'Used', 'second-hand' and 'pre-owned' are all adjectives describing a car that's had at least one previous owner. Today, most modern cars are built to such high standards that second-hand no longer means second-rate.
Buying a used car is often the smartest choice. And it can be a very smart option - if you choose a 'nearly new' model, you can own a car of the same quality and specification as a brand new motor, but for thousands of pounds less. Overall, buying a used car is much safer than it used to be, provided you follow the right strategies - and it's never been better value.
Depreciation works to the used car buyer's advantage. Many popular cars lose one-third of their value in their first year; and after three years, it's quite rare for even a prestige model to be worth more than half its original new price. The good news doesn't stop there: between the third and sixth years in most cars' lives, the depreciation graph flattens out rapidly, older used cars lose a far smaller proportion of their value in real cash terms.
The significant downside to buying a used car is risk. Risk of buying an unreliable car that will eat up money in repair bills. Risk of ending up with a stolen car or a write-off. Risk of being ripped off. But risks can be minimised provided you're aware of them: our Insider Guide gives you all the information you need. And the simple strategies on the next page will help you get the best used car deal.
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