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What should I buy with a £20k Budget - New or Used?

What should I buy with a £20k Budget - New or Used?


Motoring journalist, John Swift imagines he has a £20k budget and looks at the best way to spend it on either a new, nearly new or used car.

Should I buy a new, used or nearly new car?

If you’re in the happy position of being able to spend up to £20,000 on your next car then you may be wondering whether to go for a new, nearly new or used car.

The nearly-new sector has always been a happy hunting ground for buyers looking for cars that are brand new, in all but name, and with the current market forces our imaginary £20K budget brings some very nice cars into range.

You can brighten your motoring life by looking for a convertible, fun two-seaters which will always hold their value well. There are several lovely Fiat 124 Spiders and Mazda MX-5s, cars which share much of their basic chassis structure, at this price level; one of them has just 1 mile on the clock and most of them less than 20!

Red Fiat 124 spider for sale

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Moving to the SUV sector, even the quickest internet search throws up 300 of them which have done no more than 100 miles and we’re talking in demand models too, Nissan Qashqais, Peugeot 2008s and so forth; there’s even an Audi Q2 with just 20 miles showing and that has to be tempting.

You can go through the nearly new listings, putting up to 100 miles as one of your search criteria, and comes across pages and pages of similar cars at surprising prices. At the time of writing, Auto Trader alone is listing more than 2,000 such cars…

A word of warning though; nearly new prices can whet your appetite, but you often find that the full package available on a brand new car such as maybe a deposit contribution, or zero percent finance, even a payment just to take a test drive; if you buy the car then perhaps some free servicing, these offers may well not be there for nearly new models, so do make sure you look at the bigger picture.

If you’re prepared to accept a higher mileage, do a 20/20 search, for a car with up to 20,000 miles and in the showroom at up to £20,000.

For something sporty you have your pick of Audi TTs, BMW 3 and 4 Series, Volkswagen Scirocco, Toyota GT-86 and there’s a similar choice of quality among big pick-ups, SUVs, city cars, hybrids and electric cars, estates, MPVs – the world really is your oyster here.

White used Audi TT

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Many of the cars will be less than three years old and still within the original warranty and because the majority will have been financed from new on a PCP or some similar package, they will have had their annual service and the receipts to prove it.

If you want a brand new car you can include just about any supermini you want and for something bigger you can’t really go wrong with the VW group products where you can find the best cars and most choice. The SEAT Ateca is a relatively new and already multi-award-winning SUV which comes within our budget even at the manufacturer’s recommended retail price; let alone what you might get with a discount. For a really good hatchback, how about its stablemate, the SEAT Ibiza; it’s a VW Polo in all but name and with its sharp styling it’s quite a head turner and if you want a recommendation, bear in mind that independent journalists voted it the Best Supermini title in UK Car of the Year 2018.

Red SEAT Ibiza parked on a leafy road

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Before you put your deposit down on a nearly new or used car, remember to check what incentives are on offer if you bought the same car new – if, for example, there’s two years free servicing on a new model or a £1,500 deposit contribution, this may outweigh the financial benefit of buying a used car.

Happy hunting!

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