Far fewer of us than usual are buying brand-new cars right now, and that doesn’t require an explanation. People are still buying cars, but they have a bit of history. Nothing wrong with that. The feedback I’m getting is that a lot of people are waking up to the fact that they really don’t need a PCP any more. They certainly don’t need a new car with a warranty, because they won’t be driving 20,000 miles per year any more. All they need is the confidence to put money where their mouth is. So let’s find the right sort of cars that inspire confidence, but avoiding the high mileages that many of us don’t mind.
First off is a relative cheapy, at £3000, in the shape of a 2006 Ford Focus Estate. It has a reassuring sub-40,000 registering on its milometer. It has a 1.6-litre petrol engine, so there’s no worry about clogged-up filters or other expensive injector-related problems, and an automatic gearbox, which isn’t exciting but quite often means it hasn’t been hammered. It’s being sold with a warranty by a dealer, and all for the deposit on something brand new.
That’s my idea of a family vehicle, but for a normie car buyer, it would have to be a Nissan Qashqai 1.2 DIG-T Acenta Smart Vision, which is one hell of a model name. Perhaps that makes the £7890 asking price seem like rather good value. Anyway, it’s a 2014 model with 30,000 miles and a full service history. It’s a car supermarket sale, too, with one of those warranties, so what’s not to like?
Well, it could certainly be a bit more exciting. I dodged past some quite pricey Volkswagen Sciroccos and came across a 2016 Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6T, which really looked the hot coupé part, all black paint and thin alloys. Most importantly, it’s a Limited Edition. Well, actually no one cares about that, but the sub- £9000 price is reasonable enough, with a mileage of 20,000. It’s a really big dealer group behind this one; what could be more reassuring?
Then, entirely by accident, this popped up as I was perusing coupés: an MG X-Power SV. Incredibly and temptingly, it was parked in a garage just 20 miles away, under an MG cover and plugged into a trickle charger. Enthusiast-owned and up for £39,995 with just 12,000 miles under its wide tyres… There are more questions than answers about this one, and you would really need to see it to find out much more, because the details were fairly sparse.
It would be a risky buy and not one for my target buyer, who would be better off spending £35,495 on a 2020 Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TFSI special edition with 3000 miles at a main dealer. Which brings in the destructive concept of depreciation. Back to square one, really.