IT MAY not have the latest registration plate and the new car smell may have been replaced by the scent of a Little Trees air freshener but a “nearly new” car, one no older than 12 months, is where the smart money will be going this September.
A nearly new 63 or 14-plate model with less than 12,000 miles under its wheels represents fantastic value for money. Especially so when you remember it will come with the balance of its three-year (or longer) manufacturer warranty.
Who would keep a car for less than 12 months? Although they may have reined in production, car makers still have to keep their factories working. New cars must be made but not all of them find buyers willing to keep them for the typical ownership period of three years and 40,000 miles.
Instead, many of them have been leased by major blue-chip companies and rental firms, run by users of the government’s Motability scheme for disabled drivers or even run by the employees of the manufacturers themselves. Whatever their origin, nearly new cars just keep coming, and their numbers are growing.
Motorpoint, a national used car supermarket, says that its stock of nearly new cars is higher than this time last year. It has 1,000 nearly new, 14-plate vehicles – 25% of its total stock of 4,000 used cars.
Savings on the new price can range from £4,000 on a Fiat Panda to £25,000 on a Mercedes S-class. Typically, a nearly new Ford Mondeo costs £10,000 less than new.
A spokesman said: “When household budgets are squeezed, a nearly new car looks so much better value than a new one. To most people, it probably looks the same as the new model. They’re not worried about a few detail changes.”
Below we bring you Driving’s pick of the 10 best-value, nearly new cars this September. However, do remember that the savings we quote are before any discount that may have been offered on the new car. On some models, such as a Ford Mondeo this, too, can be considerable:
Nearly new bargain: 2014 (14-plate) Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCI Titanium X Sport estate with 9,500 miles, £18,999
Saving on the new list price: £10,000
Though it’s due to be replaced next year, the Mondeo still feels fairly fresh and offers one of the best driving experiences in its class. Both rear cabin and load area are enormous. At this saving, what’s not to like?
Nearly new bargain: 2013 (63-plate) BMW 320d Luxury 4dr Step auto with 11,000 miles, £21,999
Saving on the new list price: £12,691
Try asking for any discount, let alone £12,000, on a new BMW. At this money, the already superb 3-series just got better still. For quality, image and a great driving experience it’s hard to beat.
Nearly new bargain: 2014 (63-plate) Citroën DS3 1.6 VTi DStyle Plus with 2,500 miles, £10,999
Saving on the new list price: £5,556
Distinctive looks, a comfortable ride and some funky interior touches, Citroën’s sporty supermini brings bags of character to a conservative sector. This one looks a steal.
Nearly new bargain: 2014 (14-plate) Ford C-Max 1.6 TDCi Zetec with 2,000 miles, £12,999
Saving on the new list price: £7,566
The Ford Focus-based C-Max people carrier (or MPV) is fun to drive, versatile and well screwed together. The diesel engine is good for 60mpg but already, this year-old example represents money in the bank.
Nearly new bargain: 2014 (14-plate) VW Golf 1.6 TDI 105 SE 5dr with 10,000 miles, £15,999
Saving on new list price: £5,636
This kind of saving on such a fine car is not to be sniffed at. The seventh-generation Golf is as well made, understatedly stylish and good to drive as ever.
Nearly new bargain: 2014 (14-plate) Toyota Auris 1.4 D-4 D Active 5dr with 8,000 miles, £11,499
Saving on new list price: £5,236
Toyota says you’ll get over 70mpg which, with this handsome £5,000 price saving, should be ample compensation for a car that, admittedly, is dull to drive, though otherwise spacious and well built.
Nearly new bargain: 2014 (14-plate) Peugeot 208 1.4 HDi Active 5dr with 5,000 miles, £9,999
Saving on new list price: £4,986
That’s more like it: a stylish, modern, economical and capable hatchback for under £10,000, and on a relatively fresh registration plate, too. Makes a strong case for buying nearly new.
Nearly new bargain: 2013 (63-plate) Nissan Qashqai 1.6 Visia with 4,000 miles, £12,499
Saving on new list price: £4,641
This is the old model in the entry-level specification with the smallest engine. Still, you can’t have everything and at least you get a popular and practical SUV for less money than a new hatchback.
Nearly new bargain: 2013 (63-plate) Mercedes C200 CDI BlueEfficiency Executive SE auto 4dr with 4500 miles, £19,299
Saving on new list price: £9,731
There’s a new C-class now but such is the timeless elegance of this previous model, allied to the quiet, refined way it goes about its business, that this sub £10,000 saving looks pretty compelling.
Nearly new bargain: 2013 (63-plate) Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 Sport with 4,000 miles, £12,299
Saving on new list price: £9,986
This sort of price is where this otherwise expensive, when new, coupe should be. The Astra GTC is an attractive car but £23,000 new was always too much money. Now, nearly new, it looks about right.