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Which second-hand cars are flying off the shelves this month? The Nissan Juke is currently the UK’s most popular used buy
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4 mins read
27 April 2021

I will happily source car sales and reliability statistics from wherever I can find them. Proper stats, that is, not marketing campaigns masquerading as ‘consumer surveys’. Real information on real sales and real breakdowns.

Actually, genuine car fault data is hard to come by. In this case, though, there is a peek into what real people are buying of late, courtesy of the car finance people at Choose My Car. Apparently, the Nissan Juke is the most-bought used car as buyers switch from brand-new models to two-year-olds, saving themselves several grand in the process.

Click here to buy your next used car from Autocar

I do struggle just a bit with the Juke. My daughter mispronounces it with a ‘P’, but it isn’t overtly SUV-like and it’s decent enough to drive – and you can’t mistake it for anything else. All plus points, so what can we buy? Well, if you want a brand-new one, it is quite easy to get £3000-plus off at your local Nissan dealer. Or you could spend that saving – well, £3995 to be precise – on a 100,000-mile 2012 1.5 dCi Acenta Premium. This was at a dealer so there is some protection, and it’s a top-spec example with just a partial service history question mark. Prefer a lower-mile petrol? Then a 2012 1.6 Tekna with 67,000 miles and leather, plus a load of other things, including rain-sensing wipers, for £5600 at a car supermarket.

Another used car we’re fancying at the moment is the ever-dependable Skoda Octavia. Spiritually, I’m drawn to £1250-worth of 2002 1.9 TDI in top-spec Laurent & Klement trim and with over 100,000 miles, but it has leather and a very excellent MOT history. If that’s too old for you, then spend £6990 and get a 2016-shape, 60,000-mile 1.4 TSI. It comes with a full service history and, best of all for some, it is ULEZ compliant. That makes it pretty much the perfect used buy right now. So far, so very average.

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So how about a BMW 3 Series? Specifically, the saloon is in the top three of most-bought used cars right now. An £1800 320i from 2007 with M Sport trimmings and a solid 134,000 miles certainly looked the part. It’s a private sale so I’m taking a chance but, as a manual example, it should be fun as well as practical. Then again, a properly big-engined 325i from 2008 at just over £4000 is worth a go, even with an automatic gearbox and a very reasonable 75,000 miles. Honestly, there are so many to choose from this particular era of still decently attractive and purposeful BMWs. No wonder buyers are looking at them. Well, they’re probably looking at much later ones too, like a 2012 320d Efficient Dynamics job with 60,000 miles up at a reasonable £7495.

However, I do think buyers should be considering some properly sporty numbers. Maybe next time.

Tales from Ruppert's garage

Volkswagen Golf, mileage - 78,739: We’ve not seen the Golf for a bit, but all of a sudden exciting things are occurring. An imminent MOT, some in-car lighting modifications and quite possibly a new tyre. But first of all let’s deal with the big issue: the windscreen. Like all these things, it started small and rapidly spread, and after a day it was as you can see in the picture. It’s covered under our multi-car policy – well, it covers three of the motors – and it seems that mobile services are suspended right now. Rather like the old days, you’re obliged to go to a centre, none of which are conveniently located. The excess is £115, and at the time of writing the appointment is tomorrow.

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Reader's ride

Volkswagen Golf: Good old Gwyn has been doing the old-car thing.

Volkswagen Golf without an MOT for £125,” he writes. “I thought it would be a good runaround for my daughter on the farm (to save using her nice Audi A3). It’s had sheep in the back and all sorts, and eight years later, with a lot of surface rust, it still passes the MOT – the latest at 99,000 miles with no advisories. And I thought it might last a year or two! She has it serviced once a year and it runs like a bird.”

Readers' questions

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Question: I bought a new Ford Fiesta in 2018 and the battery keeps needing recharging. The dealer said to run the car every three days but it hasn’t helped. Can you advise? Jan Howells, via email

Answer: No new car in good working order needs to be driven every three days to recharge its battery. The dealer is avoiding its responsibility to properly investigate the problem. Unless you are leaving the car’s lights on or causing the battery to lose its charge in some other way, the cost of investigating the problem and putting it right is covered by the car’s warranty. Incidentally, in some cases, the Fiesta’s Bluetooth module has been at fault – a problem cured by a software update. JE

Question: My dog enjoys my Mini convertible even more than me, but is it legal to drive with the roof down and him in the car? He’s too timid to jump out. Craig Steel, via email

Answer: First, consider the dog’s welfare. Being unrestrained, his chances of surviving an accident are much reduced. And then there’s the possibility of him distracting you. This is dealt with by Rule 57 of the Highway Code: ‘Pets must be suitably restrained so they cannot distract you.’ If you fail to restrain them, you risk a £1000 fine or up to £5000 if your case goes to court. In the event of an accident, your car insurance may be invalidated. JE

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Beans57 7 November 2021
I've read so much about second hand car prices being high at the moment, but every car sales garage I've passed has had their forecourts full of used cars, I'm pretty much sure that there is plenty hype about car sales, prices etc but I'm struggling to see how there is a shortage.
AddyT 27 April 2021
Why does it always have to come back to BMW? There’s plenty of choice for buyers at this price point.
275not599 27 April 2021
A dog on the back seat of a convertible is sort of OK if it has a restraint and you aren't doing 70 on the motorway. I get angry when I see dogs, restrained or not, on the bed of a pickup driven by some bro with no clue. Never mind the possibility of ejection because of an unexpected manoeuvre, a 50mph wind is bad for the ears and eyes and they can't wear sunglasses.