The ’70s are back. Indeed, many years ago, I would have been writing something about how exciting it was to buy a new car and what bargains there were to be had. Then a week later, I could do a flip-side used one, what with all those part-exchanges turning up. It is more of an effort these days to get us into the showroom. Manufacturers have money to throw at you tied up in a tempting finance deal. So let’s take these incentives and see what we can do with them on the used market.
Mini is offering a £1750 contribution towards a brand-new model, so what would that get you on the used forecourt? There are a lot of sub-£500 ‘spares or repairs’ that you should avoid, unless you want a hobby. Otherwise, there are some £700 Coopers and Ones with MOTs that seem to be worth a look before you click any ‘Buy Now’ button. With £1600, and a bit in reserve for some insurance and a tank of petrol, I can buy a 2007 Cooper with a warranty from a dealer. It has a full year’s MOT, six previous owners and just over 90k miles. For some, the most important line in the advert’s description will be that it is ULEZ friendly. So £1500-plus will get you a half-decent one, but caution is always advised.
Audi has a range of deals and will give you a £3000 contribution on the Q2, but there are plenty of perfectly adequate other Audi-shaped options that you can buy for £3k or less. Traditionally, a big-miles A6 diesel is a fine way to travel. So a 2010 2.0 TDI saloon with 160k miles and a proper full service history and just a couple of owners is very appealing. Then again, there are plenty of 2007 A3 1.6 petrols in tidy condition if you want something handier sized that will get you in and out of a ULEZ.
Traditional discount-led brands such as Citroën have plenty to offer, starting at £1000 ‘deposit contributions’, but its ‘swappage’ scheme amounts to a solid £4k. You can get a lot of used Citroën for that. Actually, £3800 gets you a family-friendly 2012 C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi with less than 80k miles from a dealer. Indeed, a Vauxhall dealer was offering two years’ free servicing on a less-than-50k-mile 2010 C3 1.6 HDi Exclusive if you don’t need the space.