New cars are not cheap but sales of them in the UK have been rising relentlessly year-on-year. And more than 1.6 million new cars found new owners in 2016 with the Ford Fiesta continuing to top the charts (followed by the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, if you’re interested).
Yet most motorists are still paying more for their new cars than they need to; no matter how hard you haggle (and some of you seem to be very good indeed!), you won’t beat the experts.
Here’s my guide to the three websites that will save you money when it’s time to change cars.
Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of carwow*. Its premise is simple: you enter the details of the car you’re interested in and carwow then emails car dealers throughout the land inviting them to submit their quote for your business.
carwow has saved its users an average of £3,600 and sold £600,000,000 worth of cars since it started. It also has a 9.6/10 review rating on Trustpilot and won’t share any of your personal details with the dealers until you accept an offer. Even then, you deal direct with that outlet and because all of them offer delivery you are able to deal with anyone within the entire United Kingdom.
As an example of how much you might be able to save I took a quick peek at the venerable VW Golf GTD, a brilliant car that is all the car most families need – if they can afford it; with a starting price of £26,955 it’s not cheap. However, carwow say it has secured average savings on this model of £5,560 per car, a figure that turns an extravagant indulgence into a sensible financial decision.
I honestly can’t think of a single reason not to try carwow if you’re looking at buying a brand new car.
*Regular readers may also know that I used to write for them too. However, I can recommend carwow because the company provides such a strong and innovative offer that it would be reckless not to do so. Using carwow gains me nothing by way of commission or perks or commissions other than the satisfaction of saving you, the reader, money. The dog is very firmly in charge of wagging the tail in this instance.
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We show the Honest John Real World Fuel Consumption figures for every car we test simply because the car manufacturers’ figures are almost impossible to replicate under everyday driving conditions and are invariably woefully optimistic.
More than 100,000 drivers have contributed their car’s fuel consumption figures to the Honest John register, making it one of the very best ways to see what sort of fuel consumption you can realistically expect to see from your new car.
How can this save you money? Well, if you shortlist the cars you are interested in and then plug their details into the Honest John website you will be able to find out which one will be the most economical to run.
As an example, the Fiat 500 TwinAir 85 claims to be able to return up to 74.3mpg, slightly better than the 61.4mpg of the Volkswagen up!. However, owners report that the Fiat actually delivers just 46.7mpg while the VW returns 54.3mpg, a saving of around £450 over three years and 30,000 miles.
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I can see the appeal of being the very first person to drive a particular car but that sense of satisfaction fades pretty quickly when you realise just how much it is costing you – and how transient that pleasure is.
Autotrader is still the UK’s largest used-car resource and it’s a matter of moments to work out just how much that new car smell is setting you back. Our fictional VW Golf GTD’s price starts at just under £27,000 but I had no trouble in finding a pre-owned example with just 2,600 miles and some nice optional extras for £21,000. It will still have the balance of the manufacturer’s warranty on it and has the all-important 16-plate to show the neighbours that you’ve got yourself an (almost) brand new car.
Similarly, Autotrader works in reverse. Try looking at the cars on your shortlist and see which ones retain the most after three years and 30,000 miles. The differences between different marques will astound you and might help you decide between two rival cars.
Worth thinking about, isn’t it?
Next article: Four reasons to buy a second-hand car >>>