New First Car vs. Used First Car

Which is best, a new car as your first car or a used? We take a look and compare the two...

New First Car vs. Used First Car

You’ve passed your driving test – congratulations! Now, all you need is a car.

You’ve probably already thought about what car you’re going to get and, correct me if I’m wrong, but you may have already resigned yourself to the fact that you will be getting a used car. Am I right?

But that might not be your only option, and it certainly might not be the best option either.

In this article, we’re going to look at which is better; a new first car or a used first car. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each, and what options are available to you.

What are the advantages of buying a new first car?

There are some obvious advantages of buying a car brand new, particularly if it is your first car. For example;

  • You get to choose the exact specification
    • If you are going to be doing a lot of driving, say to University and back, then you might want a sat-nav. If you are a parent then you might want to consider paying for an additional safety pack so your child is just that little bit safer. With a new car, you can choose the exact specification which means you can include, and exclude, as much or as little as you like.
  • You get the full warranty
    • This will save you additional costs in case something goes wrong with the car
  • There is no unknown history
    • With a used car you run the risk of having no idea how it’s been treated in the past. This means that you could end up being plagued with problems that you simply would not get with a new car. This could end up costing you a lot of money and is a lot of hassle. A new car is much less likely to do this.
  • They are much more advanced
    • While a new car will be more expensive it could be worth it. Cars have come a long way in terms of safety, technology and fuel efficiency and this shouldn’t be overlooked. Cars are much more fuel efficient now which can save you a fair bit at the petrol station and they are also much safer. These safety features (many of which come as standard) could end up saving yours or your child’s life and you really cannot put a price on that.
girl in car, holding out driving licence with a thumbs up - First Car
  • It doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think
    • Lease agreements and finance agreements are becoming increasingly popular, and are one of the only ways to get a brand new car without breaking the bank. This means that you don’t have to buy a brand new car in cash, and instead can distribute the cost over a series of monthly payments. This makes it affordable for you, or if your child wants to get a car on a finance agreement themselves (more on that later)

So, there are some of the benefits of owning a new car. They are safer, more fuel efficient and you could end up saving a lot of money in repair costs, plus you have the safety net of a warranty.

What are the disadvantages of buying a new car?

However, there are some disadvantages. For example;

  • It is more expensive
    • This is an obvious one and one of the main reasons people tend to opt for a used car instead of a brand new one. New cars are more expensive and it can be a lot of money to part with.
    • On the other hand, you could argue that you might end up spending more in repair costs and fuel (as older cars aren’t as fuel efficient) so that extra cost at the beginning could be worth it.
  • The insurance could cost more
    • If you are a young person who has just passed their test and are a brand new car then the insurance will more than likely be higher than if you were to get a used car. Again, it’s up to you whether this is worth it for the added safety and efficiency, but it’s something to keep in mind. Also, if you are getting the car on a finance or lease agreement then you will have to get fully comprehensive insurance for the duration of the contract.
Two man shaking hands, handing our car keys - First Car
  • The car will lose its value
    • Cars lose a huge percentage of their value in the first 18 months on the road. This means that when it comes to reselling you will lose money. A used car, on the other hand, has already lost a good chunk of its value, therefore, you won’t lose as much money as if you bought a new one. Of course, if you lease, then this won’t be an issue as you hand the car back at the end and don’t have to worry about depreciation.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to buying a new car as your first car. The chances are a new car will be safer, more reliable and more fuel efficient than a used car. If you are a parent looking for a new car for your child, you will be safe in the knowledge that they are in a safer car that is less likely to break down on the side of the motorway. However, they do cost more, and the insurance will be higher. Also, when it comes to reselling you could lose money, and that is dependant on what agreement you have. For example, if you are leasing then you hand the car back anyway so won’t have to worry about reselling. Whether you think a new first car is right for you is down to what you think is best for your situation.

What are the advantages of buying a used first car?

Buying a used car as your first car is probably the most common way to get your first car, and there are several reasons why;

  • It is cheaper
    • Again, obvious, but a used car is much cheaper than buying a brand new one. If you don’t want to part with that much money then a used car is the best choice
  • You could end up getting more for your money
    • Your money goes further when looking at used cars. Instead of being able to afford a basic model new car, you could end up buying a top-of-the-range older model for the same price
Lady leaning out red car, holding the keys
  • Lower depreciation
    • Used cars depreciate much slower than new ones. Therefore, you won’t lose half as much money when it comes to reselling (you could even get away with reselling it for the same price, but we can’t promise that will happen)
  • It’s not the end of the world if it gets damaged
    • Accidents do happen, and they are more common in new drivers. Getting a brand new car for a new driver could be more of a risk than if you were to get them a second-hand car. After all, crashing a brand new Ford Fiesta is a bigger deal than crashing a seven-year-old Ford Fiesta. Especially if you are leasing or have it on a finance agreement.

So there are some of the advantages of buying a used car as your first car.

What are the disadvantages of buying a used first car?

But there are disadvantages;

  • You cannot guarantee you know the cars history
    • When you buy a used car you must ensure the seller has provided you with all the paperwork and documentation before you buy it. If they do not, don’t buy the car. But even then, you still cannot guarantee that you know everything about the car. While reputable used car dealers shouldn’t be involved in any…tampering of cars to make them seem more valuable, there are sellers out there that would do this.
    • We recommend paying for a vehicle check, this will tell you everything you need to know about the car. We would also recommend paying for a physical inspection so any mechanical issues with the car can be flagged before you buy.
Man pushing broken down car - First Car
  • They aren’t as reliable
    • Parts on used cars have seen stress, some more than others, which does make them more unreliable. It also means you could end up paying a considerable amount of money for new brakes, new tyres etc.
  • Used cars tend to be outside of their warranty
    • Many warranties last for three years, so a car older than that will be outside their warranty which means you could end up with additional costs when it comes to servicing.
    • However, if you look at brands such as Kia, you may find you are still inside the warranty. A Kia warranty is seven years, and it is transferrable, so you may still have a few years left if you get a Kia that is four or five years old.

There are pros and cons of buying a used car as your first car. If you damage it, then it’s not the end of the world, and it is cheaper. However, you don’t know the full history and the parts are going to be more worn down than on a new car. This means you could end up with additional costs if you have to get it repaired.

Can a young person get car finance?

We have mentioned car finance and leasing a few times throughout this article, so it’s only fair that we address whether a young person can get a car on car finance.

As long as you can make the monthly payments (and are over eighteen) then there is no reason why you cannot qualify for car finance. However, it may be more difficult. This is because you qualify for car finance judging by your credit score. As a young person, the chances are you don’t have much of a credit score. Therefore, they may ask you for a guarantor. You can read all about finance for young people here and everything about guarantors in our article here. 

Ultimately, it’s down to you whether you decide to go for a new car or a used car as your first car. While a new car is more expensive, it could be worth the extra cost up front to benefit from the extra reliability and fuel efficiency. On the other hand, accidents are common in new drivers and you really don’t want to crash your car that’s still on finance. Used cars won’t decrease in value as quickly either, meaning that you won’t lose out on as much money. So, it’s whatever is more important and more fitting for your situation. For more information on car finance, then you can head to our finance page. At OSV, we do both used and new cars so whichever you choose, we will be on hand to help you through that process. 

Learn more about cars and leasing Visit our learning centre
Holly Martin

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

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