According to What Car? sales of second hand cars outnumber new vehicles by approximately three to one. But does this mean that used cars are the better option? The answer is essentially no - which type of vehicle you should opt for will depend entirely on your personal circumstances. Second hand cars may be the right choice for you, but don’t dismiss new cars entirely!

A new vehicle is certainly a tempting prospect - you can get one with features specially designed to meet your needs. You can also be assured of the car’s reliability, and should get a good finance deal if you buy the vehicle directly from the manufacturer.

With a used car though, there is a lot more choice in terms of models. Not to mention the fact that second hand vehicles are almost always significantly cheaper!

To help you decide whether new or used vehicles are the best option for you, we’ve outlined the advantages of each below:

Advantages of New Vehicles

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of getting a brand new vehicle is that you’ll get precisely what you want. You can order a car that meets your exact specifications, choosing anything from the colour to add-ons like a heated steering wheel. Essentially, you can design your dream vehicle, and shouldn’t have to compromise on anything. 

Another advantage of buying a new car is that you’re more likely to be offered low interest finance deals - some dealerships even offer a 0% interest rate. In addition to this, the manufacturers will often promote their latest models by offering generous financing options, along with extended warranties. These warranties mean that you’re covered for any breakdowns and malfunctions within the first few years - typically between two and seven years.

With a new car, you’ll furthermore have the opportunity to discover the latest features and new advances in environmental technology. The former includes great safety features, such as automatic emergency brakes and intelligent sensor systems. In terms of environmentally friendly options, you can look into a hybrid or electric vehicle, which will have low emissions and be incredibly fuel efficient.

Advantages of Used Vehicles 

If you’re thinking about buying a used car, there are a number of advantages, primarily when it comes to affordability. The initial buying cost will be cheaper, and the rate of depreciation is usually slower too. Even with repairs and maintenance, because you don’t need to go to the original manufacturer to get spare parts, and because they won’t be cutting edge, this can be cheaper than with a new vehicle. 

You may also be surprised to learn that older vehicles can come with lower insurance costs. New cars are often expensive to insure, because they are worth a lot of money, thus in the event of an accident, the insurers would have to pay a lot in repairs. When it comes to taxing and registering your vehicle, the price will depend on factors such as how environmentally friendly the car is, not just its age. But in some cases, second hand vehicles are cheaper to tax, especially if they’re vintage! Vehicles over 40 years old are exempt from road tax entirely. 

Other benefits of used vehicles include the fact that they have been proven to be reliable and roadworthy. With a brand new model, there is no guarantee that there won’t be some sort of fault with the mechanics of the car, which could take months to fix. But with second hand cars, you can read reviews and make sure that you’re purchasing a trustworthy vehicle.

It’s additionally worth noting that used cars are available immediately. If you’re custom building a vehicle, you may have to wait weeks or months for it to be ready. With second hand cars though, you could be driving away the same day you start looking!

Nearly New or Pre-Registered Cars

When buying a vehicle, there is also the option of getting a nearly new car that’s been used for demonstrations, or a pre-registered car that has been registered to the dealership, but never been driven. This may sound like the best of both worlds - you get a vehicle that’s essentially new, but for the price of a second hand car. There are some disadvantages, however.

The first downside is that there will be an additional name on the registration document. So although you’re technically the first owner, you’ll be recorded as the second. Multiple owners can depreciate the vehicle’s value. 

Nearly new vehicles will often have racked up a few thousand miles too, which can take away that ‘new car’ feeling. That may not be enough to put you off, but you do also have to consider the fact that you won’t be able to choose any of the specifications of the vehicle. However, dealers do usually pick specifications that are best for easy resale, so should appeal to a mass market. 

Which Car is Best for Me?

There’s no easy answer to this question - it will be up to you to weigh up the pros and cons of new, used, and nearly new vehicles. For most people, the main consideration is their budget. Not everyone can afford to buy a new car, so will opt for a second hand model. Though with finance options, you might be able to get a more modern car than you think!

The best thing to do is research both new and used vehicles, to see what appeals to you most. It can also be sensible to speak to a professional for advice. Here at Wheelie Good Finance, we’re always happy to discuss the wide range of makes and models on the market!