Should I buy a new or used car

Is it better to buy a new or used car

When buying a car, is it cheaper to get a new or used car

Replacing your car – or buying your first – is always a significant decision that involves a huge number of considerations. These span from the type of car you are looking for and its specifications to your budget, as well as the costs it will entail like road tax and insurance.

One choice that you have to make, which prefaces but ultimately affects all other considerations, is whether to buy a new or used car. There is no right answer here, but there are a few key differences between new and used cars that you should factor in to your decision making process. Both have a number of pros and cons, and knowing these can help narrow your search considerably.

To make things a bit clearer, we will compare new and used cars below using four different categories that are essential to bear in mind.


How much a car costs is always central to the decision making process. It is also perhaps the most common reason why people opt for used cars over their brand-new counterparts. In almost all cases, used cars will be cheaper, often by thousands of pounds. Whist most second-hand goods offer a saving on new products, it is particularly evident when it comes to cars.

This can be explained largely by the high rates of depreciation cars are subject to. 20 percent of a new car’s value is wiped from the purchase price when it leaves the forecourt, rising to around 60 percent after three years of driving. Even cars that are only a few years old are worth a lot less than their original sale price – meaning some bargains are to be had on relatively up-to-date motors.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that used cars depreciate far slower than new cars. Although their original value may have halved, it means that you will recoup a lot more of your investment if you decide to sell. Whereas you are guaranteed to lose far more selling a car that you bought new.

Depreciation isn’t the only factor to consider when thinking about cost, however. New cars may be more expensive, but can be surprisingly affordable when bought through a finance scheme. These plans spread out the cost into smaller monthly or quarterly chunks. Leasing deals, which are increasingly popular, are also an option. These schemes aren’t non-existent for used cars, but are far less common, with buyers conventionally paying upfront.

Used cars are also subject to higher maintenance costs, and typically return a far lower fuel economy than similar new models. Insurance premiums may be higher, too, depending on the car type. These costs are significant, so make sure they don’t offset the savings that prompted you to buy used in the first place.

Choice and specification

With regards to the choice you will have of different makes and models, new and used cars both score points. If you opt for a new car, it means you’ll have access to the very latest models and the advanced features they offer - a big selling point. It also means that you can customise the car’s interior, exterior and performance to your specifications – although this often increases the bill. It’s essential to note that new cars tend to produce a lot less CO2 than older used models, too, saving you money on your road tax.

Buying used means that you’re limited to what is already out there – but, luckily, that’s a lot! With enough searching, you will be able to find almost all makes and models. You may have to compromise on the specification, but it is highly likely you will find a car that comes close, at a much cheaper price than customising a brand new car.

Reliability and safety

One big reason why people opt for new models is that they are covered by warranty, taking the financial strain out of the equation should anything go wrong. Problems are less likely to occur in the first place if a car is fresh off the factory floor, having never experienced the wear and tear that’s inevitable after years of driving. New models are also usually safer than older used cars, benefitting from advanced safety technologies.

The above isn’t to say that used cars aren’t reliable or safe. If they have been properly serviced throughout their lifespan, there’s no reason why faults should crop up beyond usual wear and tear. You can check this by asking for a full service history. Equally, having less safety features than the newest models doesn’t equate to unsafe – as long as you research before you buy, and understand what you’re getting.

Making your decision

Whether it would be better to buy a new or used car depends entirely on your individual priorities and requirements. There are some real bargains to be had buying used, but you will have to compromise somewhere. Buying new offers choice and a high specification, but it comes at a price.

If you decide to buy used, Peoples Ford has a huge range of Ford cars, and others models, available across seven UK dealerships. Pop in or give us a call to discuss what you are looking for, and we will find you the perfect used car at a price that won’t break the bank.