When it comes to getting your next vehicle, do you buy a new or used car?

Buying a car is a big investment – so it’s a no-brainer that you’ll want best value from your purchase. But how do you figure out what ‘best value’ really is?

You might have heard the common logic that a low-mileage, one- or two-year-old car is the savvy way to go (the idea being that the vehicle depreciates massively just being driven for the first time, so you’re saving a packet by forgoing the experience of that new car smell), but does this really stand up to scrutiny?

Does avoiding initial depreciation = best value?

Of course, that initial depreciation is a big factor in terms of working out best value, but there’s a lot more to think about besides. Yes, a used or nearly-new vehicle is available immediately, and there may be cost savings in terms of tax (unless you act fast to beat the 2020 rises in VED). So far so simple, you might think.

But. Dig a little deeper and it’s not actually such a no-brainer to buy a used or even nearly new car.

The trade-off for fast availability when buying used or nearly new is that you’re going to be much more limited in terms of specification choice – and when you bear in mind that you can find a wide choice of great-value new vehicles from stock (bringing the lead time down to just a few weeks), then the ‘speedy availability’ argument seems a bit flimsy.

Also, in terms of specification, it’s not just going to be that finding a nearly new or used vehicle is going to be a less flexible choice, but brand new cars can offer improved safety, entertainment and comfort features – as well as improved fuel efficiency – compared to even slightly older models. If you can wait a little longer, you can also choose the exact specification of your new car by making a factory order.

While many nearly-new or used vehicles either come with the remainder of their manufacturer’s warranty, and/or a warranty package that is paid for separately (or negotiated as part of the deal), not all used vehicles will do – older or high-mileage cars just won’t be eligible. On the other hand, brand new vehicles will automatically have the full manufacturer’s warranty intact, which can be as long as seven years – maximum peace of mind for no extra cost – and often come with a service pack, plus they won’t incur MOT costs until they reach three years old.

Choose the best value car finance

Another aspect that isn’t often considered is the interest on any borrowing. If you’re looking to finance your next vehicle rather than buy it outright, you’ll find that the rates available on new vehicles are often much more attractive – dealers can usually offer between 8.9% and 12.9% APR on nearly new or used vehicles, compared to a range of roughly 3.9% and 5.9% APR on new. Add in the possibility of the ‘sweetener’ dealer discounts often available on new cars, and the cost of buying new begins to stack up even more competitively against a used vehicle.

Finally, we come to the unknowns – the factors that can impact on the costs of running a nearly-new or used vehicle compared to a brand-new car. It’s worth remembering that even if a vehicle has had just one registered owner, it may have been driven by any number of people (upping the chances of it having been driven badly), and even if it’s low mileage it may have been put through a fair amount of punishment over those miles (demonstrators, courtesy cars and ex-rentals in particular will have been driven by people unused to that particular vehicle). It goes without saying that poor driving can increase the likelihood of wear and tear repairs being required sooner.

Members’ vehicle discounts for better value motoring

Well, actually, the unknowns aren’t quite the last word in terms of finding the best value car possible – if you’re a member of one of our partner organisations (BASC, RICS, RIBA, M&S, IMechE, Fram Farmers) then you’ll be eligible for a member’s discount on new vehicles. As this is over and above any dealer discount you’ll be offered, then our members’ prices are almost impossible to beat (and we do offer a dealer comparison service, so you can be assured you’re getting best value). This means that we can often offer a new car at a price that’s equal to, or even below, the cost of a nearly new vehicle of the same specification.

Need proof? Then let us oblige. Here’s an example of how our member’s discount prices stack up against an example of a nearly-new vehicle of a very similar spec. At the time of writing there are a number of nearly new examples of the popular Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DIG-T Tekna Auto on Autotrader:

  • 69 reg, 8,000 miles, £24,995
  • 69 reg, ex demo, 1,000 miles, £23,995
  • 19 reg, ex demo, 3,500 miles, £23,900

These nearly new cars do seem to represent great value – until you consider that TysonCooper’s member discount offering can secure the same model (with metallic paint) for the remarkable price of £21,868.60 OTR. Brand new, delivered to your door, with a full manufacturers’ warranty, for maximum value and peace of mind – and at a lower price, too.

Click to find out more about our outright purchase member deals, and don’t forget that your discount also applies when you finance a new vehicle through a member discount scheme, and even if you decide to lease your next new car using your member discount.

Alternatively, call us on 01473 372020 or use our contact form to find out how much you can save on your choice of new car, van or truck, whether for business or personal use.