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Buying a car

Should you buy a new or used car and where’s the best place to go?

Buying a new car may seem beyond reach, but finance schemes like Marmalade’s Cars for Young Drivers which combine the cost of the car and insurance into a single monthly payment, can make a showroom-fresh set of wheels surprisingly affordable.

On the other hand, a reliable used car can still make a lot of sense. Let us help you choose.

Why buy new?

  • Low-interest PCP* schemes make new cars more affordable than you’d expect
  • Some finance schemes include motor insurance
  • New cars are safer than older designs
  • They’re more likely to have lots of tech, like anti-lock braking and lane departure warning systems
  • At least three years of warranty cover.

*Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) is a type of finance with low monthly payments. You pay a deposit, followed by regular amounts each month for the period of the loan. Then there’s a large final payment to make if you want to own the car, or you can simply hand it back. If the car is worth more than this final payment (sometimes called the Minimum Guaranteed Future Value) you can use the difference as the deposit to buy another car.

Why think twice?

  • An older car will cost less to buy
  • New cars lose value more quickly than used ones
  • With a PCP scheme, there’s a large final payment to make if you want to own the car.

Why buy used?

  • A used car is typically cheaper to buy than a new one
  • Used cars generally lose value more slowly than brand new ones
  • No interest to pay if the car is cheap enough to buy outright
  • Used cars should cost less to buy but won’t always have warranty cover.

Why think twice?

  • Used cars have much shorter warranties, or sometimes none at all
  • You’ll have to pay for insurance separately
  • Any unexpected bills will eat into the saving over a new car.

Where to buy?

There are loads of different places to buy a used car. From main dealers to private sales, there are pros and cons wherever you buy. Here’s what you need to know about your options.

Main dealer – Big franchised dealers will have plenty of used cars. As a rule, they’ll mostly stock the make they sell new, but they will also sell other makes if they’ve taken them as part-exchange.

Car supermarkets – If you want a wide choice of makes and models, keenly priced, then car supermarkets are a good bet. Many have a no-haggling policy, so the price you see is the price you pay.

Independent dealers – Smaller independent dealers won’t offer as much choice as the big boys, but the best offer a more personal service than a big car supermarket.

Private sale – For a real bargain, look through the classified ads and find a car for sale privately. You should pay less than you would at a dealer, but there are pitfalls.

Auction – You could buy at a rock-bottom price from an auction, but you need to know what you’re doing. It helps to have some mechanical knowledge – or to know someone who does.