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New Cars vs Used Cars

Buying a new set of wheels can be a big decision, and one of the biggest choices you’ll have to make is whether you want to buy a new car or a used car.

This can often boil down to what the car in question is being purchased for. Whether it’s a 17th birthday gift, a quick run around for hopping across town or something that you’re going to be driving up and down the country – each will impact considerably on what type of car you buy.

Obviously both new cars and used cars come with their advantages and disadvantages. But what exactly are they? Whether you’re looking for a car with lower premiums, tax and insurance, one built to suit you or how quickly you want it, these factors, and others, all differ between the two. 

And then there’s nearly new cars to consider too. In this guide, we’ll weigh up the pros and cons of both of these, to help you make up your mind when the time comes to purchase your next vehicle.

What are new cars?

A new car is exactly that, a brand-new car. This means you’ll buy the car directly from a dealership where it’s made-to-order, meaning it’ll be tailor made to your exact specifications; within reason. 

Once the payment agreement for the finance is all sorted, a delivery date for your new wheels will be arranged. 

The prospect of a new vehicle is something that’s sure to make you feel excited, but there are both positives and negatives to new cars.

New cars – the pros

You can create the car that you want. Once you’ve chosen the model of the car you want to buy, you’ll then be able to modify everything else. From the engine and trims to the colours – every single choice is yours to make. From sheer simplicity to a car that’s kitted out with everything, the vehicle is entirely yours to play with and guarantees that you’ll get the very drive you envisioned.

You get warranties. When it comes to warranty packages and special offers, they’ll be yours for the taking. A bonus of being the first owner of a specific vehicle means you’ll receive any warranty packages, and the cover period starts from the day you collect the car – meaning you know exactly how long it last. When buying from a dealership or manufacturer, you may get discounts and offers thrown your way to help seal the deal.

They can be safer. Due to new cars being made with the latest in technology, they’ve become a lot safer and stronger in recent years, with features such as sensor systems increasingly common and driving aids coming as standard. This means you’ll have added peace of mind at every turn.

You get that ‘new car smell’. It might seem silly to some, but driving a car that’s already been on the road some time just isn’t the same. Commanding a brand-new car can be a truly special experience, knowing you the first person to ever get behind the wheel of it. 



New cars – the cons

You’ll have to wait. Although you get to be the first owner of a vehicle that’s been built to your exact requirements, there will be a wait time. This is because everything has to be put the way you want it, as the chances of there being a model ready to go are very slim. This means there could be a wait of weeks or months before it arrives. However, your dealer should be able to give you a good estimate so you’re not left wondering when it’ll arrive.

It’ll cost more. If you’re purchasing a new car then the cost will always be considerably higher, depending on which model you opt for. However, if you’re making lots of other changes to build a car that’s specific to you, then you’ll have to prepare yourself for a price tag that’ll be much higher than an off-the-shelf used model.

It’ll depreciate. The value will fall at a far quicker rate. The moment the car is driven off the forecourt it will depreciate in value, and across the first three years the level of depreciation is high. Whatever you paid for the car, you’ll always receive significantly less in return when selling.

You could pay more for insurance. With new cars, there is a risk that you’ll encounter a higher insurance premiums due to the greater value of the car. However, insurance operates on many factors so this may not always be the case.

What are used cars?

A used car could mean a number of things. For example, highly expensive and collectable vintage motor vehicles could be considered used cars. However, in this instance we’re referring to cars that have been pre-owned and don’t demand price tags you read about in newspapers.

Because of this there are millions of used cars available to buy across the UK. This also means that many of them are available immediately, coming in at a much cheaper price than those brand-new wheels at the dealership.

Although available in abundance and considerably cheaper, just like new cars, there are advantages and disadvantages to buying a used car too.



Used cars – the pros

They’re usually immediately available. Already built, you’ll never need to wait weeks and months for a used car; the finished product will be right in front of your eyes at the time of purchase. This will also allow you to inspect the car and get any issues sorted before the final sale takes place.

Tax rates may be lower. Tax rates on pre-April 2017 are favourable for most models. This is because road tax regulations have changed and low-emission cars would pay very little, if any, road tax in previous years. Cars registered before April 1st 2017 will still be subject to these older regulations and will probably be cheaper to tax.

You could receive a lower insurance premium. This is because of the lower value of the car which could result in cheaper insurance, as replacing the car will come at a lower cost for the insurer. This isn’t a blanket rule though – there are still lots of other variables.

They usually come with (some) warranty. Although typically short, with 12 months being common with most dealerships, this will offer you added peace of mind when buying a used car. However, you should always be sure to check over your warranty before signing as these can vary from dealer to dealer; and you may not get this if you buy the car privately. 

Used cars – the cons

You won’t get everything you want. There will be some, or a lot, of compromise. As the car is already made and has probably been around for a few years, this will remove essentially all those areas you get to choose when buying new. Dealers may be able to point you towards models that match some of your specifications and you may find one in a colour you wanted, but on the whole, compromise will be key.

You will have to pay for MOTs and the associated repairs. If the car is more than three years old then you’ll be required to get a MOT test every year. This is something you won’t need to worry about when buying new, however, reliable used cars won’t cost much if the test throws up zero to minimal issues during the test.

You may encounter higher interest rates on finance. This is because used cars are less lucrative on the whole to those selling them when compared to new car sales. This can also happen because it’s hard for finance companies to predict what the car will be worth when the stewardship ends.

What are nearly new cars?

If you can’t decide between choosing a new or used car then there is another option; in the form of nearly new cars.

These aren’t new, but aren’t old either, in fact they sit somewhere in the middle – mostly leaning towards newer end of the scale.

Unlike new cars, these aren’t made to order, but will already be at the dealership due to them being bought in as stock or used as test cars. Because of this they won’t have too many miles on the clock and will be less than three years old, meaning they’ll have a lot of new car features.

Coming with pros and cons of their own, which can be found in our New Cars Vs Nearly New Cars Guide, these tend to be great for those not wanting to pay the premium of that fresh new car smell and are willing to compromise on a few things.

You can browse our used cars, new cars and nearly new cars today to find out more.