Buying a car can be an unexpectedly challenging endeavour, even for established and veteran drivers. With so many cars on the market, and so many new variants forging the path forward for automotive technology, it can be difficult to know where to start.
The best place for potential buyers to start, arguably, is with a simple decision: used or new? The used car market is huge, and offers a wide range of affordable pre-owned vehicles. But the market is falling in the face of a vibrant new car market, exploding with innovative vehicles to suit all manner of situations. But what are the advantages of each market, and what should you do?
The Advantages of Buying New
The chief advantages of buying a new car over a used one are relatively plain to see. For one, new cars benefit from the latest technological advancements, having been developed and iterated much more recently. Not only does this provide more modern convenience in certain areas – as with smartphone integration and intelligent dashboards – but also better safety. New sensor designs and intelligent braking systems reduce risk to the driver, and improve outcomes in certain accident scenarios.
Newer cars also infer better buyer protection. In buying a new car, you are more likely to enjoy a manufacturer warranty, guaranteeing free or low-cost repairs in the event of a malfunction. As a general rule, though, newer cars are cheaper to maintain in their first years of ownership, meaning lower running costs – though we will approach these shortly.
The Advantages of Buying Used
Used cars present their own benefits, though. For one, they are much cheaper to buy up-front than newer cars. This is because their value has already depreciated. Not only this, but with much of the car’s depreciation already having occurred, used vehicles are more likely to retain their purchase value in the medium term. With this in mind, you could buy and sell used cars without taking any major financial hits in the process.
Used cars are much more of a known quantity. There will be a glut of reviews and safety information on vehicles that have spent some time on the market, enabling the buyer to make a much more informed decision. They are, by this same token, often easier to fix and maintain.
Running Costs and Affordability
Earlier, mention was made of the running costs associated with cars. These can be impacted, and impacted heavily, by the age and condition of the car in both directions, but they remain an evergreen concern for drivers. MOTs are the same price, and a legal requirement, regardless of the type or age of the car (unless it is a vintage, 40-plus year-old vehicle). Insurance is another chief concern, even if only short-term car insurance for irregular travel or multi-driver road trips.
Making a Decision
So, what factors go into making a decision between a new and a used car? Ultimately, every decision is a personal one, and should be based on specific personal circumstances as opposed to vague advice. However, used cars are often the better financial option for the short term, and a more viable solution for households that are a little shorter on liquid cash. Newer vehicles tend to be safer and sleeker, but come with a higher cost burden – one that should only be shouldered if the finances match up.