Out with the old: nearly-new motoring bargains

Car manufacturers just can’t help themselves, can they? Building cars, that is. Whether sales are up, down or indifferent, there are factories to feed and workers to keep busy. 

Something has to be done with all those cars and there is only so much that compounds or airfields can take, which is why dealers are persuaded to register some of their allocation and rental fleets are asked to take them on. These, ladies and gentlemen, are nearly new cars (NNC). As new, but with a filled-in V5 log book and often a fairly marginal mileage. So the asking price for what is either a dealer demonstrator or pre-reg car will be rather less than full retail price. New in all but name. What’s not to like? We say: buy while stocks last.

Mazda MX-5 1.5 SE-L Nav RF

Cost new: £20,535. NNC cost from: £17,999. Mileage range: 100-3000

As we all know and accept, the MX-5 is the single greatest roadster ever invented. The simple fact is that more people buy these when it is sunny, but an RF is the obvious all-year-round option. They are a tad better value of the current crop of pre-registered ‘demonstrators’. Pop along to your local dealer and see what they have on the forecourt.

Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 180 Vignale

Cost new: £29,745. NNC cost from: £21,970. Mileage range: 11–5000 

Under the dictionary definition of ‘nearly new car’, surely there would be a picture of a traditional family Ford, be it a Cortina, or the very latest Mondeo. That’s how they roll, making lots of cars, which are not the top fleet choice any more, so they have to be priced attractively. There are a lot of 2.0 TDCi 180 ST-Lines around at £20k. We got a little distracted by a top-of-the-line Vignale on 11 miles with kitchen-sink specification.

Volvo S90 2.0 D4 Momentum Nav Auto

Cost new: £36,960. NNC cost from: £25,500. Mileage range: 5–500 

Volvo can do no wrong. When it comes to SUVs, it dominates the school run and company car park, but saloons are a bit more sticky these days and not on-trend. The S90 is still a handsome old thing, but it does require some dealer contribution to move off the forecourt. If you go for their PCP offers, they will take £3511.20 off the full price, so that’s a discount right there. However, a preregistered car with under 10 miles helps buyers to save about £10,000.

Jaguar F-Type P300 R-Dynamic Convertible

Cost new: £59,700. NNC cost from: £44,800. Mileage range: 20-6000

I suppose not everyone is really that keen on a four-cylinder sporting Jaguar. Not only that, but most are not sold on the F-Type. Combine that with a bit of a downturn and an awful lot of recent Fs are in circulation. Most are dealer demonstrators, so they have 5000-6000 miles under the wheels. We found a convertible at coupé prices and a lot were loaded with £10,000 of extra spec.

Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 Puretech Feel

Cost new: £16,190. NNC cost from: £12,500. Mileage range: 4-3000

I suppose there comes a point when the world really is overstuffed with compact SUVs. The C3 is actually rather good, even though it looks like an overinflated balloon interpretation of an SUV. Right now, there are a lot of Feel-specification models being pre-registered and most have just a few miles on the clock. The others are demonstrators, but do look around because we found that Start/Stop examples and automatics are around £1000 more.

BMW 6 Series 630i M Sport Gran Turismo

Cost new: £47,385. NNC cost from: £33,350. Mileage range: 17-500 

I doubt I’m the only one who is now truly baffled by BMW’s model naming and whole niche policy. That certainly explains why many buyers just take the simple way out with a 3 or 5 Series if they want a saloon with decent rear head room. GTs are pre-registered at the main dealers and the interesting thing is that if you can find the more expensive and better-equipped M Sport, it can be picked up for the same money as the standard example.

Renault Twingo 0.9 TCe Energy Dynamique SS

Cost new: £12,200. NNC cost from: £7250. Mileage range: 100-3000 

The Twingo is going to disappear from our showrooms and already the purge of this cute city runabout is happening. You can get it in only Play and Iconic trim as a new car now but we chanced across a higher-specification Dynamique Start Stop. Well, it would have been more than £12k. They have filtered out beyond dealers to car supermarkets. The mileage can be well below 1000 miles to a fairly marginal 44 and up to 5000.

Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSI 115 SE (Nav)

Cost new: £20,120. NNC cost from: £16,500. Mileage range: 12-500 

Surely, Volkswagen doesn’t need to offer deals on what is its cash cow, does it? Again, oversupply is always an issue and there’s a Mk8 Golf on its way so dealers need to make room for their new demos. As a result, it is possible to come across an SE with all the clever infotainment services that buyers want. This one is fashionably petrol, but the 1.6 TDI diesel is also entry-level priced.

Fiat Tipo 1.3 Multijet Easy estate

Cost new: £16,990. NNC cost from: £11,450. Mileage range: 100-500 

Yes, Fiat still makes the Tipo and arguably it is best bought and used in practical estate car format. To keep customers interested and to make an already fairly good value retail price even better, there are a good number of pre-registered ones in the dealer network. Quite a few are the 1.4 petrol T-Jets and the dealers are loading on easy payment plans and fairly generous part-exchange offers to sweeten the decent deals. Great if you are planning on keeping it long term.

Range Rover Evoque 2.0 ED4 SE 2WD

Cost new: £33,000. NNC cost from: £26,560. Mileage range: 25-150 

I know that the 2019 Range Rover Evoque is very different from the 2018 one, but most of us will squint and still miss the subtle differences. That is reason enough to pop along to your local Land Rover dealer and pick up one of their few 100-mile pre-registered examples. There’s no need to go for anything complicated, because all you are going to do is pop to the shops in it, so the two-wheel-drive one will be fine. There are high-spec examples around and dealers need the space.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class A200D AMG-Line Auto

Cost new: £27,845. NNC cost from: £19,890. Mileage range: 159-2000 

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, Mercedes is very much in the mass market these days. It needs a lot of entry-level metal and pre-registering the latest A-Class is what it has to do. So there are plenty around and the savings are decent. As always, it is worth looking for the highest possible specification – roughly speaking, for every £100 extra you pay, you’ll save £1k – and going from an SE to an AMG Line is worth it.

Vauxhall Grandland X 1.6 Turbo D SE

Cost new: £25,460. NNC cost from: £17,995. Mileage range: 10-500 

Wherever you look, there are SUVs everywhere and there is a simple reason for this: people want them. However, buyers are snobs and would rather there wasn’t a griffin on the front. Then again, the chance to save money can change minds. There are plenty of marginal-mile Grandlands on Vauxhall forecourts and the 1.2 petrols and 1.6 diesels are the most numerous. At the time of writing, dealers were combining discounts with further ‘sale’ reductions. 

Why you should shop for a nearly new car

It isn’t compulsory, of course, but if you’re after value for money, finding a nearly new car is a great way to go further and actually save money. Obviously, in this day and age, it is all about the PCP. So adding in the options you want and a specific sparkly colour puts just a few quid on to your monthly commitment. However, if you can, pay even less PCP, because the total amount payable under the scheme is smaller. Alternatively, if you are an old-fashioned cash buyer and plan on keeping your new, used car for a decade or so, at least you will be avoiding the initial depreciation hit. Buy smart. Buy nearly new.

How to shop for a nearly new car

It is dead easy: you simply spend hours online tapping through search engines to see what’s on offer. There’s no substitute, though, for buying as local as you can. It makes life a lot easier. Find the best deal you can online and then take it and find a like-for-like locally. As you are right there in front of the dealer, they will be more than keen to nail a deal. 

Try new car brokers, too: you won’t pay them, only the dealer direct, but brokers might have agreed better terms than you could ever negotiate. 

Always remember that cars are pre-registered for a reason, often because of oversupply, a cancelled order, the end of a range, or being simply unpopular.

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