A simples guide

Should I buy a new or a used car?

Nothing beats getting something new – unless that is you buy something pre loved for an absolute steal. Buying new makes you feel good because it’s yours and has never been anybody else’s. Second hand can be just as good but at a fraction of the cost – and we all know how good a bargain feels. Choosing between a brand new or used car is the same – both have benefits, both have drawbacks – here, we explore exactly what those are.

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Specification

If you’re ordering a brand spanking new car direct from the factory, you’ll be able to get it to your exact specification, whether that’s having candy pink leather seats, reversing cameras or a top end entertainment system – it’s up to you. But if you’re not too worried about customised interiors and being able to have a rave in your car, then buying something nearly new (usually less than three years old) or used might be perfectly ok.

There’s a huge choice of nearly new and used cars on the market so you’ll usually be able to find something that has all the key features that might be important to you such as safety equipment. Plus, if you’re looking for a model that’s a little bit retro or perhaps something that’s not manufactured anymore, then the used car market could be right up your street.

Warranty

Something that’s usually a key selling point with a car is its warranty. New cars will always come with some sort of warranty, the length will depend on the manufacturer but most will offer something between three and five years. Having a warranty offers great peace of mind – if there’s a fault with your car, it’s down to the manufacturer to sort it out.

Depending on how old your nearly new car is (and where you bought it from) it should still have a fair amount of manufacturer’s warranty attached to it. Most used cars won’t have much warranty (if any) left, unless you’ve gone for one of the manufacturers with a longer guarantee. If you’re buying a used car from a private dealer, the chances of having a warranty are slim so there’s often no going back if something goes wrong.

car driving

Reliability and tech

In theory new cars should be reliable – but if they’re super-duper brand new, there might not be any proven history to go on and there may be unforeseen little problems that only get discovered with time. Nearly new or used cars will usually have had a long line of antecedents so any early model quirks and gripes will usually have been sorted out on more recent used versions.

Technology’s improving at a rate of knots so new cars will usually be leaps ahead of even nearly new and most definitely ahead of used cars. Improved tech can result in greater fuel efficiency which could make a new car a more economical drive.

car wheel and sunset

Safety

As a general rule, new cars will be safer than older models and you should be watchful of comparing cars of different ages. The Euro NCAP tests are used to rate cars for their safety (the more stars, the better) but the tests are updated every so often. So be wary of something that got five stars a few years ago – it might not be as safe as something that got the same number of stars more recently.

Initial cost and depreciation

Although you can pick up a used car at a fraction of its original price, you can still get a good deal on a brand new car if you get a dealership desperate to meet its sales targets. Some dealers also offer 0% finance packages which might be worth considering.

Depreciation is probably one of the biggest arguments in favour of buying used as some brand new cars lose about 50% of their value in the first three years. Some cars will depreciate slower than others and if that’s the case with the car you’re considering, then it could make more sense to buy new. But the staggering amount of money you could stand to ‘lose’ after just a few years is hard to ignore.

And the insurance?

Which works out cheaper, new car insurance or used car insurance – it’s not a battle with a clear winner. It’s true that part of your insurance premium will be based on your car and (generally) the newer the car, the better its security and safety which may attract a lower premium. Equally if the car that’s being insured costs more than an older car it will cost an insurer more to replace in the event of a claim. You might also be able to get a new car replacement as part of your policy.

If you’re the first registered owner of a vehicle and it’s written off in the first year, your insurer might provide cover that gives you a like-for-like replacement instead of market value at the point of claim. But with all of that, you’ll need to add your own insurance history to the mix and if it’s not so great, any benefits from choosing a low risk car could be wiped out.

So what’s the best thing to do, yep you’ve guessed it, start comparing the market to find the right policy for you. We’ll do all the leg work and find a policy to suit your needs – just see how much you could save!

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