Should I buy a new or used car?

New car

In the market for a new motor? Having trouble deciding between factory fresh and second hand? Or maybe you’ve concluded that a brand new car isn’t a realistic proposition financially?

But when you take running costs into account, buying a new car could actually be more cost-effective than getting a used one, with cheaper running and insurance costs saving motorists up to 22% in the first year, according to our latest research.

Ready Qashqai

To work out how much individuals could save we tested the costs for five popular vehicles – Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Golf, BMW 3 Series, Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Astra – and found that, in all five cases, a brand new car has cheaper running costs (including petrol, road tax, car insurance and MOT) compared to a five-year-old model of the same vehicle. The biggest saving of the five cars analysed was the Volkswagen Golf, where a £461 annual saving could be made on the running costs of a new car compare to the used version, bringing the cost down to £1,591. That’s a 22% difference.

Aye Fiesta

For a brand new Ford Fiesta (1.25L petrol) the annual running costs are £1,554 per year, which is £320 cheaper than the costs associated with a five year old version, and it is the cheapest new car to run out of the five tested. Similarly, a new Nissan Qashqai will cost £1,895 to run per year compared to £2,178 for a five year old model – a difference of £283. In four out of five cases the cost of insuring the newer car was lower than the older equivalent models.

Cover considerations

The cost of car insurance varies hugely depending on the vehicle you buy, so before taking the plunge on your dream ride, it’s well worth doing a comparison to see what fits in with your budget. There are some key advantages when buying a new car:

  • It comes with a warranty that usually lasts between one and three years – if your car has a mechanical or electrical fault you can usually get it repaired free of charge
  • The brand new model might include cutting edge tech such as advanced safety features, communications tech and a blistering sound system
  • Plus, you’ll be the first one to drive it – meaning you’ll be the first to smell that new car smell!

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