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Should You Buy a New or Used Car?

Nostalgia binds us to how we experience the world. With a range of family traditions and societal expectations at play, it’s no wonder that the sale of used cars in the UK far exceeds new ones. 

New cars have all the mod cons, technological advances and highest safety specs of any vehicle on the road. Yet, used cars still remain attractive to first-time buyers and seasoned drivers. On the surface, affordability in the moment tends to outweigh the future cost. 

But should you buy a new or used car? Let’s find out:

All the mod cons

Buying a new car comes with a whole range of mod cons and benefits, especially if you purchase using finance. You get to choose the exact specs, get a full warranty package and have no previous driver history attached to your car. It’s an entirely clean slate. 

Newer cars also come with the most advanced technology, so they are more likely to sport better fuel efficiency and be packed with the most up to date safety features. From stability control to forward-collision warnings, these features are invaluable in the event of an emergency on the road. 

While new cars excel in many areas where used vehicles don’t, most breakdowns usually stem from electrical faults that can’t be fixed without a quality stay in a garage. 

Used doesn’t mean damaged

Over eight million used cars are sold in the UK every year. Within that number, you get the worn-out banger to the vintage classic. The choice is abundant, and what’s more, usually more affordable for those wanting to pay upfront cash. 

What’s more, previous owners have already taken the financial hit of depreciation. So you get only what you pay for, without any snags to the vehicle’s current value. If you manage to buy a used car within warranty, you get the added bonus covering any potential servicing issues you may encounter along the road.

Reputable used car sales and private sellers make buying a used car highly accessible for any budget. The only uncertainty comes with a used car’s previous history. Claims of “clocking” or “recorded mileage tampering” are the real deal. However, it’s easy to see a vehicle’s accurate, complete history by comparing documents to your own inspection of the car, and more so from a DVLA history check. 

The UK roads are changing

Ever since the government laid out their plans for the “Green Industrial Revolution,” the face of the motoring industry is changing forever. So regardless of your preference, the UK roads are changing significantly from 2030:

  • You will no longer be able to purchase new petrol or diesel vehicles 
  • Vehicles that do not meet strict emissions standards will incur a taxes
  • Higher driving restrictions in the country’s biggest cities and towns

The most recent example of the UK targeting and lowering emissions can be seen in the world-leading Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) flagship initiative in London. Launched in April 2019, anyone driving a vehicle within the zone that does not meet the standard pays a minimum daily fee of £12.50. 

So even if you are a resident and you need to cross the city, you will still face a charge if your car is not compliant. In short, any vehicle that is older than the scheme is likely to have to foot the bill.

The biggest reason for implementing charges was to reduce the city’s hazardous toxic fumes. To date, it has been a success. Mortality rates have been improved, and quality of life has vastly improved for Londoners. 

But the cost of change is that buying a used car from now on may not be as futureproof as you might think. Especially as more and more cities across the UK are launching their own low emissions schemes.

The rise of the electric vehicle (EV)

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV

As you can imagine, with fewer high emissions vehicles on the roads, the push for something to replace older, used cars is quite significant. Zero emissions are the ultimate goal, so naturally, buying an electric vehicle is the most viable option. However, you will currently struggle to get as much choice on the used market.

The most significant incentive here is that the government are currently offering a “plug-in grant” to soften the financial blow of an upgrade. But for most drivers, their biggest concern is mileage range. Fortunately, the newest EV models on the block are boasting at least 200 miles per charge as a minimum. 

Affordability wins

Purchasing a car is one of the biggest expenses you will ever make. Not only do you have the upfront costs, but there is servicing, maintenance and general running costs to keep in mind. Even when buying a used car, you are faced with all the same financial strains that come with a new car – just on a smaller scale. 

Financing has become the most widely accepted way to buy a car. Instead of saving up for a long time, you can get approved for a loan on the same day that you choose your dream car. Whether you consider Purchase Hire, Hire Purchase or simply get a personal loan, financing makes purchasing more affordable. The benefits include:

  • Extensive warranties with a minimum of 3 years/100,000 miles cover as standard
  • Wider choice, such as trims, colour, and engine size
  • The safest and most reliable cars on the market
  • More options to upgrade later on
  • Easy budgeting with low monthly repayments

Within your agreed borrowing amount, nothing is off-limits with financing. 

For those with a poor credit history, specialist lenders such as Carvine offer bad credit car finance. So if you have no credit history to speak of or have hurt your credit score in the past with missed payments, are self-employed or have a CCJ against your name, there is help out there to rebuild your finances. 

New vs old cars have been battling it out for years. From the classic vintage lovers to the petrol heads, your driving experience is defined by how comfortable you feel in your car. Should you buy new or old? Well, what does your future on the roads look like? 

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