The past few years have seen a notable increase in SA’s used car market. This is mainly due to economic pressure, but the quality of pre-owned vehicles is playing a role as well. So which one is for you, and where do you start?There’s nothing quite like getting into a brand new car, especially when this prized possession is your very own brand new car. These days, however, it is just as feasible to opt for a used vehicle, especially if it’s purchased through an approved dealership. The top deciding factor is your budget, and whether the car you want fits into the budget as a new purchase, or whether you should be looking at pre-owned. Below are a few points to consider when navigating this tricky (but exciting) minefield.
Quality and reliability
When purchasing a new vehicle, you will be looking at the reputation of the car you’re considering. When opting for a used model, however, you will also be wondering whether the vehicle has been left in good condition by the previous owner.
The best way to ensure you’re getting the best possible quality is to purchase your used vehicle through an approved dealership. This gives you peace of mind, and also recourse should any major faults appear immediately after purchase.
Service and warranty
One of the deciding factors when buying a new car is that you get a full service and warranty plan. Most Suzuki vehicles come with a service plan that can range from two year / 30,000km all the way to six year / 90,000km. The exceptions are the Super Carry and the Celerio GA.
f you’re buying a pre-owned vehicle you need to factor an extended warranty and service plan into your costing. The price will vary depending on which vehicle you buy, but if you’re working with an approved dealership they will be able to advise you on the best options and help you handle all the paperwork.
Is mileage a concern?
If you are buying an approved used vehicle, mileage isn’t too much of a concern. That said, there is an unspoken ‘rule’ that used vehicles fall into three different categories:
Over 100 000 km - these cars have obviously been driven a lot, but you can get excellent deals.
Under 50 000 km - this is considered a more suitable mileage limit and you are likely to find many options to choose from in this category.
Under 20 000 km - is considered a brilliant find! Many demo cars (those used by dealerships for test drives) fall into this category. Many will have less than 10 000km on the clock.
While the first choice is always to opt for the car with least mileage, don’t let a higher number scare you away from an excellent find. Be diligent in the details, vehicle inspection, and terms and conditions no matter what the mileage is.
Which cars are better to buy used?
The short answer is: any. That said, smaller city-slickers such a the Suzuki Celerio or Swift often come with the best used car deals, and maintenance costs are easy on the pocket.
If that brand new Swift is just outside your reach, you should definitely be looking at pre-owned options. An added bonus when buying a used car in this segment is that it often gives buyers the opportunity to ‘spec up’, meaning you can afford a higher specification model if you opt for used instead of new.
Fuel economy: new vs used
Fuel economy is a big deciding factor when you’re shopping for your next car, and in this case new is often your safest answer. This is simply because manufacturers are constantly refining their fuel consumption technology, so each new model is more efficient than the last.
At the same time, smaller vehicles such as the Celerio and Swift are frugal by nature, so whether you’re opting for brand new or used, you will be getting a fuel - efficient car either way.
At the end of the day, deciding between a new or used vehicle is going to come down to affordability and personal preference. If you are buying through an approved dealer, your pre-owned buying experience should be seamless. As with any big purchase, you need to do your research, spend time on test drives (new and used), and make the choice that gets you the car you need at a price you can afford.