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Used car buying guides

So when is the best time to buy a car? Well, that depends on the type of car you’re buying, but generally, you’ll find more stock of used cars to choose from when the new car registration plates change. Many new car buyers love to have that special feeling of the latest plate, which means they’ll be trading their used cars around when the plates update in March and September. Expect to see more stock to choose from around those times.

Some used cars have been used more than others, so what can you consider high mileage? Well, the average UK annual car use is around 12,000 miles a year, which means a five-year-old car with 60,000 miles on the clock is perfectly normal. 

Some car companies offer a warranty on their cars for higher mileage, though - for example, Kia’s 7 year or 100,000-mile warranty is industry-leading. These days a car still has many years and many thousands of miles left in it at 100,000 miles, however.

If you want to be sure that your used car will last a long time, it’s worth buying one of the best cars for owner satisfaction. The annual HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index takes feedback from thousands of owners on how they rate their car in areas such as fuel economy, performance, technology, repair costs and, of course, reliability. Car brands with the most satisfied owners include Lexus, Dacia, Hyundai, Kia and Skoda. 

Insuring your car

If you’re buying a new or used car then pretty much the first thing you’ll have to do is insure it. With the cost of living going up, car insurance is a frustrating but necessary expense for car owners. 

If you’re willing to shop around and be clever, though, you can save money on your car insurance. There are other tips and tricks, such as not automatically accepting your renewal quote the next year, not being afraid to haggle, adding a second driver with more experience or fitting a black box. Have a look at our list of the top 10 tips for getting cheaper car insurance - you might be able to save more money on your premiums than you think. 

Insurance brokers can also help you find a better deal while cutting your allowed mileage to the minimum will reduce your premium. It’s worth avoiding powerful or expensive cars if keeping insurance costs low is important, so why not check out our list of the cheapest cars to insure right now

Value your existing car

If you’re buying a new or used car, chances are you’ll have a car that you need to sell, too. Selling a car is a bit of a minefield and is rarely an enjoyable experience. Check out our free car valuation tool

If you’re selling your car privately you’ll need to spend time writing a good advert, taking a range of detailed images and cleaning the car to make it presentable. Spending a little bit of money fixing things that are wrong with it can net you more money when it comes to selling, too. It can be frustrating, though, particularly if you’re dealing with unscrupulous members of the public. 

There are other, easier ways to sell your car, however: these might not get you as much money as selling privately, but they’ll save you an awful lot of time. There’s part-exchanging, where you swap your old car for the new one and pay the difference in value, Trade-ins where you simply sell your car to a dealer are common, too, but you’ll likely get less money as the dealer needs to make a profit on re-selling your old car. 

Popular used car body types

SUVs

The popularity of SUVs has exploded in the last decade, with buyers enjoying their raised-up driving positions and rugged designs. Not all of them are four-wheel drive, so check if you want to do serious off-roading, but two-wheel-drive models will easily be able to deal with rutted tracks. SUVs tend to be more practical than hatchbacks and saloons, too, with larger boots and more space for family buyers. Popular SUVs include the Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Tiguan and BMW X3, while there are smaller SUVs such as the Skoda Kamiq and larger seven-seat SUVs such as the Kia Sorento

Hatchbacks

Despite SUVs becoming big business, hatchbacks are still the most popular car bodystyle around. They’re usually compact and easy to drive and park, affordable, economical and have more practical boots than saloon cars. Despite the modest prices many are now loaded full of cool technology and comfort features, while some offer impressive performance. Popular small hatchbacks include the Skoda Fabia and Ford Fiesta, while larger hatchbacks such as the VW Golf and Peugeot 308 are also available. 

City cars

City cars are the smallest cars on the road, meaning they’re perfect for the tight, crowded streets of Britain’s cities. They’re also the cheapest cars you can buy, but modern city cars still offer many of the comfort and technology features of larger cars, and can deal with the odd longer drive without being too noisy or underpowered. Excellent fuel economy, plus low tax and insurance costs, mean you’ll be getting a car that’s cheap to run as well as to buy. Popular city cars include the Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto and VW Up

Sports cars

Sports cars are some of the most desirable and enjoyable cars on the road. Car enthusiasts love them because they’re fun and engaging to drive, often with powerful, exciting-sounding engines and light weight to make them fast in a straight line and in the bends. The best models also offer dramatic and elegant styling, while many still offer decent long-distance comfort and the latest technology. Most sports cars are two seaters, although popular models such as the Porsche 911 offer two small seats in the back for kids. Other popular sports cars include the Jaguar F-Type, Mazda MX-5 and BMW Z4.

Electric cars

Electric cars weren’t very common ten years ago, but now there’s a big choice of excellent electric cars in all shapes and sizes. There are fast and exciting ones such as the Tesla Model 3, practical electric SUVs such as the Kia e-Niro and affordable long-range hatchbacks such as the VW ID.3

You’ll find plenty of used electric cars that offer super low running costs and smooth, silent running. Electric cars are getting better as time goes on, with faster charging, longer ranges and higher performance. Check out our full guide on everything you need to know about electric cars

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Buy with confidence

  • Photo for Delivery or collection

    Delivery or collection

    Car showrooms are now open, but if you still want the flexibility of getting your dream car delivered, contactless collection or you want to view it virtually before you go ahead, our dealers are offering a range of options for you to choose from.

  • Photo for A warranty with every car

    A warranty with every car

    Every car comes with a warranty that lets you drive away worry-free from the forecourt. Many newer cars will still be within their original manufacturer warranty. Others may come with specific schemes that give you enhanced protection, such as 'Das Welt Auto’ by Volkswagen. But as a minimum, you can expect at least 30 days’ warranty. Just in case.

  • Photo for 10 day money back guarantee

    10 day money back guarantee

    We’re confident that you’ll love your car - but to give you some extra peace of mind, we offer a 10 day money back guarantee. So you can worry less, and enjoy your new car more.

Pick a stress-free used car

We’ve designed heycar with car buyers in mind. Whether you know exactly what you want, or need a little more help deciding, we can help. Narrow down the options with our filters, or get in touch with one of our helpful customer service agents via live chat.

We only have the best used cars for sale from selected dealers. We promise that all of our cars are quality checked, have warranties, and have fewer than 100,000 miles on the clock, meaning you can drive away with peace of mind. And to show you we’re serious about quality, we offer a 10 day money back guarantee.

We have a great range of cars for sale from all the big manufacturers, so whether you’re looking to buy a used car or new car, we’ll have something for you.

We also have cars for sale with finance, so if you’re after Hire Purchase or a Personal Contract Purchase then we can help you out.   

We’ve designed heycar with car buyers in mind. Whether you know exactly what you want, or need a little more help deciding, we can help. Narrow down the options with our filters, or get in touch with one of our helpful customer service agents via the live chat. 

Once you know which car you want, get in touch with the dealer easily by calling or messaging them. We only work with the best and most trusted dealers, who will  guide you through the purchase process.

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