New Vs Used Car: Which Is Better?

Written by Danny Collins
Last updated: February 29, 2024

new vs used car

When it comes to purchasing a vehicle, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to buy a new car or a used car. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences, budget, and specific needs.

This guide explores the pros and cons of buying a new car as well as those of purchasing a used car, with a focus on the United Kingdom automotive market.

What is Classed as a New Car?

A new car refers to a vehicle that has not been previously owned or registered. It is a brand-new model that has never been driven on the roads by another owner. New cars are typically purchased directly from car dealerships or authorised manufacturers. These vehicles often come with the latest features, technology, and design advancements.

What is Meant By a ‘Used Car’?

A used car, on the other hand, is a vehicle that has had at least one previous owner. These cars are available for sale after being driven for a certain period or mileage. Used cars can be purchased from dealerships, independent sellers, or through online platforms. They offer a range of models, varying in age, mileage, and condition.

Advantages of Buying a New Car

First Owner

One of the primary advantages of buying a new car is that you become the first owner. You have the satisfaction of being the first to experience the vehicle and the reassurance that it hasn’t been subjected to any wear and tear.

You Can Design It

When purchasing a new car, you often have the option to customise various aspects, such as choosing the colour, interior features, and additional accessories. This personalization allows you to create a vehicle that suits your preferences and style.


New cars typically come with manufacturer warranties, providing coverage for a specified period or mileage. This warranty offers peace of mind, as any manufacturing defects or issues are likely to be resolved by the manufacturer or authorised service centres at no additional cost to you.


In the UK, new cars are exempt from requiring an MOT (Ministry of Transport) test for the first three years of their registration. This exemption saves you both time and money during the initial ownership period.

Advanced Technology

New cars often incorporate the latest technological advancements, including advanced safety features, improved fuel efficiency, enhanced connectivity, and infotainment systems. By purchasing a new vehicle, you can enjoy these cutting-edge technologies that may not be available in older models.

Customisation Options

New cars offer a wide range of customisation options, allowing you to tailor the vehicle to your specific needs. Whether it’s adding navigation systems, upgrading the sound system, or installing additional safety features, you have the flexibility to create a car that meets your requirements.

Better Finance Deals

Financing a new car purchase can sometimes be more affordable compared to used cars. Car manufacturers and dealerships often provide attractive finance deals, including low or zero-percent interest rates, making it easier for buyers to afford a new vehicle.


With a new car, you have the advantage of knowing that it hasn’t been subjected to the wear and tear associated with previous ownership. Newer vehicles generally have a lower risk of mechanical issues and breakdowns, providing greater reliability and peace of mind.

Advantages of Buying a Used Car

Save Money

One of the most significant advantages of buying a used car is the potential to save a substantial amount of money compared to purchasing a new vehicle. Used cars typically come with a lower price tag and a lower depreciation rate, allowing you to get more value for your money.

More Car for the Money

By opting for a used car, you may be able to afford a higher-end model or a vehicle with more features and options than you could with the same budget when buying a new one. This means you can enjoy a higher level of luxury, performance, or technology without breaking the bank.

No Waiting Around

Unlike purchasing a new car, buying a used car means you can drive away with your chosen vehicle immediately. There’s no waiting period for the car to be built or delivered, making it a convenient option for those who need a vehicle promptly.

Slow Depreciation

During the initial years of ownership, new cars often experience a substantial depreciation in value. By purchasing a used car that has already undergone significant depreciation, you can avoid the steepest decline in value. This slower rate of depreciation can potentially save you money in the long run.

Disadvantages of Buying a New Car

More Expensive

The primary drawback of buying a new car is the higher upfront cost. New vehicles generally come with a higher price tag compared to used cars of similar make and model. This initial expense can be a significant barrier, particularly for those on a tight budget.

Waiting for it to Be Built

When purchasing a new car, there is often a waiting period while the vehicle is built and delivered. This waiting time can be frustrating, especially if you need a car urgently or have specific timelines in mind.

Higher Insurance

New cars tend to have higher insurance premiums compared to used cars. The increased value and replacement cost of new vehicles can result in higher insurance rates, which can add to the overall cost of ownership.

Depreciates Faster

New cars experience the most significant depreciation during the first few years of ownership. This means that the value of your new car will decrease rapidly, potentially resulting in a substantial loss if you decide to sell or trade in the vehicle in the near future.

Disadvantages of Buying a Used Car

No Warranty

Unlike new cars, used cars may not come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Depending on the age and condition of the vehicle, you may have to bear the cost of repairs and maintenance yourself.

More Likely to Have Issues

Used cars have a higher probability of encountering mechanical issues or requiring repairs due to their previous ownership and usage history. It is essential to thoroughly inspect and check the vehicle’s service history before making a purchase to minimise the risk of buying a problematic car. That is why it is important to run a free car check using our service. 

Expense on Servicing and MOT

Used cars are subject to regular servicing and MOT requirements to ensure they meet the necessary safety and emission standards. These maintenance costs can add up over time and should be considered when budgeting for a used car purchase.

In conclusion, the decision to buy a new car or a used car depends on various factors, including your budget, preferences, and specific needs. New cars offer the benefits of being the first owner, customisation options, warranties, and advanced technology. On the other hand, used cars provide cost savings, a wider range of options, immediate availability, and slower depreciation. Consider these advantages and disadvantages carefully to make an informed decision that aligns with your requirements and financial situation when choosing between a new or used vehicle in the UK.