New, used or nearly-new: which is best for you?

Deciding which is best for you is a tricky thing to do. We summarise the pros and cons to help you choose

Pros of buying a nearly-new car

Price – the car will have already lost a percentage of its original purchase price before you buy it. That means the original owner will have borne some of the losses in depreciation rather than you, meaning you can have a nearly-new car, but for thousands of pounds less than a brand new version.

You may lose less money – because the car is worth less when you buy it, it theoretically has less to lose in value. So it's possible that you'll retain a greater percentage of what you paid for the car when you come to sell it on.

Condition – it’ll usually have been looked after quite well, either by a dealership or by a car leasing or car hire firm. You can expect a full service history and for those services to have been undertaken by a main dealer.

Cons of buying a nearly-new car

Choice – your choice is likely to be restricted to a smaller number of models. You also may not be able to find the full range of engines available, and you might find the trim levels and specifications available are restricted too. Also, the cars available may not have the options that you want, so it's worth broadening the specification you’re looking for. You should also bear in mind that some optional features may also be difficult to find. An example of this is a sunroof, which is a rare feature in modern cars. Lastly, certain paint colours may be easier to find than others, particularly if a colour was an expensive cost option.

Condition – there’s a chance the car will have been treated roughly. If it’s an ex-lease car, it will often have had one careful owner, but there’s no guarantee. Hire cars often have a particularly hard life.

Paint – a lease car or ex-demonstrator may have been put through a car wash on a regular basis. This reduces the lifespan of the paint.

Next, we look at the benefits and downsides of buying a second-hand car.

Most Popular

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Car technology
22 Jun 2022

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light

Top 10 cheapest electric cars 2022
2021 Citroen Ami
Best cars
16 Jun 2022

Top 10 cheapest electric cars 2022

Top 10 best electric SUVs 2022
Skoda Enyaq charging
Best cars
24 Jun 2022

Top 10 best electric SUVs 2022

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022