Should You Buy A New Or A Used Family Car?

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By Luciana Oliveira

Whether you should buy a new or used family car is a major consideration for many families. It’s not always clear which offers the best value for money or fit for your lifestyle. 

The option you choose depends considerably on your personal circumstances and the function you need it to carry out. Vehicles have to slot into your life conveniently and deal with the demands you make of them. 

If you’re currently weighing up whether you should buy a new or used car, we feel your pain. That’s why we’ve penned this blog. The idea is to help you pick between the two options and arrive at a vehicular situation that’s acceptable to everyone. 

We split this post into two sections. In the first, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons to buy a used car, and in the second the reasons to buy a new car. By focusing on the positives, you’ll be in a better position to decide which option is best for you. 

Reasons For Buying A Used Car

Here are some reasons for buying a used car. 

More Choice

One of the unsung benefits of buying a used car is that you get more choices. You are free to pick makes and models from all of history, not just those that are in production today. 

While significantly older cars aren’t particularly practical for families, a choice of vehicles built in the last fifteen years can open up possibilities that wouldn’t be available if you stuck to today’s models. 

“People carriers” are a good example of this in practice. While some brands still make seven or eight-seat vehicles, they aren’t affordable. You often have to pay a premium because large families aren’t the norm anymore. 

That’s not true of older vehicles, though. Many leading brands, like Chrysler, built vehicles designed to regularly transport large numbers of people anywhere they wanted to go. Historically, it was the norm. It is only recently that compact crossovers have come to dominate the market. 

More Reasonable Insurance Premiums

Another benefit of used cars is more reasonable insurance premiums. While you will still need to shell out a significant sum of money every month, it won’t be as much as if you bought new. 

The reason for this comes down to the cost of replacing your vehicle like-for-like if written off in a wreck. While a new vehicle might easily cost £50,000, most used cars are under £15,000. 

Insurance costs on used cars are also cheaper because criminals are less likely to steal them. The amount of money they can get is significantly lower, again bringing down premiums. 

Full History Reports

Another benefit of quality used cars is their full history reports. Dealerships and responsible owners keep all the paperwork, showing things like servicing and previous MOTs. 

Full history reports shouldn’t be difficult to get hold of. If sellers equivocate, it could be because there is something about the vehicle they don’t want you to know, such as a faulty clutch or suspension. 

When looking through the report, check whether the vehicle’s asking price is fair. Consider how much it would cost to repair is advisories on the MOT report required attention. Also, think about how it would fit into your family life. Ideally, you want a vehicle that’s not going to take up your time with servicing and maintenance. 

Lower Depreciation

Another significant benefit of used cars is their lower depreciation. Vehicles simply lose less money in absolute terms over time. Furthermore, the yearly rate of loss of value also starts to slow down, particularly past the five-year mark if you keep the vehicle in good condition. 

When it comes to depreciation, be careful of the make and model you choose. Cars with classic aesthetics and desirable features tend to lose value slowly, even as their mileage racks up. 

Lower Cost

Finally, used cars are just much cheaper than new alternatives. You might pay less than 50% of the asking price of a new vehicle by buying one that’s over 5 years old. 

Interestingly, though, it’s the mileage that has the biggest impact on a vehicle’s long-term price. While luxury features are a nice added bonus, what really counts is how far the car has been driven during its life. That’s because this figure is a proxy for how long the vehicle will last and continue to provide transportation services. 

Reasons To Buy A New Car

However, as you might expect, there are also numerous reasons to buy a new car. 

Higher Resale Value

One benefit of new cars is their higher resale value. While they depreciate quickly, selling them can provide your family with an injection of cash if you ever need it. 

Even if you buy a car for £40,000 brand new, you can often sell it for £25,000 to £30,000 up to three years later. That’s because the secondary market for used cars is enormous. While many people won’t buy “new,” they will try to purchase “as-new” vehicles to reduce their costs. 

Better Fuel Efficiency

Another benefit of new cars is their superior fuel efficiency. Many hybrid vehicles can drive over 150 mpg in optimal conditions, a reflection of the efficiency of battery-electric powertrains in urban environments.

However, even regular internal combustion engine vehicles are significantly more efficient than their historical counterparts. Every time manufacturers make efficiency gains, they reuse innovations in new vehicles to cut down on unnecessary fuel wastage. Stop-start technology and regenerating braking are salient examples of this in practice. 


Many families also get new cars for the sheer reliability they offer. While older vehicles are prone to breaking down, newer ones can often drive for tens of thousands of miles without requiring anything other than the occasional oil change. 

Reliability comes from superior manufacturers and less wear and tear. Every year, automakers iron out the weaknesses of previous models to create cars that are more likely to survive wind, rain, city driving, and uneven road surfaces. 

New Features

When your family treats itself to a new vehicle, it can also benefit from new features. Modern vehicles come with highly advanced technology that changes how it feels to be a motorist. For busy parents, easier school runs and commutes are a godsend. 

But what specifically are automakers including to help families? Entertainment in new vehicles is significantly better than in older ones. As such, it’s easier to keep children entertained on long journeys. 

Improved drivability comes from things like 360-degree cameras and parking assist autonomous technology. You’re not having to fight with the car as much to get it to do what you want. 

Safety features are also vastly improved, giving you peace of mind. Brake assist, blind spot monitoring and side airbags are present on new vehicles but may not be available on those bought second-hand. 

A Longer Warranty

Finally, new cars come with a longer warranty than most second-hand vehicles. Some brands are famous for guaranteeing their cars for up to five years, meaning they will pay for parts and labour if something goes wrong. 

For families, longer warranties can offer peace of mind. With family finances stretched, large random repair bills are something you can avoid when you choose to go new. 

When trying to work out whether you should buy a new or used car, you’ll need to take your family situation and budget into account. Most families will derive more value from used vehicles because of their exceptionally low price, but it depends on your requirements.

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Luciana joined our team as a mum blogger in 2020. A dedicated mum to a lively daughter and a dog, Luna, Luciana brings authenticity and passion to every post. Her expertise in parenting and lifestyle topics offers practical, relatable advice for real-life situations.

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