Buying a new car is an exciting process. You could finally have space for the whole family, or perhaps you just want the latest in-car entertainment features. You might even be going electric for environmental reasons. But whatever your priorities, it’s important to consider whether you’ll be buying new or used.
The used car market recently had its second-best sales quarter on record, while new car sales are also recovering from the bump in the road that was 2020. As life returns ever closer to normality, you’ll want to think carefully while looking around for your new vehicle.
Consider these factors when deciding between buying new or used.
The main benefit of used cars is that they cost less to buy and insure. Used cars also don’t depreciate as quickly as new models, so you could get a better return on your investment should you sell up again in the near future.
New cars usually come with better financing options and warranty coverage, though many dealers offer used car warranties for peace of mind.
By default, new cars offer the latest in driving, safety and entertainment technology. This offers a range of benefits depending on the feature, including lower emissions, better mileage and a more comfortable ride.
Improved safety technology can be especially reassuring if you’re buying a new family car. At the same time, there’s little point in paying for gadgets that you don’t care about.
From colour to interior trim and fancy extras, buying new will give you more freedom to choose your ideal specification. Simply put, you won’t feel as if you’re stepping into someone else’s car!
The used car market is vast of course, and there’s still a good chance you could find a model tailored to your needs without having to compromise on too much.
If you are planning to customise a new model or perhaps order one that hasn’t been released yet, you could need to wait for it to built. In extreme cases, you might even have to join a waiting list.
A used car on the other hand will be instantly available to drive away as soon as the owner or dealer lists it for sale.
Barring the occasional manufacturer hiccup, new cars are typically more reliable than used vehicles. The likelihood of breakdowns increases with age and usage, so you may want to steer clear of used vehicles with tens of thousands of miles on the clock.
You’ll also need to pay for MOTs and services for any car that’s over three years old, which isn’t something new car owners have to worry about.
Ultimately the final decision will come down to your preferences and priorities. Weigh up the factors above and consider what’s most important to you – tech, customisation and reliability, or price and availability?
Should I buy a new or used car? is a feature post