Buying a car through What Car?: frequently asked questions

What Car? is the UK's biggest and best car buyer's guide, and can potentially save you thousands on your next new car. Here's how...

Handing over keys

Can I buy a car through What Car?

At What Car? our aim is to make car buying as straightforward as possible, so our New Car Buying service puts you in touch with approved franchised dealers who are guaranteed to match or beat our Target Price. This is set by a team of mystery shoppers who are constantly checking what discounts are available, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of haggling.

How does What Car?'s New Car Buying service work?

Simply click the ‘Get best deal’ button by the car you’re interested in, let us know your first name, postcode and where we can send you offers, and we'll alert dealers in your area so they can bid for your business. It’s all done through our website, so they can’t see your personal details until you decide you’re ready to buy.

How do you use my personal data?

We never share your personal details with dealers before you have chosen to contact the dealer about a specific deal on a specific vehicle. You can browse all deals within the system anonymously, although we do perform a search of your location based on your computer's IP address for the purpose of showing deals local to you (although you can also adjust your search location by inputting a postcode). When you see an offer that tempts you, you can contact the dealer yourself using the phone number shown on the website, or fill in our contact form which will allow the dealer to contact you by phone or by email - we’ll send your name and contact details to the dealer at this stage.

How do I compare offers?

You can request quotes on as many different cars as you like, and your personalised ‘My deals’ page makes it easy to compare them all in one place. To message dealers, just click the ‘Deals’ icon, which can be found in the top right hand corner of the navigation bar on

Am I legally bound to complete an offer I express an interest in?

No. Deals listed within our system are not legally binding until a sales agreement is signed with the dealer. You can therefore decline to proceed with a deal at any time up until the point when the final sale is completed.

What about optional extras?

Your dealer may want to offer optional extras as part of your deal that are not shown on the website. These could include additional accessories for your car, or service plans for ongoing maintenance. You are under no obligation to accept such offers, and our approved dealers are regularly audited to ensure that their pricing of optional extras outside the scope of the website service remain fair and competitive.

What if I can't find my chosen model listed?

If you can't find the exact model you're looking for listed on our website, do not worry. We have a dedicated team of experts who will be able to put you in touch with a dealer who will sell you the car at What Car?'s Target Price or less. Simply fill out the contact form on the website and we will put you in touch with the dealer who is relevant to your purchase.

Can I get personalised finance quotes and part exchange offers?

In addition to our Target Price, we provide a Target PCP monthly finance price. This is based on set criteria (48 months, a 15% deposit and an 8000-mile annual mileage limit unless otherwise stated) so you can directly compare different models. However, every offer you receive also allows you to request a personalised finance offer, or part exchange value, at the click of a button.

What is a PCP?

This form of finance is the most popular way of buying a new car. Unlike hire purchase agreements, which divide the total amount borrowed into equal payments, Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals involve smaller monthly bills, followed by a larger final payment if you want to keep the car. However, most people never pay this; instead they hand the car back and start a new PCP deal. Find out more here.

When do I pay for my car?

Your dealer will ask you to pay an up-front deposit when you confirm that you intend to purchase the car. This will reserve it and enable the dealer to send through the relevant production notes to the manufacturer. If you are purchasing your car using a finance plan, you’ll start paying your monthly payment upon delivery. If you are making a full cash payment up front for your car, the balance of payment will be made upon delivery.

Are there any additional costs?

Using the What Car? website is free and you will not be charged for using our New Car Buying service. You may be requested to pay additional delivery costs if you live beyond a certain distance from your chosen dealer.

Can the dealer change their offer price at the last moment?

All of our listed dealers have committed to our Dealer Charter which promotes best practice in the marketplace. This includes a commitment to provide you with your chosen vehicle to the exact specification ordered, at the price agreed. In the unlikely event that a dealer changes their offer price between you expressing an interest in the offer and you buying the car, please contact us before purchase, so we can investigate any issues regarding the original offer.

Do I receive a warranty with my purchase?

Yes. Our New Car Buying service puts you in touch with manufacturer-approved franchised dealers. This means that when a sale is completed, you will receive the same UK-wide warranty as if you had visited the dealer in the showroom.

How long will I need to wait for my car?

All of our listed cars, like the majority of UK dealership sales, will be ordered directly from the factory, individually specified to your requirements. This means that lead times can vary depending on the make and model purchased, where the car is being built, and whether there is a current production run of that vehicle already in progress (many factories operate a batch production process, so different models will be manufactured in batches on the same factory production line at different times). A typical delivery waiting time is 12 weeks, although your dealer will confirm the likely waiting time before you complete your sales agreement.

What is the best time to buy a new car?

New number plates are introduced every March and September, which is usually when car sales peak, so savvy shoppers should avoid these times. It’s also better to buy in the second half of the month or quarter, when dealerships may be worried about hitting a specific sales target. Find out more here.

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