well as roadside assistance and five years’ worth of annual car health checks. Kia provide a seven-year warranty, limited to 100,000 miles. So, if you’re after stress free motoring then a brand-new car with an extended manufacturer guarantee could be worth a look.
Cons of a new car
You can’t have pros without cons so here goes. New cars are expensive – the average cost of a new hatchback is around £17,000 which most of us don’t have lying around. However, there are ways and means of getting around the cost issue (and we don’t mean ram-raiding the showroom and driving off into the sunset). Financing is usually on offer with new cars and you can find yourself with the latest model in return for monthly instalments and sometimes, there’s no need for a deposit.
One of the biggies that turn people off new cars is depreciation – which is how much value it loses over time. Some cars lose as much as 60% of their value by the end of their third year so think carefully whether this bothers you and if you think a new car is worth it.
If you decide to buy your car so new that it comes from the factory, then bear in mind this can add a bit more onto the cost. You might also be expected to wait for your new car as it rolls off the factory floor and gets shipped over – which can take weeks or months depending on how fancy it is. You can avoid delays and expense by buying a pre-registered car; these are still brand new but have been brought over by the dealership as stock. A pre-registered car does mean you won’t be able to meet any exact specifications that you have, like a hankering for lime green leather seats, for example.
Pros of nearly new or used cars
One of the key advantages is that a nearly new or used car will be cheaper. Plus, the depreciation factor is no longer such as big deal as the rate at which it loses value, declines after those first few years.
But less expensive doesn’t mean you get less to choose from and there’s a plethora of used cars on the market; and as your money goes further you might find yourself a higher spec model than you could otherwise afford.
Cars that have been tried and tested also won’t give you any nasty surprises (hopefully) as any quirks and foibles would have been ironed out after the first batch came out. Also, if what you’re after has a whole line of antecedents then what you’ll get, will be pretty refined, even in a used model.
Cons of a nearly new or used cars
When something’s been used before, you usually have no idea how it’s been used and whether it’s been treated well or thrashed. But if you decide to buy a used car from a main dealership, then you can be pretty confident that it’ll be in good nick because it’ll have gone through various checks before it makes it to the forecourt. Buying from a private seller might mean you get a great deal but it’s often a case of sold as seen unless you’re good at under the bonnet stuff and can negotiate for any problems you find.
Nevertheless, buying used will be considerably cheaper and the cost of repairs and ongoing maintenance is balanced out by the price you paid in the first place.