Why buying new could cost you less

* What Car? investigates the cost of six cars * We compare the cost of buying new against used * The right finance deal can mean buying new is the best value...

Why buying new could cost you less

Motorists can buy a new car for hundreds of pounds less than a one-year old vehicle, according to analysis by What Car?.

Most drivers assume that new models are always more expensive thanks to the sharp drop in value when the car is driven off the forecourt, and so think that their budget will only ever stretch to a second-hand vehicle.

What Car? research shows that this isn’t the case. The range of attractive finance deals and low-cost or interest-free loans currently offered by manufacturers and dealers means buying new can sometimes be the cheaper alternative.

The study analysed deposit amounts, monthly finance payments or personal loan repayments, excise duty, warranty and MoT test costs, and depreciation across a range of cars and found that used car ownership cost more in 50% of cases.

For example, a new Skoda Citigo, with its list price of £9490, would cost a buyer £5029 over three and a half years. A one-year old version priced at £8598 would cost £6246 over the same period. The new car will save you £1217.

Similarly, a new Citroen C4 Picasso costs £12,850 over four years, while a one-year old version comes to £13,436.

The study comes as new car sales surged to a 10-year high in March.

What Car? consumer editor Emma Butcher said: "Our research turns the traditional assumption about car buying on its head.

"Don’t take it for granted that a used car is automatically going to offer you the best value. The combination of low interest rates and car maker incentives can make a new car a better buy. Do your homework and you may just surprise yourself."

New car buyers can compare the latest hot deals on brand new cars at whatcar.com/dealsoftheweek