Currently reading: James Ruppert: Why used cars are the stars of the sales charts
Popular new cars like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa are often just as good second-hand

The new car sales statistics are endlessly fascinating and the half-year ones are now in. Not relevant to the used motors we talk about right here? Actually, they are. Despite the 145,377 registrations in June, which amounts to a 34.9% fall, what we learn is that it’s the private car buyers who are still buying real things. It’s the business sector, which the car industry panders to, that has unsurprisingly faded away. The used market – three times the size and possibly more in the coming months – will be powering away. Indeed, many private buyers are shifting from new to used and a glance at the best new sellers suggests there will be shortages of these models.

In at number one for June is the Vauxhall Corsa (4528 sales), which has had a revamp recently. Hard to go wrong with a Corsa. There are, of course, millions of used ones to choose from and my eye was taken by a 2012 1.3 CDTi Ecoflex Exclusiv. Here is minimal motoring at its very finest. Zero road fund licence is a good start. Officially, it should return 78mpg, but anything over 70 is a bonus. With 70k miles under its wheels and five practical doors, this one had an asking price of £2995, which seemed very reasonable.

9 Ford focus

Another small hatchback staple at number two (4386 sales) and overall number one for 2020 so far is the fabulous Ford Fiesta. There are a lot of the 1.0 Ecoboosts around and I saw a private 2013 example in Zetec specification with 65k miles for £4299. It came with quite a lot of extra carbonfibre-effect trim and fancy alloys, which were factory fit and not aftermarket, and will deliver 65mpg.

The Toyota Yaris (4200) is on the third step of the podium for June registrations. That’s on 0% APR and £169 a month at the moment. Used, though, there are some great opportunities. At a Volkswagen dealer, one of their part-exchanges was making the new Volkswagen Polos look daft. A 2012 Toyota Yaris 1.3 VVT-i TR with just over 60k miles and a couple of previous owners, it was up for a truly reasonable £5000. Because it’s at a dealer, there has to be a warranty, but a three-year one is on offer – for extra, of course.

It’s another Ford at four, the Ford Focus (3551) – a used/new regular simply because it is an exceptionally efficient and practical car. A 1.6 TDCi Zetec Navigator estate from 2014 with just over 100k miles and a full service history is surely worth a go at £4699.


Read our review

Car review

Major revisions give the popular supermini a stylish new look and refreshed hardware, but to what effect?

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I think we can join all the new car buyers in their excellent selections, but simply pay a little bit less. Essentially, hurry while the good used stocks last.

What we almost bought this week

8 Honda mobilio

Honda Mobilio: You can find all sorts of wonderful things in Japan, and this Honda Mobilio (£3690, 21,000 miles) caught our eye this week. Despite being narrow and fairly short, it has seven seats and twin sliding rear doors (one of which is electrically operated), and is the perfect way to stand out from the crowd on the school run.

Tales from Ruppert's garage

7 Porsche cayenne

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Porsche Cayenne, mileage - 107,583: Here’s a Flying Pig update. No leaks. Several months down the line since the major surgery and it is still running rather well. I hope I’m not going to jinx anything. It is talking to us, though, or rather sending a message. The Pig reckons it should have a service in 1900 miles. I will try to keep to that. When the MOT is due, it will get its annual fluid change. It doesn’t lead a tough life but burbles around in an unstressed manner. It could only be improved by being painted blue, according to the actual daily driver. Maybe we could save up for a wrap in 2021.

Reader's ride

6 Jaguar x type

Jaguar X-Type: Phil has replaced his Vauxhall Corsa: “I bought what can only be described as a genuine 2004 Jaguar X-Type 2.0 diesel SE, only two owners, 159,000 miles with full service history (main dealer until four years ago, independent Jag specialist since then) – and it’s immaculate – for just £750.

“Not only are the body and interior spotless, but everything works as it should, too. The air conditioning blows ice cold, all four tyres are less than 20% worn and it drives like a dream, pulling smoothly and cleanly, with no excess smoke.

“Even more amazing, I ran her through AutoEnginuity’s ScanTool on my laptop and not a single fault code was shown.”

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Readers' questions

5 Porsche macan

Question: I have a 2016 Porsche Macan diesel. I love the car but, with all the talk about the demise of diesel, I’m worried that its value will plummet. Should I trade it? Rob Pearce, via email

Answer: I wouldn’t worry about the demise of diesel just yet. The used market is much more robust and demand hasn’t dropped as it has for new diesels. On top of that, the Macan is one of the slowest depreciators around and is still hugely popular with used buyers. Your one benefits from being a 2016 example, with a lower yearly VED fee than one from 2017, and this will also help to keep demand in your Macan high. MA

4 Nissan leaf

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Question: Could you suggest an affordable EV for my daily commute of 90 miles, most of which is on the motorway? I would be able to charge the car at home but not at work. Peter Lobb, via email

Answer: Your best shot is a Nissan Leaf – specifically the 30kWh version from 2016 onwards, which should easily cover more than 100 miles. However, you’ll need about £11k. A Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for £10k or a Toyota Auris estate for £9k are hybrid alternatives. MA


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LP in Brighton 4 August 2020

Corsa revamp

To describe the latest Vauxhall Corsa as a revamp of the old model is, I feel, slighly unfair to the new owners. PSA will have invested hugely in the new model, redesigning it from end to end with not one part in common with its predecessor apart from the Vauxhall badge on the nose maybe!

And as a general comment I think Autocar here is guilty of portraying all used cars as bargains and new ones as massivly overpriced rip-offs. Life is not like that and I believe that there are good and bad buy used models just as there are new ones - and for every decent used car, there is another that has been abused, neglected or has looming issues. 

For the sake of balance, why not issue some words of caution occasionally, or feature a few used car disasters? I am sure that we can all recall a few!