/ Motoring

Why I will never buy a new car

As soon as a new car rolls off the forecourt it’s already losing value rapidly, so getting the best price is key. But for the best value, I’ll only ever buy a used or nearly new car.

When you’re looking to replace your car, what do you do? Do you head to a main dealer showroom and pay top dollar? Or do you find a private seller or a small garage with a nearly new car, haggle hard and save yourself thousands on a barely run in motor?

Though brand new cars may have that ‘new car smell’ and only a handful of miles on the clock, you really do pay through the nose for the privilege. Especially if you head to a main dealer and pay the list price.

You can find big savings on new and used cars

We’ve already seen how Which? Car’s Rob Hull saved Sue £3,000 on a brand new car, and every week we fish out hot car deals to give you 20-30% discounts. But if you’re happy with a nearly new car with maybe 5,000 or 10,000 miles under its tyres, you can save much more than that.

Last year I helped my mum buy a one-year-old Skoda Octavia vRS diesel which had covered just 10,000 miles. Despite having two years of warranty remaining, immaculate bodywork and a pair of new tyres, my mum paid around £8,000 less than a new model would have cost. And this was from a Skoda main dealer. Head to a smaller garage and prices should be lower still.

After a year of stress-free motoring and just one puncture to its name, the car has been a model of reliability. So why would you buy a new car, unless price is really not a concern?

Buy used for even bigger savings

I’ve just taken things a step further by buying an 11-year-old car this week with 75,000 miles on the clock – all for half the price of the UK’s cheapest car.

Sure, car tax, fuel bills and maintenance costs will be much higher than for a new car, but with very little depreciation to contend with and a thorough service history, I can now run a premium car on a shoestring.

Many of you may not want to take the plunge with an 11-year-old motor, but would you consider buying a nearly new car rather than a brand new model? And if you wouldn’t plump for a nearly new model, would you head for an online broker for the best price on a new car?

Tricia_TD says:
25 February 2014

Nearly new is best, as you don’t pay the VAT that you do on a brand new car.


Don’t be silly. Of course you pay the vat, or at least a proportion of it. If you buy a used car for half its new price, you’re paying half the vat!

Andy teal says:
17 December 2016

If you are paying VAT and in business you will need the vendors vat number.
If you are buying off a vendor who is not vat registered pay no vat simply maths. . 😃


Likewise for me too. I usually look for a main dealer, ex-demo about 6 months old with about 5k on the clock. These have usually be well looked after, are mainly used by a staff member (one of the sales team) and are kept pristine.

Blair Breton says:
27 February 2014

I agree with Chris that second hand cars are better value in most cases. There is an alternative approach that also works and that is buy a new one and keep it until it’s scrap. This works With cars that last. In my case a Volvo now 14 years old 145k miles. I am aiming for 200k then the capital cost is spread. Get it serviced at your local independent garage and keep maintenance costs lower while still maintaining the car.


Like Blair Breton, I rather prefer the option of buying from new and running the car into the ground. My last car (Astra) ran 110,000 miles over 11 years and I parted with it when it became too expensive to service/repair. The purchase price worked out at about £1000 a year. That might be more expensive than a nearly new car, but is a price I’m happy to pay for the warranty included, a lifetime warranty on my current car (or 100,000 miles).

Jeff Evans says:
28 February 2014

I fully agree with Richard. And before buying any 2nd hand car, do your homework!

My current car was bought new, from a main dealer, but with various discounts it actually worked out £1000 cheaper than a 1 year old model. They then gave me “scrappage” of £1000 on my old car which had done 225,000 miles. So I got the factory fitted extras I wanted AND saved money; some of these work out cheaper than after-market fittings for the same price, and the long, long warranty is an excellent bonus.
An example of savings when buying new: Factory fit detachable towbar £305: After market £525. Full size spare wheel, tools and jack in place of a useless sealant kit: £87 which is £35 less than the price of a new tyre.
I’ve just ordered a new car for my wife. Similar deal to that one above. Works out the same price as one almost a year old with 5,000 on the clock.

One of my big bugbears with 2nd hand cars is that many have been driven badly. I used to work in Macclesfield and you could smell the clutches on Hibel Road (quite steep) when the traffic lights were red and about 10% of drivers slipped the clutch moving slightly backwards and forwards instead of using the handbrake (too much roll-back when taking off if held on the footbrake). I don’t want to buy any car that has been abused.
Just make sure to do your homework (again) as used is not necessarily better!!!!!


Apart from two cars I bought from my father, I have always purchased new cars to avoid the possibility that the previous owner has slipped the clutch or otherwise abused the vehicle. I have kept my cars for up to ten years so depreciation is not a big issue.

I have considered buying a demonstrator car but have been put off by tales that sales reps sometimes abuse new vehicles even if they keep them clean and polished. I am not sure if this is true or just a myth.

When I last changed my car I paid a deposit on a pre-registered but unused car that was on offer at a good discount price. I thought I had achieved good value for money without any haggling until the dealer phoned to say that he was terribly sorry but a colleague had sold my car. 🙁

SRM says:
17 March 2014

Jeff , which car allows option of full size spare wheel plus kit ?