Oct 20 2008 Steve Hughes
Your guide to bagging a bargain
IF every cloud has a silver lining, then the current credit crunch means bargains galore for new and used car buyers.
Price guide specialists Parker's has highlighted some of the best buys in its latest guide:
New: The Vauxhall Corsa is one of the best small cars on the market, and although the 1.0 Life version is one of the least exciting, there is no shortage of pre-registered models around the £6,000 mark, representing good value for money.
The official list price of these three-door models is more than £9,000, so customers choosing a pre-registered model at this price are saving more than £3,000. The three-cylinder engine in the Corsa is pretty slow but is capable of more than 50mpg and the car includes a CD/radio and electric windows, as well as a good level of safety equipment.
Used: Peugeot's 1007 hasn't been a strong seller, with many buyers interested in a spacious small car perhaps not won over by the large electrically operated doors and high asking price.
Prices are much lower on the used market and there are plenty to choose from, with low mileage examples at around the £4,000 mark. The cheapest models will be the entry-level 1.4 Dolce on a 05-registration plate. Although this version comes with steel wheels, it does have air conditioning as standard as well as front, side and curtain airbags, plus a knee airbag for the driver, and electronic stability control.
New: Large discounts on Toyota family cars are rare at main dealers, but the Avensis will be making way for a new model within a few months so now may be a good time to make savings on the outgoing model.
Parker's found a diesel Colour Collection model already registered but with delivery mileage on the clock advertised for £11,495. which is £4,100 off the normal list price. This 130bhp model has steel wheels, but comes with metallic paint, air conditioning and nine airbags as standard.
Even better value were some sat-nav-equipped 175bhp 2.2 D-4D T3-S versions, normally priced at more than £18,000 but a dealer had a choice of three for £12,691.
Used: The latest shape Kia Magentis is easier on the eye than many earlier family saloons from Korea and it is well equipped and better to drive than its predecessors. Used prices for the latest Magentis start at about £6,000 for average mileage examples.
We found a Kia dealer offering a 2.0 LS model for £5,995. This version of the car comes with leather seats, alloy wheels, a split/folding rear seat, electrically-adjustable driver seat and 17-inch alloy wheels. The diesel version will be more expensive, but for drivers only covering moderate mileage, the petrol version could be cost effective.
New: Most 4x4s are suffering as potential buyers are put off by running costs, particularly high fuel prices and changes to road tax that will see almost all 4x4 owners pay more from next year.
If your wallet can stand it, or your annual mileage is low, there are bargains to be found. The Nissan Murano is about to be replaced by a new model and is only available with a petrol engine. We found pre-registered versions of this high-spec imposing urban 4x4 starting at £21,500.
That represents a saving of almost £9,000 on a car that comes with automatic transmission, satellite navigation and leather as standard.
Used: To most people, £9,000 doesn't seem to be a huge amount of money to get into a four-year-old BMW 4x4. Such is the state of the 4x4 market that even cars with premium badges are suffering.
Parker's found a private seller advertising a BMW X3 2.5 Sport for £8,950. This 2005 car had just 37,000 miles on the clock and standard equipment included 18-inch alloy wheels, electric windows, cruise control, sports front seats and a CD/radio. The X3 doesn't have the same kind of off-road ability as a Jeep Cherokee, for example, but looking beyond a firm ride, its on-road behaviour is what you'd expect of a BMW.
New: Honda's Legend has a low profile but we found three pre-registered examples of this £35,000-plus car at various Honda dealers for less than £25,000. The Legend looks elegant and is very good to drive thanks to its sophisticated all-wheel drive system. For the price of a new top-of-the-range Accord, it's quite a bargain.
Used: Before the Phaeton was introduced, Volkswagen whetted customers' appetites for luxury saloons with an eight-cylinder Passat. The Passat W8 boasted 276bhp and four-wheel drive as well as a plush interior. The automatic is superior to the manual and good examples start at around £6,000 for the saloon.