Thinking about a new car? What do you choose? New, or nearly new?
If you have been fortunate enough to have a brand new car, there is no feeling like it. The knowledge that no one other than a salesman, a delivery driver, and perhaps a workshop technician carrying out tests has driven the car before. I do not deny that it’s a great feeling.
What’s not such a great feeling is how much the value of it drops as soon as it leaves the showroom. If you’re planning on keeping it for a long time, this is of little consequence, but if you’re not planning on keeping it that long, straight away you need to think about the cost.
It might be worth looking at a pre-registered car or perhaps one that’s already a year or so old and someone else has effectively thrown their couple of grand down the drain and not yours! Not to mention the new taxation bands that come into effect this year.
The first year’s road tax could set you back a fair whack, depending on what you buy and after the first year, it’s a nice round figure for the rest of the car’s life. There is the current trend for getting yourself a car on personal contract purchase (PCP) to consider.
Yes, you get a nice new car and all the bells and whistles that are thrown in to entice you to buy, but there is only really one winner in that situation. A cynic might say that those that opt for PCP may regret it the next time our country finds itself in a credit crunch.
Personally, I’m a great believer in older is better. Take my lovely next-door neighbour, for example. She owns her car, she’s loved and cared for it all of its life, and some 15 years later, it’s still going strong and in fine fettle.
Take a brand new car, complete with more than 100 electronic modules that are bound to go wrong. To change a headlamp bulb on the 15-year-old car is a five-minute job. I know that on a new version, the same job would set you back more than £400 at a main agent.
So in the question new or nearly new, I would opt for nearly new every time, though don’t be wooed by third party warranty schemes, they are rarely worth the paper that they are written on, always opt for manufacturer-backed used car warranties.
By Ben Morley