Weighing your options: New vs Pre-owned vs Demo

Consider your options when purchasing your next car

new car
pre-owned car
demo car

It is always a good idea to do some research of your own when deciding between a new, pre-owned or demo vehicle – but it can be a little confusing trying to weigh your options properly. If you are in the market for a new ride, you have probably had your hands full considering the options available.


For one thing, there is no better pleasure than that ‘new car smell’, but there are good arguments for buying a previously owned or ‘demo’ vehicle too:


1. New car

Buying a new car definitely has its advantages – not only do you have the peace of mind that comes with driving a vehicle from the date it was first registered, but you will also benefit from the full-service plan and/or warranty period offered by the manufacturer.


You can choose the model right of the showroom floor, or you can customise the vehicle of your dreams with the dealer’s help, choosing colour, finishes and other extras, all followed with the excitement of driving your never-driven-before car out of the dealership.


Price is one of the main deterrents to buying a new car, and many find that demo or pre-owned vehicles cost less and may be more practical when it comes to budgeting. However, manufacturers and dealers often offer promotional campaigns on various new vehicles to ‘sweeten’ the purchase process.


2. Pre-owned car

Many people believe buying a pre-owned vehicle is far more practical and financially-savvy than buying a new or demo vehicle, although the price will depend on the car’s mileage, age and condition. It is also worth noting that the price of two used cars that are the same make and model sometimes differs. This is because every pre-owned car has a unique history and current condition and required different amounts of re-conditioning before the dealer puts it up for sale.


Owning a car that has been registered to a previous owner naturally raises some concerns for a buyer, but these can often be easily dispelled if you know what to look out for. The dealer would have completed a number of checks to ensure the vehicle is in good working condition, but it is still important to carry out a few checks of your own. Ask for the car’s service book and ensure any services done were carried out at reputable, manufacturer-approved dealerships.


It is a good idea to ask the dealer about any remaining warranties, service or maintenance plans on the car and when these are due to expire. While a previously owned vehicle will inevitably carry some mileage, there may be an option to extend service or maintenance plans further.


3. Demo car

A ‘demonstrator’ vehicle is essentially a new car that has never been purchased by an end-consumer. Many buyers shy away from purchasing a demo vehicle, convinced that cars used for test drives and by dealership staff are mercilessly handled and poorly cared for. This is far from true, seeing as the use of a demo vehicle is generally limited within the dealership and monitored very closely.


The ‘pros’ certainly out-weigh the ‘cons’ when it comes to demo cars. Regardless of age or mileage, dealerships consider demo cars to be depreciating assets – which is good news for the customer as this means you could pick one up at a discounted price.


Unlike pre-owned vehicles, demos often have service and maintenance plans in place and, while it is unlikely a demo vehicle would have already had its first service, any work done on the car would have been completed at the dealership, meaning that warranties and service or maintenance plans remain intact.


All three options, new, pre-owned and demo, have their ‘pros and cons’, but it is worth keeping an open mind and investigating all three options once you have decided on the make and model you would like to buy.