Buying a car is enormously exciting, albeit a little overwhelming. There's so much to consider like the make and model, time frame for delivery, initial budget and future finances. On top of this, and perhaps most importantly, there's the age-old question of whether you should buy something brand-new or used.
It’s easy to see the appeal of owning a new vehicle, specially designed with all the features you could ever need (and who can resist that new car smell?). Plus, more often than not, cars straight off the delivery line include generous finance offers from manufacturer dealerships.
On the other hand, more people than ever are opting for used cars thanks to their affordability and improved reliability. Nowadays, you can find plenty of pristine models on sale that haven’t maxed out their odometers, and the increase in finance deals within the market means owning your perfect car is more realistic than ever.
Ultimately, there are benefits to both routes. However, if you’re still confused, keep reading for more details that’ll help you make the right decision on buying a new vs used car.
Five benefits of buying new cars
1. You get exactly what you ask for
When you order a brand-new car, you have control over the exact specifications, which means you can pretty much design the vehicle of your dreams.
From dazzling exterior colours and smart interior trim to fancy roofs and heated steering wheels (because why not?), you don’t have to compromise on your preferred style.
2. Generous finance deals
Contrary to popular belief, you could actually save more money long-term by purchasing a new car. This is because most manufacturers incentivise sales by offering enticing finance deals to promote their latest models.
Furthermore, many dealerships offer a 0% interest rate for the initial period, which means you could potentially pay off your car faster than some bank loans allow.
3. Longer warranties than used cars
The most convincing argument for owning a new car is the accompanying warranty. Manufacturers will typically offer at least three years, but some cover you between five and seven.
As a result, you’re fully covered for malfunctions and breakdowns, which is extra-reassuring as new cars won’t have been thoroughly road-tested. Additionally, the majority of car warranties can be transferred between owners, giving you the upper hand if you wanted to sell the vehicle at a later date.
4. Improved safety features (and features in general)
Newer cars come equipped with a range of impressive technology including high beams, automatic emergency brakes, adaptive cruise control and intelligent sensor systems that limit potential accidents.
These improved features are particularly handy if you drive with children or take long trips because they make your journeys far safer.
5. More environmentally friendly options
Hyundai Electric, Tesla, Toyota Prius Prime – if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient, hybrid or electric model, you’ll likely have to opt for something ultra-modern and at the cutting edge of technology.
Not only are environmental considerations at play, but these specific types of car can save you plenty of money in the long run on petrol and engine maintenance.
Five benefits of buying used cars
1. Available immediately
Imagine the frustration of saving for a brand-new car, finding your ideal model, then having to wait weeks or even months to take it home. The thought is almost unbearable.
Thankfully, this isn’t a problem when choosing something used because it’s available immediately and, in nearly all cases, ready to drive home on the day.
2. Initial and long-term affordability
Affordability is the leading factor in why people prefer used cars. Not only is the initial price much lower (often between 30-50%), used vehicles depreciate much slower, meaning you’ll take a smaller percentage hit on the original price if you ever wanted to sell up.
It’s also worth noting that repairing and maintaining a used car is easier and cheaper than fixing a new one. Instead of going to the official retailer for spare parts, you can find everything you need at a reduced price online – although do be careful not to invalidate any terms of warranty!
3. Discounted tax
New cars are always more expensive to tax and register, whereas you save a substantial amount with slightly older or second-hand models. Even older cars may also be subject to discounted tax, which is something worth checking with the dealership beforehand.
4. Cheaper insurance
It costs more to insure a brand-new vehicle because the more valuable the car, the larger the risk to insurers if there’s a collision. If you’re a new driver, or accident-prone, this should be a serious consideration before making your final purchase.
5. Proven reliability
There would be nothing more upsetting than taking your new set of wheels for a drive, only to find out there’s something faulty with the machinery. Unfortunately, it happens, and it means you might have to wait several months for repairs.
In contrast, older vehicles with more miles have already proven themselves to be trustworthy and roadworthy. Plus, the frequent lubrication and reduced carbon build-up associated with regular use could mean fewer maintenance costs down the line.
When it comes to car buying, there’s no right or wrong answer to the question of new vs used car. Instead, you need to make a decision based on your unique circumstances and preferences.
Arguably, the primary consideration should be your finances and budget, with experts saying you should be able to pay the car off entirely in three years. If you can’t afford payments at this rate, you may need to look for a less expensive model.
To put your mind at ease, make sure to research new car models diligently and lean on customer reviews for reassurance. When purchasing a used vehicle, ask a mechanic to assess its condition beforehand. Alternatively, buy from a reputable used car dealer who offers guarantees and quality promises, often supported by household names such as AA and RAC.
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