Hardly a day goes by without someone asking me what car they should buy -- be it new or used. I always reply with seven simple criteria.
1 Buy what you need, not what you want.
2Make sure you can afford not just the initial price but the running costs and trade-in value as time goes by.
3Buy the dealer as much as the car. A good dealer is worth everything if and when something goes wrong. Be extremely wary of 'unbeatable' private deals.
4 Use every device known to man to check and compare prices on a like-for-like basis. With scrappage schemes and a mad scramble for market share there are serious deals to be had.
5If you have a trade-in, check a number of outlets to see what a comparable car is selling for. That way you have a ball-park figure of what yours is worth.
6 If you do not have a trade-in, please be advised you are a treasure to any salesperson worth their salt. They do not have to worry about disposing of your car. A cash deal should save you money.
7 If buying second-hand insist on a 12-month warranty. If the seller is reluctant to do that, then walk away. If they are not prepared to stand over it for a year, there is every reason to be suspicious it could give trouble in that period.