Nearly new cars: February 2024

Fancy the a brand new car but don’t want to pay the full recommended retail price? Save thousands by picking up one of these nearly new cars

By Tom Phillips Feb 19, 2024

If you want the best deal on a new car, buying brand-new is unlikely to get you the best deal, especially as the industry recovers from the pandemic and supply shortages. That's where nearly new cars come in.

The best way to save money on a new car is to look at a nearly new cars. They look and feel like the freshest new models on the market, not to mention still featuring that new-car smell, but they can cost substantially less to buy. What's not to like?

Nearly new cars will have been used to some extent and that might be a problem if you like to know exactly where your car has been.

You'll also have your choice restricted to whatever is available, relying on the taste of others. But, if you can find a car that ticks all of your boxes, you'll likely be able to buy it for far less than the list price.

Toyota Aygo X

Toyota Aygo X

The Toyota Aygo X is a small hatchback designed for the cut and thrust of the urban jungle. So while it might look like a small SUV, the plastic cladding around the wheelarches is actually there to ward off wayward shopping trolleys. Cheap to run and super easy to drive, the Aygo X is well equipped, too.

  • Toyota Aygo X 1.0 VVT-i Pure
  • Price: £12,868
  • OTR Price: £16,130
  • Saving: £3,262
  • Mileage: 1,000
  • See this deal

Fiat 500

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 has been brightening up city centres since 2008. But, thanks to a host of incremental improvements over its life, the 500's retro-inspired design hides useful contemporary tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-compatible infotainment. The 1.2 petrol engine is economical, too.

  • Fiat 500 1.0 Mild Hybrid 3dr
  • Price: £13,995
  • OTR Price: £16,790
  • Saving: £2,795
  • Mileage: 363
  • See this deal

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is one of the originators of mainstream family electric cars, and now well into its second generation. However, despite receiving updates to its tech and electric range, newer rivals are closing in. This means the Leaf isn't the hottest thing in EVs, which makes for a fantastic bargain as a nearly new car. 

  • Nissan Leaf 110kW Acenta 39kWh 5dr Auto
  • Price: £16,999
  • OTR Price: £28,995
  • Saving: £11,996
  • Mileage: 50
  • See this deal

SEAT Arona

The SEAT Arona is the firm's smallest SUV, but it comes well equipped and features plenty of usable technology. As this car's in FR Sport spec, it features 18-inch alloys, digital gauges and heated front seats, while the fact it's a 2022 car that's been sitting at a dealer until now means it's got a healthy discount, too.

  • SEAT Arona 1.0 TSI 110 FR Sport 5dr
  • Price: £18,495
  • OTR Price: £27,035
  • Saving: £8,540
  • Mileage: 65
  • See this deal

Skoda Scala

Skoda Scala

The Skoda Scala may not be the last word in excitement when it comes to a driving experience. However, if you like your family hatchbacks well equipped and extremely spacious, both for passengers and their luggage, then the Scala might be right up your street. It's made all the better with a decent discount.

  • Skoda Scala 1.0 TSI 110 SE L 5dr
  • Price: £20,400
  • OTR Price: £24,605
  • Saving: £4,205
  • Mileage: 885
  • See this deal

Renault Megane E-Tech

Renault Megane E-Tech

The Renault Megane E-Tech is one of the best-looking EVs on the road, certainly adding an extra incentive to make the switch from petrol to electric power. Other strong plus points are the Megane's excellent Google-based infotainment, high level of standard equipment and decent discount from new.

  • Renault Megane E Tech EV60 160kW Equilibre 60kWh Optimum Charge 5dr Auto
  • Price: £23,930
  • OTR Price: £34,495
  • Saving: £10,565
  • Mileage: 136
  • See this deal

Volkswagen Taigo

VW Taigo

Think of the Volkswagen Taigo as a slightly more sporty, coupe-inspired version of the VW T-Cross SUV. However, despite the curvier roofline, the Taigo doesn't compromise too much on interior space, and features a host of tech in the top-spec R Line trim featured here. Add in a good discount, and what's not to like? 

  • Volkswagen Taigo 1.0 TSI 110 R-Line 5dr
  • Price: £26,399
  • OTR Price: £30,590
  • Saving: £4,191
  • Mileage: 750
  • See this deal

Audi A3 Saloon

Audi A3 Saloon

The Audi A3 Saloon has an under the radar feel thanks to the fact that most buyers opt for the Sportback hatchback bodystyle instead. However, rarity isn't the only appeal, as this A3 Saloon features an economical 2.0 diesel engine, smooth S Tronic auto gearbox, plenty of equipment and a decent discount.

  • Audi A3 35 TDI S Line 4dr S Tronic
  • Price: £29,990
  • OTR Price: £36,510
  • Saving: £6,520
  • Mileage: 794
  • See this deal

Volvo V90

Volvo V90

The Volvo V90 has been culled from Volvo's UK new-car line up, a victim of the SUV trend. However, if you missed the boat in ordering a brand new one, you're in luck. Not just because this almost-new V90 Plus looks great with the subtle but effective Dark Theme exterior design additions, it's also priced to sell.

  • Volvo V90 2.0 B4P Plus Dark 5dr Auto
  • Price: £38,000
  • OTR Price: £50,315
  • Saving: £12,315
  • Mileage: 10
  • See this deal

What are nearly new cars?

Nearly new cars differ from brand new models because they have already been registered by a dealer with the DVLA and have a registration number. A brand new car only gets registered once it's been purchased. What's more, a car that's already been registered by a dealer can't be described as new.

Dealers often register new cars and sell them as nearly new in order to boost sales figures at the end of a month or quarter. This will help them to meet their sales targets set by the manufacturer, which earns the dealer a bonus. Nearly new cars are also described as ex-demo or pre-registered.

The good news is that these cars often represent great value, as they are often heavily discounted to shift them from forecourts. The dealer will likely register very popular models it knows will sell quickly, too.

What is classed as a nearly new car?

There isn't a specific definition of what constitutes a nearly new car, but we categorise them as having fewer than 1000 miles on the clock, and being less than a year old. However, nearly new cars are referred to by a number of different names.

They can be called ex-demonstrator cars, which means the car has been used by the dealer to give potential buyers test drives. This can mean the car has been fitted with a new or particularly significant special feature that can be shown to people deciding on how to spec their new car, like a top-spec infotainment system, which you benefit from as the buyer of the ex-demo car.

Nearly new cars can also be called pre-registered cars. This name tends to be applied to popular models that a dealer knows they will be able to sell quickly that have been registered towards the end of a month or quarter in order to meet sales targets. 

Do nearly new cars come with a warranty?

Nearly new cars are still covered by the initial manufacturer warranty, so even if you're looking at a two-year-old Kia, for instance, you'll have as much as five years of cover remaining. Essentially, you're getting nearly all of the benefits of buying a brand-new car, without losing an awful lot and saving huge amounts of money in the process.

However, the clock starts ticking on a warranty as soon as the car is first registered, so bear that in mind if you're buying a low mileage car that happens to be a couple of years old. It’s also worth remembering that some warranty and breakdown packages only apply to the first keeper, so check with the dealer that these benefits will be transferred to you.

Is a nearly new car the same as a pre-registered car?

Nearly new cars differ slightly from pre-registered models, in that 'nearly new' tends to be a term used for all cars that have been registered and are likely to have up to 1000 miles on the clock.

Pre-registered cars are a form of nearly new car that have been assigned a registration number but have almost the same amount of miles on the clock as a brand new car. Both options can mean you can save thousands of pounds - and benefit from a range of flexible finance options. You'll probably still get most of that new car smell, too.

How much can I save on a nearly new car?

The answer to this is hard to put a figure on, as it depends on the type of car you're looking for. As a rule, luxury cars and electric cars tend to lose a lot more value when they're registered, so discounts can be bigger.

If you're looking to save the most, we'd recommend looking for nearly new cars in March or September when the number plate changes. This is when dealers want to shift the greatest number of cars to earn their sales bonuses, so pre-registering cars is common to boost those figures. 

Nearly new bargains can also be found when a particular model is about to be replaced by a new version. Dealers don’t want old generation versions hanging around and taking up space they need for the all-new car, so they’ll be keen to strike a deal on any nearly new cars. If you’re happy with the outgoing model rather than the very latest model, it’s an opportunity to haggle for a very good deal.

One other place to find nearly new cars are some of the larger car supermarkets. If a dealer has ended up with a large number of nearly new cars it needs to sell in a hurry, they sometimes pass them on to car supermarkets to save themselves the hassle.