Should I Buy a New, Nearly New or Used Car?

Choosing a car can be a difficult decision, especially with all the options available at such vastly different prices – new, nearly new, and used alike. With used car sales in the UK outstripping new car sales by approximately three to one, it might seem that opting for used is a no-brainer. However, the right choice is rarely as straightforward as following popular trends. Here, we unravel each option, shedding light on their pros and cons to empower you in your car buying journey.


Related Reading: The Safest Cars in the UK 2023 Edition


UK’s Car Market: A Quick Look

In the UK, car buyers have an array of options. The choice between new, nearly new, and used cars often depends on personal preferences, budget constraints, and individual needs.

Pros and Cons of Buying a New Car

The advantages of buying a new car are threefold. First, you get the chance to select the exact specifications you want. Second, you are covered by a full manufacturer warranty if something goes wrong. Lastly, there’s no unknown history to worry about.

Newer cars usually boast more advanced technology. Fuel efficiency and safety advancements in recent models are two significant factors that should not be overlooked. But, it’s also important to note that most breakdowns in modern cars come from electrical faults, which are often hard to fix on the fly.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Car

Each year, around eight million used cars are sold. This extensive choice range is one of the most compelling arguments for buying used. Another significant advantage is that you avoid the financial hit of depreciation – around 20% of a new car’s value diminishes as soon as it leaves the showroom.

However, used cars come with their own set of challenges. ‘Clocking’, or tampering with the recorded mileage, is still an issue. A complete service history is ideal, but if that’s not available, a history check can provide some reassurance.

Buying a Nearly New Car

The Advantages of Nearly New Cars

Nearly new cars often come from a dealer’s demo fleet or their ‘pre-registered’ stock. This option appears to offer the best of both worlds. You enjoy the benefits of modern, fuel-efficient, and safe cars, without bearing the burden of immediate showroom depreciation.

The Downsides of Nearly New Cars

The disadvantages include an extra name on the registration document, which lowers the car’s resale value, and the restriction of choice in terms of specification. These cars may have covered up to a few thousand miles, which for some buyers, can detract from the ‘new car’ feeling.


Related Reading: Car Prices Have Gone Up: What Does This Mean For You?


Things to Consider: New vs. Nearly New vs. Used Cars

1. Cost Consideration: Depreciation

Depreciation is a crucial factor to consider when deciding between a new, nearly new, or used car. A new car will depreciate faster than a used or nearly new one.

2. Safety and Technological Features

Newer cars usually come equipped with more advanced safety features and technological advancements, which can be a strong selling point for some buyers.

3. Car’s History and Mileage

When buying used or nearly new, it’s important to check the car’s history and mileage. A history check can give you peace of mind.

4. Warranty and After-sales Service

A new car will usually come with a full manufacturer’s warranty. Some used cars may also have part of their factory warranty left, or you might have the option to purchase an extended warranty.


Related Reading: The Least Depreciating Cars For New Drivers In The UK


Deciding Which Type of Car to Buy?

Should I Buy a Brand New Car?

There are distinct benefits in choosing to drive off in a car that’s fresh from the factory. Firstly, you have the liberty to select the exact specifications that match your taste. Secondly, a full manufacturer warranty offers a safety net, mitigating concerns about potential issues. Thirdly, the vehicle’s history is a clean slate, sparing you from any lingering doubts or uncertainties.

Moreover, newer vehicles usually boast the latest tech advancements. These include fuel efficiency improvements and cutting-edge safety features, which can dramatically enhance your driving experience. Yet, it’s worth noting that modern vehicles may be susceptible to electrical glitches, which could be tricky to fix roadside.

Should I Buy a Used Car?

Approximately eight million used cars find new owners each year. This vast array of options is perhaps the most compelling argument for buying a used car. Not only does it offer variety, but it also allows you to dodge the depreciation bullet that immediately impacts new cars – with nearly 20% of the car’s value evaporating once it exits the showroom.

Extended factory warranties have also bolstered the appeal of used cars, providing a sense of security for owners. Reputable dealerships, particularly those running manufacturers’ approved used schemes, are ideal sources for high-quality used vehicles. Though pricier, they offer an experience that mirrors buying a new car.

Purchasing from a non-specialist yet trustworthy dealer could be less expensive than private deals, offering reliable post-purchase support. Alternatively, auctions can yield the lowest prices, though genuine steals are uncommon, and buyer protection is minimal.

However, a cloud of uncertainty hovers over a used car’s history. Issues like ‘clocking’ or tampering with the mileage records persist, underlining the importance of comprehensive service history checks.

Should I Buy a Nearly New Car?

Nearly new cars, often drawn from a dealer’s demo fleet or pre-registered stock, present a tempting middle-ground. They offer modern, efficient, and safe vehicles at a fraction of the ‘out of the showroom’ depreciation.

Despite the extra name on the registration document, which may dent the car’s resale value, and the limited choice of specifications, nearly new cars are a compelling choice. They’ve covered only a few thousand miles, which might detract from the ‘new car’ allure for some, while others relish the savings they provide over buying new.

Do verify the build date of a pre-registered car before purchasing, as there may be a discrepancy between your perception and reality, which could impact its resale value.


Related Reading: What to Do & What to Look Out for When Test Driving a Used Car


Making Your Purchase Decision

Ultimately, the golden rule in car buying is setting a budget and adhering to it. Remember, it’s a buyer’s market. If you can’t strike a deal on your dream car, rest assured, there are countless equally desirable options out there.

Whether you opt for a brand-new car that caters to your specific preferences, a nearly new car offering a balance of modern features and value, or a used car with its enticing affordability, the ideal choice is the one that aligns with your individual needs, lifestyle, and financial circumstances.

Final Verdict

The key thing to remember when buying a car is to set a budget and stick to it. The choice between new, nearly new, or used is subjective and dependent on a buyer’s needs, budget, and personal preferences.


Related Reading: A Comprehensive Guide To Car Warranties For Used Cars


Buying a New, Nearly New or Used Car FAQs

Q1: What are the advantages of buying a new car?

When purchasing a new car, you benefit from having the latest features, technology, and design. Additionally, new cars often come with warranties, providing peace of mind for maintenance and repairs. The decision to buy a new car ensures that you’ll have a vehicle with minimal wear and tear, guaranteeing a longer lifespan and optimal performance.

Q2: What factors should I consider when buying a nearly new car?

When considering a nearly new car, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, verify the vehicle’s mileage and service history to ensure it is indeed nearly new. Next, inspect the car for any signs of damage or wear. Additionally, research the remaining warranty, if any, to understand what coverage is still available. By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and find a high-quality, slightly used vehicle.

Q3: How can I find a reliable used car?

Finding a reliable used car requires careful research and consideration. Start by setting a budget and determining the type of vehicle that suits your needs. Consider checking reputable online marketplaces and classified ads, as well as visiting local dealerships or certified pre-owned programs. Thoroughly inspect the vehicle’s condition, request its maintenance records, and if possible, have a trusted mechanic perform a pre-purchase inspection. Taking these steps will help you find a dependable used car that fits your requirements.

Q4: What are the benefits of purchasing a used car?

Buying a used car offers several advantages. Firstly, used cars generally have a lower purchase price compared to new or nearly new ones. This makes them a more affordable option for those on a budget. Moreover, used cars often have lower insurance premiums and registration fees, which can help reduce overall costs. By opting for a used car, you can also avoid the significant depreciation that new cars experience in their initial years.

Q5: How can I finance the purchase of a new, nearly new, or used car?

Financing options for buying a car vary depending on your circumstances. Some common methods include taking out an auto loan from a bank or credit union, securing financing through the car dealership, or leasing the vehicle. It’s crucial to research and compare interest rates, loan terms, and repayment options to determine the most suitable financing solution for your situation. Consider consulting with financial institutions or automotive experts to guide you through the process.


Related Reading: Click4Warranty Guide to Buying a Used Car


Q6: What should I look for during a test drive of a new, nearly new, or used car?

When test driving a car, focus on aspects such as the vehicle’s handling, acceleration, braking, and overall comfort. Pay attention to any unusual noises or vibrations and test the features and technology to ensure they meet your expectations. For a new car, confirm that everything is in perfect working order. With a nearly new or used car, the test drive helps you identify any potential issues that might have gone unnoticed. By being thorough during the test drive, you can make an informed decision about the vehicle’s suitability for your needs.

Q7: How can I negotiate the price of a new, nearly new, or used car?

Negotiating the price of a car is a common practice. Start by researching the market value of the specific make and model you’re interested in, considering factors like mileage, condition, and optional features. Armed with this information, you can confidently negotiate with the seller or dealer. Be prepared to walk away if the price doesn’t meet your expectations, as this can sometimes lead to a better offer. Remember to approach negotiations in a respectful and polite manner to maintain a positive relationship throughout the process.

Q8: What documents do I need when buying a new, nearly new, or used car?

When purchasing a car, you’ll typically need several documents. These may include your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and payment method (such as a check or loan approval). Additionally, you may need to provide identification documents, such as a passport or social security number, as well as any necessary paperwork for trade-ins or previous vehicle sales. It’s advisable to check with the seller or dealership beforehand to ensure you have all the required documents for a smooth buying process.

Q9: Should I consider a warranty when buying a new, nearly new, or used car?

Warranty coverage is an essential consideration when buying a car, regardless of whether it’s new, nearly new, or used. New cars often come with manufacturer warranties that provide coverage for a certain period or mileage. For nearly new or used cars, check if any remaining warranty from the manufacturer or an extended warranty is available. A warranty can provide valuable protection against unexpected repairs and give you peace of mind, see Click4Warranty. However, carefully review the terms and conditions to understand what is covered and any limitations that may apply.

Q10: What is the importance of conducting a vehicle history check when buying a nearly new or used car?

Conducting a vehicle history check is crucial when purchasing a nearly new or used car. This check provides information about the car’s past, including its previous owners, accident history, service records, mileage verification, and title status. It helps you make an informed decision and avoid buying a vehicle with hidden issues or a questionable background. Numerous online services provide vehicle history reports, which can be obtained by entering the car’s unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).


Related Reading: Sniffing Out Car Buying Scams : Essential Tips to Avoid A Bad Deal


What are your options for extended UK car warranty cover?

We don’t want to complicate this, so we’ve kept it nice and simple. Here’s three great options for mechanical breakdown or electrical failure car warranty cover, that’ll give you all you need, including cover for wear & tear.

3-Star Car Warranty

Select this option if you want affordable cover for a long list of covered components. Gives you up to £7,000 claim limit towards the cost of parts, labour and VAT for the mechanical breakdown or electrical failure of covered parts.

4-Star Car Warranty

Select this option to cover a wide range of components on your vehicle, and get up to £7,000 claim limit towards the cost of parts, labour and VAT in the event of mechanical breakdown or electrical failure, or imminent failure identified during an MOT or service.

5-Star Car Warranty

Looking for comprehensive warranty protection? Our 5-Star warranty covers an extensive range of parts and offers up to £7,000 claim limit towards the cost of parts, labour and VAT for the mechanical breakdown or electrical failure of covered parts on your vehicle.


If you are looking for other guides and insights into buying or selling a car. Check out these posts to help you make a fully informed decision: