Used car

Buying cars? People think it’s like snakes and ladders

Car buying

Up until a couple of seconds ago, he’d set his heart on the black Golf…

Buying cars is full of pitfalls with the vast majority of people expecting it to be hard work. And as they get further down the road, nearly two thirds of buyers give up through the sheer mental exhaustion of the process.

A major study, conducted by used car sales website Auto Trader  spoke to buyers during the car buying process to identify the pain points we all face.

How we buy cars

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Used car tourism: Second-hand car buyers travel for cheaper prices

Used car tourism

Car dealers visit auctions all over the country to get the best price. Now private buyers are travelling too (Picture © BCA)

Used car tourism is on the rise with car buyers being urged to travel to take advantage of the regional variation in car prices. Popular used cars can be more than £1000 cheaper depending on where you buy them across Britain.

Used car valuation service CAP HPI has revealed that it found a three-year old Audi A1 selling for £1600 less in Nottingham compared to a similar model in the south east of the country. The result has seen an increase in drivers travelling from one part of the country to another to take advantage of cheaper used car prices elsewhere, according to one expert.

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Used car buying guide: best-selling convertibles

Best-selling convertibles

With the hoped-for arrival of hotter weather, many drivers’ thoughts turn to buying a convertible. Here we look at the country’s five best-selling convertibles. But rather than forking out for a new one, there are plenty of used bargains to be had with some models selling for hundreds rather than thousands of pounds.

Mercedes SLK

This was the car that started the modern trend for folding hard tops. Although the first generation model was far from perfect, the concept was clearly right because Mercedes is still making the SLK 20 years on. And as with the Mazda MX-5, there are models to suit all budgets.

Why choose this

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Expert haggling tips: Knock down the price of a used car

Expert haggling tips

We’d rather negotiate a pay rise at work than haggle over the price of a car

With used car prices staying high, buyers need to work hard to get the best price possible. These expert haggling tips, compiled by a used car expert, will ensure you get the best possible used car deal, not the price the sales person wants you to pay. The tips come from Neil Hodson, deputy managing director of CAP HPI, a company that specialises in used car values and data searches.

Expert haggling tips: channel your inner house buyer

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Why December is the best month for buying a car

Buying a car

Selling cars can be a thankless task in the middle of winter

It’s the end of the year and a brilliant time for buying a car. Whether you’re looking to buy new or used, it’s the period in the year when car dealers are under the most pressure to make sales. Which is great news for buyers. Here’s why, if you’re considering a car purchase, December is the best time to head down to the dealership.

Why is Christmas such a good time to buy a car?

Think about it. Buying a car is probably the last thing you want to do. You’ve got presents to buy, holiday to take, don’t forget forking out for the other half’s Christmas present, and then there’s paying to feed the 5000 on the big day itself. You’re not alone. Frequently at this time of year, the inside of a car dealership can feel like someone’s forgotten to unlock the door. If you go in willing to do business, any half-awake sales exec will snatch your hand off.
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Buyers’ market: New cars now cheaper than used

New cars now cheaper than used

It’s well worth shopping around for a new car as there are bargains to be had (Picture © What Car)


Thinking of buying a new car? Popular wisdom dictates it’s cheaper to buy used than new. However that’s no longer always the case. New research shows that thanks to super competitive finance deals and low interest rates, some customers can save nearly £500 by choosing new over used.

Sales figures show that September 2015 was the best month ever for car sales, helped by car makers offering great deals on new models. The result, according to Whatcar.com which carried out the research, was that brand new cars were cheaper than the equivalent second-hand one-year old models in almost a third (29 per cent) of cases.

Researchers took the cost of deposits, monthly finance or loan payments, road tax, servicing and depreciation into account. With the Kia Picanto SR7 three door, they found that a brand new car would save customers £665 over two years, compared to the year-old equivalent. While the new car would cost £3719 to run for 24 months, the used model would be nearly £4400.

Philip Nothard, consumer specialist for car valuation service CAP Automotive said: “Generally speaking, if a car holds its value well, you’d be better off buying it new. At the moment it really is a new car market.” Jim Holder from WhatCar.com added: “Consumers shouldn’t always assume a used car will automatically offer them the best value for money. Favourable interest rates combined with inviting manufacturer incentives mean it’s a great time to bag a brand new bargain.”

The Nissan Micra Acenta reinforces this. Buy it new and it will cost you £5020 over the first two years of its life. Buy a year-old model and it will cost £403 more. Even when new cars are more expensive, it’s not by that much. A brand new Jaguar XF saloon 3.0d will only cost £13.50 a month more over 37 months than a year-old version. And over three years, the new Lexus NX300h Luxury will only be £8.20 a month pricier than its used equivalent.

The figures were calculated assuming the cars were being bought on Hire Purchase or using Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals. These are when drivers use a deposit to buy the car. Monthly payments are then set according to an agreed mileage and the car’s agreed value at the end of a certain period, usually three years. When the deal is up, drivers have the choice of handing over what’s known as a balloon payment to own the car, giving the car back and walking away, or putting any equity they might have in the car towards a new deal.

As PCPs are manufacturer backed, they frequently have very attractive annual percentage rates (APR) to help boost sales of certain models. According to What Car.com in November 2015, on average, a PCP will save customers £459 compared to a bank loan over the lifetime of the deal. But it’s still important to check. PCPs don’t always give the best deal. A driver who bought a year-old Renault Twingo Play would save £1327 over 37 months using a bank loan, in comparison to a PCP on a new model.

Read how else to grab a new car bargain

Used car buying guide: Best £5k seven-seat car

5k seven-seat car

It might not look like a seven-seater but the Hyundai Santa Fe has that option (Picture © Hyundai)

The £5k seven-seat car. Think you can’t get one? Think again. Seven seaters come in more shapes and sizes than simply van-like MPVs. Here we look at three different hugely flexible family cars that are readily available for £5000 and offer excellent value for money if you need space.

£5k seven-seat car: Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

When Hyundai launched this version of the Santa Fe in 2006 it was an instant improvement on its awkward-looking predecessor. For a start it looked an awful lot better. It also had an option to specify seven seats; the previous model had just five. So when you’re looking for your £5k Santa Fe, make sure it was originally ordered with seven seats.
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