For the vast majority of people, buying a car means buying second hand. Last year, over 6.8 million people in the UK bought a used car – around three times as many who bought a showroom fresh model – with the average value nudging almost £9,000.
And there’s a good reason for such an increased number of people choosing to buy secondhand. If you’re pockets are deep enough and you’re able to buy a brand new model from a slick salesman in a freshly tailored suit, the instant you drive that car off the dealer forecourt you’re doing the automotive equivalent of feeding money to a furnace.
The average car will lose 40 per cent of its value after just three years but after that period the rate of depreciation slows – meaning you get more bang for you buck. So what sort of metal can you get your hands on for the ‘average’ £9k used car? Click on the vehicle headings to see the what’s on offer.
Very few cars have as much all round ability as the Land Rover Discovery. In a post-apocalyptic world, the Discovery would be the sole survivor. The rugged and angular exterior gives you some indication of what this thing is capable of. When the going gets mucky, it can tackle the worst of off-road terrain with little trouble but transforms itself into a refined and comfortable cruiser on the motorway. Best of all, if you search around you can find 2006 TDV6 model for around £10,500 – the same model would have cost you over £37,000 from a showroom.
It’s the default choice for any company car driver. There’s such as vast range of engine and trim options available on the 3 Series, there’s something to suit everyone – from a pumped-up 400bhp+ performance saloon to frugal and low emissions family wagons. Unlike its rivals, the BMW is rear-wheel drive so delivers real driving thrills, whichever model you opt for. The 320d fitted with a 181bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine offers the best compromise in terms of performance and efficiency. New, you’d be paying in excess of £25,000.
You’ll struggle to find a better piece of machinery to spend your £9,000 on than a Porsche Boxster. It may be looked upon as the ‘poor man’s 911’ but this car is more than capable of competing with its bigger brother. Stump up a bit more cash and you’ll be able to put the more performance-focused S version on your drive, powered by a larger and more powerful 3.4-litre flat-six engine. The balance and poise the Boxster possesses is unrivalled, it never feels unnerved on the road even on the most unflattering of surfaces.
People don’t buy an MPV because they want one, they buy one because they need one. Happily, Ford offers the S-Max, which provides all of the MPV-ness you’ll ever need while still being able to put a smile on your face. Obviously it doesn’t handle like the Porsche Boxster but for the size of the car it could easily be considered the sports car of its class. It’s also extremely comfortable and relaxing to drive on long journeys, plus there’s a huge range of frugal engines to choose from.
As famous as Ferrari is for its supercars, Renault has a glowing reputation for developing good value and good fun hot hatches. The previous-generation RenaultSport Clio is arguably its standout product. It rides lower to the ground and is 15 per cent stiffer over the standard model, which makes for nimble and agile handling. Under the stubby bonnet sits a free-revving 197bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine but despite the grunt and addictive soundtrack, you’ll be able to return around 34mpg. Not bad going for a hot hatch.