Year-old used car bargains

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Chris Pollitt

With another new registration here it’s never been a better time to invest in a ‘new’ set of wheels. We say that because the cars we have in mind aren’t exactly dealership fresh, though they’re not far off.

You see, the cars we have in mind are those that have been happily ferrying people around for the last twelve months, only to be returned to the dealer in the name of nothing more than procuring the most up-with-the-Joneses registration number. There’s nothing wrong with these cars either, in fact a great many of them won’t have even covered 10,000 miles.

They can be nearly as good as the brand new cars they’ve been traded in for. In fact, they’re arguably better, as it’s the first year which sees the biggest hit in depreciation. That’s bad for the first owners, but great for you, because now you can get a nearly new car for a fraction of the cost. Here for your reading pleasure are our five favourite year-old bargains, and there’s something for every taste. Enjoy!

Volkswagen Polo – New £14,500 (approx.) Year old – from £7,500  

Volkswagens aren't renowned for being cheap these days – they’ve become something of a 'premium' brand after all. As such, buying one with a year under its belt is a smart move. The Polo, for example, is a cracking little car. It’s economical, spacious, safe as houses and a joy to drive.

New, you’ll be looking to part with anything from £11,000 to £16,000 depending on spec. A one-year-old example, however, could set you back as little as £7,500. Not bad, eh? For your money you’ll probably get a 1.0 or 1.2 with plenty of toys such as air-con, CD player, power steering, electric windows and so on. Crucially though, you’ll get one of the best cars in its class. The latest Polo won the coveted European Car of the Year award when it came out – not a bad accolade for your £7,500 year-old car.

Ford Focus – New £16,000 (approx.) Year old – from £7,000  

If you need a bit more room than the Polo offers, the Focus is the car for you. Famous for its brilliant chassis and great design, the Focus is the family car to have. Prices for a year-old example are exceptionally low as Ford has just released an all-new Focus, resulting in the masses jumping ship in the name of impressing the Joneses. More fool them, because their switch scores you a bargain.

You’ll easily get a 1.6 or 1.8 petrol five-door for as little as £7,000. You’ll have a stylish, spacious and safe motor for you and your loved ones. You’ll also have plenty of warranty left, too. Spend a little more and you can get a diesel with low miles, maybe even an estate if you push your budget up to maybe £8,500. You’ll still be making a huge saving, as the diesel variants are more costly to buy new. A Focus really is all the car you’ll ever need.

BMW 3 Series – New £27,000 (approx.) Year old – from £15,500  

As the rep’s favourite for decades, the 3 Series BMW is familiar sight on the motorway. It embodies German engineering at its finest and it’ll always make you smile when you see it on your driveway. Rear-wheel-drive, full of kit and with an expansive range of engines, there’s a model to suit everyone’s taste.

The thing about BMWs though, is that pretty much everything is an option. This means that the folk who bought one new had to spec the car at the dealer, adding more and more numbers to the final balance. Bad news for them, but good news for you! Splash out around £15-16,000 and you should be able to grab a year old 320SE with plenty of decent kit, maybe even leather trim, too, if you shop around.

Built like a medieval castle, the 3 series will last forever. Plus, you’ll be able to giggle to yourself every time you think about how much money you saved!

Vauxhall Insignia – New £22,000 (approx.) Year old – from £9,000  

If you’re in the market for bigger family car with a bit of panache, the Insignia is the car for you. It’s a huge departure from the Vectra of old – it looks great, it’s a hoot to drive and there’s more space than most cars in its class.

Vauxhall really put their thinking caps on with this in a bid to make it all it could be, and it paid off. Robbing sales from the Ford Mondeo from its launch, the Insignia has become one of Vauxhall’s best sellers. This good for you, as it means there’s no shortage of year old bargains to be had. Slap around £8-9000 on a Vauxhall dealer’s desk and you’ll drive away with super-frugal CDTi SE or even a CDTi SRi.

Spend a little more and you could get an EcoFlex model, a car which, despite its bulk, can hit 70mpg on a run. Other options such as leather, auto-dip main beams, turning headlights and navigation can be had, too. It’s an award winning, critically acclaimed executive family car, and if you buy a year old example, it’s one of the best bargains out there.

Range Rover Sport – New £55,000 (approx.) Year old – from £28,000  

Finally, one for those of you with slightly deeper pockets, and the moral of this particular beastie is this: the bigger they are the harder they fall! The Range Rover Sport is an amazing machine. It’s the epitome of luxury motoring and the king of modern 4x4s.

Buy a new one and you’ll have to sell your children and a kidney. Sit back for a year and you could save over £20,000 – not a figure to be sniffed at. Now we know this is somewhat of a departure from the other cars, but with a saving to be had like that, we had to include it. We also had to include it because it’s a great car. Your year old example should be a diesel (don’t buy a petrol, you’ll soon end up spending that £20,000 saving at the pumps) with leather, navigation, warranty, electric everything and huge sense of grandeur. Plus, every time you see a brand new one on the road, you can smile knowing you’re five digits better off than they are!