Approved used schemes: what each car company offers

UK approved used schemes 2020

Nearly eight million used cars changed hands in 2019, so the second-hand market is big business in the UK. Some of these cars will be as-new pre-registered specials, while others are unlikely to make it beyond their next MOT.

Buying a car via a manufacturer-backed scheme will increase the chances of finding a reliable and roadworthy example.

Here, we run through an A to Z of the major approved used car schemes in the UK.

Abarth Found

Abarth Found

All pre-owned Abarth cars purchased through the manufacturer-backed Found scheme come with a 12-month warranty, breakdown cover for a year, a comprehensive pre-sale inspection and a certificate showing that the mileage and history have been independently checked and verified.

Alfa Romeo Selected For You

Alfa Romeo Selected For You

Like Abarth, Alfa Romeo is part of the mighty FCA empire, so it’ll come as no surprise to discover that its approved used car scheme is almost identical. You get the same 12-month warranty, breakdown cover and pre-sale inspection, but Alfa Romeo also points out that some of its cars might be ex-fleet or multiple user.

Aston Martin Timeless Certified Pre-Owned

Aston Martin Timeless Certified Pre-Owned

Aston Martin’s Timeless Certified Pre-Owned programme is available for all qualifying models up to 10 years old. Along with the usual mechanical and history checks, Aston Martin also offers a 12-month unlimited mileage warranty, breakdown cover for a year, and a subscription to its in-house magazine. Furthermore, any servicing due within three months or 3,000 miles will be taken care of, along with protection against MOT failure.

Approved Audi

Approved Audi

Buy an approved used Audi in 2020 and you’ll be covered by a one-year warranty with breakdown cover. The offer is valid for vehicles up to eight years old and up to 100,000 miles at the point of activation. All approved cars must pass a 149-point inspection and are covered by a 30 days/1,000 miles exchange plan. You’re also protected from the cost of MOT repairs up to a value of £750.

Certified by Bentley

Pre-Owned Bentley

A pre-owned Bentley comes with a 12-month unlimited mileage warranty and a certificate of authenticity to establish its provenance. Owners will also receive a free subscription to the in-house magazine, an invitation to dealer events, plus a tour of the Bentley factory in Crewe.

BMW Approved Used Cars

BMW Approved Used Cars

All approved used BMWs come with a 12-month unlimited mileage warranty and breakdown cover for the same period. BMW will also pay for any MOT work carried out during the period of the warranty.

Citroen Select

Citroen Select

All approved used Citroens must pass a 112-point pre-delivery inspection and are offered with a minimum 12-month warranty. All cars are covered by European breakdown cover, MOT test protection and a 30-day/1,000-mile fault-based exchange programme.

Dacia Approved

Dacia Approved

All Dacia Approved used vehicles come with a 12-month warranty, the usual condition checks and a 30-day exchange promise. It’s also worth pointing out that, if the car is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, the used guarantee will be topped up where necessary. This applies to the majority of warranties featured here.

DS Automobiles Certified

DS Automobiles Certified

DS Automobiles’ used car scheme is a touch better than Citroen’s. Buy a DS Certified car and you’ll get a minimum 24-month warranty, European breakdown cover for the same period, plus a 30-day/1,000-mile exchange programme. Furthermore, all cars are put through a 120-point pre-delivery inspection, which is eight more than you get when you buy a used Citroen.

Ferrari Approved

Ferrari Approved

Ferrari’s Approved used car programme covers Ferraris registered within the last 14 years. The package includes a 190-point inspection, a 24-month warranty and European breakdown cover for two years (12 months for the rest of the world). The roadside assistance includes travel and accommodation, plus a rental car for the duration of the repairs.

Fiat Found Approved

Fiat Found Approved

Fiat’s Found Approved used car scheme includes a 12-month warranty, breakdown cover for 12 months and a pre-sale inspection. Fiat points out that some of its cars might be ex-fleet or multiple user.

Ford Approved and Ford Direct

Ford Approved and Ford Direct

Ford operates two approved used car schemes. Ford Direct cars are ex-management or ex-demonstrator models that come with a two-year unlimited mileage warranty, breakdown assistance for two years, a 30-day exchange programme and insurance for three days. Ford Direct cars are reconditioned to as-new standard. Ford Approved cars tend to be older and come with the balance of the manufacturer’s warranty, breakdown assistance for 12 months, a 75-point inspection, 30-day exchange and insurance for three days.

Honda Approved

Honda Approved

All cars sold through Honda’s Approved used car scheme are subjected to a 100-point check and come with a 12-month guarantee. Along with roadside assistance for a year, customers are also entitled to a 30-day exchange policy.

Hyundai H Promise

Hyundai H Promise

New Hyundais are covered by a comprehensive five-year warranty, but if this has expired, the used car will come with cover for 12 months. All cars come with roadside assistance for a year, a safety and condition check, plus a 30-day/1,000-mile exchange agreement.

Approved Jaguar

Approved Jaguar

Jaguar offers a minimum one-year warranty plus European breakdown cover for 12 months. All cars are subjected to a 165-point check and come with MOT cover up to the value of £750 (with a £50 excess). There’s also a seven-day insurance package and a 30-day/1,000-mile conditional car exchange agreement.

Selected for You Jeep

Selected for You Jeep

Jeep’s approved used car scheme is called Selected for You, and features a 12-month warranty and breakdown cover for the same period. There’s also a pre-sale inspection and a 30-day exchange promise.

Kia Approved Used

Kia Approved Used

Kia Approved Used cars are less than 20 months old and have covered less than 20,000 miles, which means they’re still covered by the seven-year new car guarantee. You’ll also receive free ‘driveaway’ insurance, a 60-day/1,000-mile exchange plan, breakdown assistance for a year, first-year MOT cover up to £1,000 and 24-hour accident aftercare.

Approved Land Rover

Approved Land Rover

Land Rover offers a minimum one-year warranty with European breakdown cover for 12 months. All cars are subjected to a 165-point check and come with MOT cover up to the value of £750 (with a £50 excess). There’s also a seven-day insurance package and a 30-day/1,000-mile conditional car exchange agreement. As a bonus, you’re invited to spend half a day at a Land Rover Experience Centre.

Lexus Select Approved Pre-Owned

Lexus Select Approved Pre-Owned

Buy a Lexus through the Select Approved Pre-Owned scheme and you’ll get a 12-month warranty with the same level of cover as the original manufacturer’s warranty. Cars are subjected to a 150-point check and you also get 12 months breakdown cover and a 30-day/1,000-mile exchange policy. A hybrid health check adds an extra one-year/10,000-mile battery warranty extension, until the vehicle is 15 years old.

Maserati Approved

Maserati Approved

Maserati says its ‘pre-driven vehicles are selected and approved for the Maserati Approved programme based on condition and service history’. All cars are subjected to a 121-point inspection and come with a two-year unlimited mileage warranty and breakdown assistance for 24 months. At the time of writing, only 2015-2018 GranTurismo, Grancabrio, Quattroporte, Levante and Ghibli models qualify for the scheme.

Mazda Approved Used Cars

Mazda Approved Used Cars

The Mazda Approved Used Car scheme offers cars with a 12-month unlimited mileage warranty, breakdown cover for a year, £250 insurance excess return in the event of an accident, MOT protection up to the value of £750, seven-day insurance cover and a 30-day/1,000-mile exchange programme.

McLaren Qualified

McLaren Qualified

If you’re fortunate enough to be buying an approved pre-owned McLaren, you’ll receive a minimum 12-month warranty, breakdown assistance for a year, all servicing due within three months to be carried out, tyres with at least 3mm of tread, and all necessary provenance checks.

Mercedes-Benz Approved Used

Mercedes-Benz Approved Used

Every Approved Used Mercedes-Benz comes with a 12-month unlimited mileage warranty. While the car is being repaired, Mercedes-Benz will also pay up to £100 per day towards the cost of a replacement vehicle. You’ll also get roadside assistance for a year, key insurance, MOT test failure cover, seven-day insurance cover, and a free service if one is due in the first 3,000 miles or three months of ownership.

Approved Used MG

Approved Used MG

All Approved Used MG cars come with the balance of the manufacturer’s warranty (balance of three years and 60,000 miles, or an additional year for older cars with higher mileages). All cars are subjected to a 130-point check, while drivers get a complimentary seven-day insurance policy. All cars come with breakdown cover for 12 months.

Approved Used Mini

Approved Used Mini

Once inspected, all Approved Used Mini vehicles come with a warranty and breakdown package for a minimum of 12 months. You also receive MOT test cover for at least a year (six months in Northern Ireland).

Mitsubishi Approved Used

Mitsubishi Approved Used

All eligible Mitsubishi vehicles come with a 12-month unlimited mileage warranty, a 30-day exchange plan if your vehicle has been off the road in a Mitsubishi dealer for at least 14 days, driveaway insurance and MOT cover for up to £750. All vehicles are also entitled to a lifetime health check at the dealership they were sold from.

Nissan Intelligent Choice

Nissan Intelligent Choice

The Nissan Intelligent Choice used car scheme includes a warranty for a minimum of 12 months, continuous breakdown cover when the car is serviced at a main dealer, a free courtesy car when the vehicle is in for service or repair, MOT test cover, plus a 30-day/1,000-mile exchange promise. Electric cars are also covered by a battery warranty, with Nissan promising to replace any part of the battery causing capacity loss below nine bars within the battery warranty period.

Peugeot Approved Used

Peugeot Approved Used

The Peugeot Approved Used scheme includes a warranty of at least 12 months, roadside assistance, MOT test cover up to £750, a 112-point inspection, and a 30-day/1,000-mile exchange programme.

Porsche Approved

Porsche Approved

Porsche will provide cover for cars up to their 15th year, with each vehicle subjected to a rigorous 111-point check. The Porsche Approved warranty covers a period of at least 12 months, with any routine servicing or maintenance due within the next three months or 3,000 miles carried out as a matter of course. Porsche will also fit N-rated tyres to a minimum tread depth of 3mm, with the paint refinished to ‘exacting Porsche standards’.

Renault Approved

Renault Approved

All Renault approved vehicles come with a warranty for at least 12 months, breakdown cover for a year, a 30-day exchange promise and driveaway insurance.

Rolls-Royce Provenance

Rolls-Royce Provenance

An approved pre-owned Rolls-Royce will come with peace of mind for up to two years. The Provenance package includes a warranty, roadside assistance, MOT test cover and a servicing package for 24 months.

Seat Approved

Seat Approved

All approved Seat cars come with a 12-month warranty, MOT protection and roadside assistance, plus free insurance for five days. There’s also a 30-day/1,000-mile ‘no quibble’ exchange promise.

Approved Used Skoda

Approved Used Skoda

All Approved Used Skoda cars come with a warranty and MOT test cover for 12 months, plus insurance for five days. If you’re buying a car aged three to five years old, Skoda will also give you a second year of warranty and roadside assistance if you purchase using a PCP deal

Smart Approved

Smart Approved

A Smart Approved used car will have passed a ‘rigorous’ multi-point inspection and come with a 12 months’ unlimited mileage warranty and roadside assistance. Smart will also include MOT test failure cover for vehicles more than two years old.

Subaru Proven

Subaru Proven

All Subarus sold via the Proven used car scheme come with a minimum 12-month warranty, breakdown assistance for 12 months and a 30-day/1,000-mile exchange commitment. All vehicles will have no more than 80,000 miles on the clock and will be less than seven years in age from the registration date.

Suzuki Approved Used Car Promise

Suzuki Approved Used Car Promise

Used cars purchased through the Suzuki Approved Used Car Promise programme come with a warranty, MOT protection and European breakdown cover.

Tesla

Tesla

Used Model S and Model X are covered for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Used Model 3 vehicles are covered by the remaining balance of the new car warranty.

Toyota Plus

Toyota Plus

Toyota Plus used cars come with a minimum 12-month unlimited warranty, MOT test cover, European roadside assistance, car hire and onward travel in the event of a breakdown, and a 30-day/500-mile exchange plan.

Vauxhall Network Q

Vauxhall Network Q

Vauxhall’s famous Network Q used car scheme includes a 12-month warranty, breakdown assistance for 12 months, insurance cover for five days, and a 30-day exchange pledge. Customers also benefit from discounted servicing, parts and MOTs.

Volkswagen Das WeltAuto

Volkswagen Das WeltAuto

Volkswagen’s Das WeltAuto used car scheme includes a 142-point check, a 12-month unlimited mileage warranty, a 30-day/1,000-mile exchange policy, roadside assistance for 12 months and insurance cover for five days.

Volvo Selekt

Volvo Selekt

Volvo’s used cars are subjected to a 150-point check, software upgrade and come with a 12-month warranty and breakdown assistance for 12 months. You’re also covered by a 30-day/1,500-mile exchange guarantee.

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How to sell your car for the best price

01_Advertise_Car

Advertising your car for sale – it sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong.

Little mistakes can make a big difference and could affect the final price you agree with a buyer.

Worse still, it could mean the difference between shifting your car in record time or it being sat on your driveway for longer than expected.

With our guide to advertising your car for sale, you should sell your used car swiftly and with the minimum of fuss.

Prepare your car for sale

Before you get as far as listing the car for sale, you’ll need to prepare it for viewing. Those empty crisp packets in the footwell, dog hairs in the boot and sticky finger marks on the rear windows aren’t a good look.

Potential buyers will make snap decisions based on the car they see in the photographs, so spending half a day washing and waxing will pay dividends in the long run. At the very least, a visit to the local hand car wash will ensure your vehicle is fit to be seen.

Alternatively, bring in the experts. A mini valet is likely to cost upwards of £30 and will include a wash and wax, interior dust and vacuum, window clean and rubbish removal. That should be enough to attract potential buyers on the strength of your advertisement.

Washing the car

For seriously soiled motors, a full valet is a good move – especially for more expensive cars. Think of this as a deep clean, which is likely to include a polish, power-washed wheelarches, an interior shampoo, the door and boot shuts cleaned and the interior deodorised.  

Prices vary depending on the size of car, length of valet and additional services, such as engine steam cleaning. But £100 to £200 could be money well spent if you’re looking to achieve a top price for your motor.

Any chips, dents or damage you find should be rectified prior to sale, but only if it will affect the price you expect to achieve. There’s little point spending £250 on a car that’s worth just £500. Use your common sense.

Where to sell your car

Once upon a time, selling a car meant selecting from a small number of options, with the weekly Auto Trader magazine the most likely avenue. Other options included the small ads in the local newspaper, weekly car magazines and the Post Office noticeboard.

Times have changed and there are a number of different outlets to choose from. Here are some of the most popular:

Online

Simply advertising your car online and hoping for the best isn’t enough – you have to select the most appropriate channel. Consider the car and the audience it is likely to appeal to.

If it’s a performance car, PistonHeads might be the best option. For older vehicles, have a look at Car & Classic. It’s free to list your vehicle and many fans of retro and classic cars will happily spend an hour on the site, dreaming of filling their fantasy garage.

Searching for a car

What was once the printed hero of used car market is now one of the leading outlets of the digital age. Auto Trader claims a car is listed for sale every 60 seconds, with the site featuring a number of different search options and pre-defined fields.

Other outlets to consider include Gumtree, one-make car forums, social media and auction site eBay. 

Print

While selling online is quick and easy, printed media should not be ruled out. If you’re not in a hurry to sell or are looking to achieve the maximum price possible, advertising in a glossy car magazine could be for you.

You should also consider the weekly classic car newspapers, such as Classic Car Weekly and Classic Car Buyer. Remember, not everyone heads online to buy a car. Traditional methods still work.

Other options

Other options to consider are traditional auctions, part-exchanging at a local dealer or selling via a company such as We Buy Any Car. 

There are pros and cons associated with each option, so decide which one is best for you. Bear in mind that, in the majority of cases, you’re likely to achieve far less than the retail value of your car. The flip-side is a hassle-free sale.

How to photograph your car

Car photography

With your car fresh from its makeover, now’s the time to take some photographs. You don’t need to be a wannabe Annie Leibovitz behind the camera, but it’s essential to take a good range of shots to present your car in all its glory.

Think brochure shots rather than anything too arty. If possible, find a plain background and make sure you shoot in daylight, but avoid direct sunlight.

Today’s smartphones will be more than up to the task, but avoid using any of the phone’s fancy filters. Definitely a case of #nofilter here.

As for the selection of photos, we recommend the following:

  • Front three-quarter
  • Rear three-quarter
  • Side profile
  • Front face-on
  • Rear face-on
  • Dashboard – taken from behind the front seats
  • Dashboard – looking through from one of the rear doors
  • Front seats
  • Rear seats
  • Inside the boot
  • Engine bay
  • Close ups of all alloy wheels
  • Any damage
  • Roof up and roof down (convertible only!)
  • Any special features/modifications

Finally, make sure the photos are in focus. You’ll be amazed how many sellers forget this simple point.

Do your homework

Homework

You’re almost ready to write the ad, but before you do, it’s time to do some homework. Don’t worry, it’s nothing too strenuous, but could avoid wasted time in the long run.

Take a look at similar cars for sale, which will help you decide how much to ask. If it’s a classic car, check out the Practical Classics guide for a rough estimate of what you’re likely to achieve.

If the vehicle is stuck somewhere between classic status and something relatively modern, you might consider selling via eBay. The market will dictate the price, but list the car with a reserve if you’re worried about getting less than it’s worth

It’s also worth mentioning eBay has an advanced search function, allowing you to view the prices of recently sold vehicles.

Writing the ad: the essentials

How to advertise your car

This is it: your moment to shine – a chance to give your beloved motor the send-off it deserves. A sales pitch to beat all sales pitches. Just avoid heading into David Brent territory.

Be informative and descriptive, but don’t be afraid to ‘big up’ your motor. List the positives, point out the faults, but above all else be honest. It’s illegal to wrongly describe your car.

Crucially, the ad must tease people into picking up the phone to arrange a visit/test-drive. But you don’t have to give everything away.

You can read our guide to writing the perfect advert for a used car here

In general, be clear and avoid using jargon or meaningless phrases. ‘First to see will buy’ means nothing and text-speak is a no-no. When you’re done, put your words through a spell checker.

Once the ad is written, you’re all set. Be prepared for your phone to start ringing off the hook. Not that mobile phones can ring off the hook…

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How to write the best advert to sell a used car

How to write the perfect used car advert

Writing a used car advert might sound simple, but you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong. You might have a perfect vehicle for sale, but if the advert isn’t up to scratch, you’re not maximising its potential.

At best, it might take longer for your car to sell. At worst, you could be missing out on hundreds of buyers who are keen to part with their cash.

You don’t have to be an ace salesperson or an award-winning writer to prepare a compelling used car advert. However, there are some simple things to remember. If nothing else, be honest – it’s illegal to wrongly describe a used car.

At the very least, the advert should encourage people to pick up the phone or send an email to arrange a visit and/or test-drive.

If it’s a popular car, you’ll be competing for attention alongside other cars of a similar specification and price, so don’t be afraid to give it the ‘big sell’.

What to include on a used car advert

Writing a used car advert

  • Make and model
    • For example: Ford Focus. Also include the trim level, e.g. Zetec, especially if it’s a special edition.
  • Year of registration
    • Include the letter or number, i.e. Y-reg or 2001. This could be important from a VED (road tax) perspective and also for buyers looking for facelift/refreshed models.
  • Engine size and type of fuel
    • For example: 2.0-litre TDCi diesel or 1.2-litre PureTech petrol.
  • Equipment
    • Create a list of the options and accessories fitted to the car. Concentrate on the big ticket items, such as air conditioning, leather seats, infotainment system, LED headlights, heated seats, etc.
  • Mileage
    • Be honest about the mileage, because it can be looked up online. Some buyers will be actively looking for low-mileage vehicles.
  • Owners
    • List how many owners the car has had, including yourself.
  • Warranty
    • State whether the car is still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. If not, list any details of an aftermarket warranty, if applicable.
  • MOT
    • List the date when the MOT expires. If it’s due within a couple of months, it makes sense to get it tested prior to selling the car, as this will maximise the price you achieve. Alternatively, say you’ll provide a fresh MOT upon sale.
  • Service history
    • Buyers will pay more for service history, so make sure you include this in the ad. Be aware that full service history means that the car has been maintained to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule – if it hasn’t, it’s only part service history. A stamped service book complemented by receipts is always preferable.
  • The price
    • The price is essential, but don’t worry about adding ‘ono’ (or nearest offer) because buyers will be keen to negotiate anyway. Listing the car as ‘no offers’ could deter some buyers. Similarly, using ‘POA’ (price on application) is a no-no, as this irritates many buyers. Do your homework and find a price that’s suitable.
  • Contact details
    • Add your mobile number and email address, along with any times that are best to call or to avoid. Be prepared to answer any questions. One thing that’s often overlooked is that people will be more inclined to buy the car if the seller is polite and courteous. Be nice!

Selling a used car: also consider

The list above details the basic elements of a used car advert, but consider noting any known faults or any significant damage to the bodywork. Most used car buyers will expect a few stone chips or scratches, so don’t go overboard.

This is also an opportunity to elevate your car above the thousands of other vehicles available online. If it has a full set of nearly-new premium tyres, say so, being sure to include the brand name. Mention if it’s had a recent service, including expensive jobs such as the gearbox, clutch or cambelt.

Avoid waffle. Auto Trader recommends between 50 and 75 words for an online ad, but you can adjust this accordingly. If it’s a rare, classic or exotic car, the buyer will be keen to discover more about it.

That’s a GR8 motor, M8

You should also avoid abbreviations and cliches. While some of the common abbreviations, such as ‘AC’ (air conditioning) and ‘FSH’ (full service history) are well known, others might give the impression that you’re a trader.

Cliches are another thing to avoid. ‘Future classic’, ‘tastefully modified’ and ‘first to see will buy’ are pointless and irrelevant. Oh, and avoid BLOCK CAPITALS, as it looks like you’re shouting at the buyer.

When you’re finished, stick the words through a spell checker, strip away any evidence of text-speak and ask a friend or family member to check the advert.

This advice assumes that you’ve taken a decent selection of photographs and selected the right channel for your used car advert.

For more information, visit our guide to advertising your car for sale. Good luck.

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Used car forecourt

Used car sales plummet as virus causes worst March on record

Used car forecourt

Used car sales are the latest motoring sector to be badly affected by the ongoing coronavirus crisis as gains in early 2020 were wiped out by a huge 30.7 percent decline in March.

It was the worst March on record and leaves the UK used car market down 8.3 percent in Q1 2020.

This is despite lockdown only impacting nine days of March sales. 

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show 1.8 million vehicles changed hands.

As ever, the Ford Fiesta emerged as Britain’s most popular used car, with more than 81,000 used examples sold. The Vauxhall Corsa was second, ahead of the Ford Focus.

Sales of used plug-in electric vehicles were up 13.6 percent and hybrids were up 11.5 percent.

While both petrol and diesel declined, they still accounted for 97.9 percent of all used car transactions in Q1 2020.

As for used car prices, they are holding surprisingly firm despite the weak marketplace. At £13,601, the average used car price is down only 0.2 percent versus the 2019 figure.

Cars ‘even more important’

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said coronavirus measures wiped out used car growth and warned “this subdued activity is likely to continue into the second quarter”. 

However, there was a positive prediction, too. “The impact of social distancing requirements on public transport means that, for many people, the car will play an even more important role in helping them travel safely to work.

“Reopening new and used car outlets will support this, enabling more of the latest, cleanest vehicles to filter through to second owners and help support the UK’s green growth agenda.”

New car marketplace Auto Trader’s commercial director Ian Plummer said its own research indicated “the market is paused, not stopped, as many consumers are eager to buy their next car when they can.

“More than half of commuters previously using public transport, with a driving licence, expect to buy a car for their commute post-lockdown.”  

Best selling used cars: Q1 2020

1: Ford Fiesta

2: Vauxhall Corsa

3: Ford Focus

4: Volkswagen Golf

5: Vauxhall Astra

6: BMW 3 Series

7: Mini

8: Volkswagen Polo

9: Audi A3

10: Renault Clio

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Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2

Buying a classic Porsche 911: what you need to know

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2

Jeremy Clarkson once said “you can’t be a true petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo”.

Not for the first time, though, Jezza was wrong.

With a few recent exceptions, modern Alfas are just fancy Fiats. And the classics, while bursting with brio, are less dependable than the 07:56 to London Bridge.

No, if there’s one car every enthusiast should aspire to own, it’s a Porsche 911. This quirky, rear-engined coupe has evolved – and occasionally revolved – over more nearly six decades.

Fast, fun and engineered with Teutonic thoroughness, it’s an automotive cult all its own: witness the number of dedicated 911 magazines in newsagents.

And it’s still going strong: the millionth example left Stuttgart in 2017, and spicier versions, such as the GT2 RS, sell out before they even reach showrooms.

Video: classic Porsche 911 on the road

Convinced? Now for the bad news. Used 911 prices may have peaked around 2018, but they have risen hugely over the past decade. That said, even if a COVID-19 recession lies ahead, good examples – particularly the earlier, air-cooled cars – should remain sought-after.

If you want the original 911 experience, you need a pre-1989 model – and they don’t come much better than the last-hurrah Carrera 3.2, now available from around £40,000. The lovely 1989 example tested here was kindly supplied by Canford Classics.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2: How does it drive?

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2

The classic Carrera isn’t an easy car to drive, but that’s key to its appeal. You need to engage your brain, exploit its strengths and work around its weaknesses. And learning those takes time.

Despite being shorter and narrower than a new Porsche Cayman, the original 911’s cabin doesn’t feel short on space. Well, not unless you’re squeezed into the toddler-sized rear seats. It’s comically sparse by 2020 standards, though, with controls scattered seemingly at random and floor-hinged pedals skewed towards the centre of the car.

Ergonomic eccentricities are soon forgotten when you fire up that trademark flat-six. It whirrs, rumbles and churns: not musical, but deliciously mechanical. And the howl it makes at high revs reverberates around your ribcage.

The 911’s unassisted steering and spindly gearlever demand measured, deliberate inputs, yet fizz with constant feedback. It feels lively and light-footed, effervescent even. Those characteristic front wings follow the contours of the road, while the all-round disc brakes offer confidence-inspiring bite.

You never forget this is a rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive car – one with no electronic safety aids – but the Porsche is hardly the ‘widowmaker’ of urban legend. It simply requires respect and a certain degree of restraint, especially when it rains. Your friend in his Golf R will be quicker whatever the weather, but you’ll be more involved.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2: Tell me about buying one

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2

Chris Lowe, lead technician at Canford Classics, is a big fan of the Carrera 3.2: “It has better brakes and a more powerful engine than the 911 SC it replaced, and larger wheels make it more drivable day-to-day,” he explains. “Plus, it’s still air-cooled, so it doesn’t stray too far from the original formula. Overall, they’re just super-cool cars.”

The 3.2 was sold in three body styles: coupe, convertible and Targa. Coupes are generally considered most desirable, although the removable-roof Targa is now back in fashion. A ‘tea tray’ rear wing was optional as part of the Sport pack, along with stiffer dampers and shapelier seats. Alternatively, buyers could go the whole nine yards with the 911 Supersport: a 3.2 with the stretched wheelarches and beefed-up brakes of the 930 Turbo. 

Rust is the fatal foe of any classic 911, so Chris advises checking bodywork carefully: the roof pillars and sills are the main trouble-spots.

Take a fine-tooth comb to the paperwork, too. “Originality is key to value,” says Chris, “so ask for the Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche, which details the original specification – including any options fitted.” Also, be prepared to budget for mechanical maintenance: “Many 3.2s are due engine or gearbox rebuilds, and the same goes for suspension. Bushes will usually need to be replaced.”

It’s also worth noting that the post-1987 ‘G50’ gearbox – as fitted here – is slicker and more user-friendly than the original ‘915’ unit. As such, G50-equipped cars tend to be worth more.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2: Verdict

Is the Carrera 3.2 the ultimate retro daily-driver? Perhaps, even if the aforementioned rise in values means most owners now reserve their cars for sunny Sundays and special occasions. 

In truth, the G-Series 911 felt a little dated by the mid-1980s, yet it has aged remarkably well. To drive, it feels raw, and vital, while its essential robustness stands in marked contrast to the flimsy over-complication of many modern cars.

Three decades hence, when scores of present-day ‘992’ 911s are written off due to software gremlins, one suspects the classic Carrera will still be going strong. It’s a sports car icon: both of its time and timeless. Buy one now while you still can.

Many thanks to Canford Classics (01929 472221) for the loan of this immaculate 1989 911. 

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2

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‘Amazon for cars’: Cazoo delivers used cars to your door

Cazoo 'Amazon' for used cars

A startup used car marketplace called Cazoo created by the man who created LoveFilm and Zoopla is now operating in the UK.

The entire process of buying from Cazoo is online, with home delivery offered. The difference is that Cazoo actually owns all the cars it stocks.

Each motor is prepared and readied for sale at its 55-acre facility in the Midlands.

Every car is MOTed, comes with service history and goes through a 150-point check as it comes into stock.

Cazoo says it wants to ‘Amazon’ the used car market.

Buying sight unseen – how will it work?

Cazoo 'Amazon' for used cars

Buying a car without inspecting it in person is usually seen as risky.

Cazoo wants to remedy this by offering comprehensive advertisements and competitive prices.

Each ad has high-quality 360-degree images, with the car’s full specification and history included. The prices are fixed and the adverts are transparent, in an attempt to keep everything upfront.

If you buy, your new purchase should arrive within three days.

Cazoo then gives a seven-day money-back guarantee, to ‘replace the seven-minute test drive around the block’.

If it’s not working for you, they’ll collect the car for free, ‘no questions asked’.

Cazoo 'Amazon' for used cars

“Used cars are one of the last remaining consumer markets yet to benefit from any digital transformation,” said Alex Chesterman, founder and CEO of Cazoo.

“Cazoo makes used car buying simple and convenient, like buying any other product online today.

“We take away the need to travel, to haggle, to spend countless hours at a dealership and to risk any buyer’s remorse.”

The venture is one of the UK’s best-funded startup businesses ever.

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Heycar used car marketplace launches in UK

Heycar launches in UK

Fresh from its launch in Germany in 2017, the Heycar used car online marketplace has gone live in the UK.

Heycar is a brand owned by Mobility Trader Holding GmbH, whose shareholders are Volkswagen Financial Services AG and Daimler Mobility AG.

Around 100,000 used cars are already available on the site, all with no more than eight years on the road and 100,000 miles on the clock.

Most cars follow the manufacturer’s approved used car standard, with others using the AA’s 128-point vehicle check.

As a bare minimum, all cars come with at least 30 days’ warranty.

‘First step towards an international expansion’

Heycar in Germany

“We are pleased that Heycar has now taken the first step towards an international expansion,” said Frank Fiedler, CFO of Volkswagen Financial Services AG.

“Following the positive reception of Heycar in Germany, we now want to serve dealers and customers in the United Kingdom just as successfully and thus further expand our used car business.”

Heycar says it will continue to add more vehicles to the platform as it expands its dealer network and will offer cars from nearly 50 brands. In Germany, around 400,000 vehicles are available online.

In effect, Heycar operates as a ‘middleman’ between certified dealers and the general public. Private individuals or dealers selling older cars are unable to use Heycar – this is a site for warrantied nearly-new vehicles.

‘Disrupt the industry’

Chevrolet Spark

Mat Moakes, CEO of Mobility Trader UK Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mobility Trader Holding GmbH, said: The UK used car market, the second largest in Europe after Germany, works inefficiently for buyers and dealers.

“Heycar will disrupt the industry through a simple, tech-led proposition and will take market share from the incumbents to become the number one site for high quality used cars in the UK.”

Of the 98,830 cars available now, the cheapest is a 2012 Chevrolet Spark with 53,746 miles on the clock – yours for £2,390. At a cool £1,195,000, a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder is the most expensive vehicle, followed by a 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish for £624,950.

Increase in car cloning causing problems in the used market

Car cloning problems for second-hand buyers

Experts are warning that criminal car cloning could have a serious knock-on effect in the used car market.

Reports of car cloning are up significantly in the years since displaying a tax disc was no longer required.

It’s now more difficult to spot a number plate that’s on a car that it shouldn’t be. Tax discs, if you remember, used to have a car’s true registration number displayed on them.

Knock-on effects of car cloning

The dangers are all too apparent. How can you determine that the car you are buying matches the registration that it comes with? As a matter of course, an MOT history check should be on the ‘to-do’ list of any buyer in the market for a car over three years old. On inspection of the car, the mileage should broadly match what’s displayed in the government records for the car’s most recent MOT.

Of course, you can go the whole hog and carry out a HPI check, matching the car’s registration number, engine number and VIN to DVLA records. It will also verify whether the car has been stolen or if there’s money owed on it. As many as 75 cars are identified as stolen every day, with one in three cars that are checked showing a hidden history.

Anyone who unknowingly buys a car wearing cloned plates will find themselves in a world of bother. A stolen car is a stolen car, regardless of the fact it’s been bought unknowingly.

Car cloning problems for second-hand buyers

“[Cloning] creates trouble for the owners or registered keepers of the cars that have been cloned but also used car buyers who innocently purchase a cloned vehicle,” said Barry Shorto, head of industry relations at HPI.

“Not only will they lose the car but also their own money when it’s returned to the registered keeper by the police.

“In the majority of cases for most victims of car cloning it’s a parking fine from an unfamiliar location or a speeding ticket issued on a day the car was left at home that raises concern.

“For others, the scenario can be altogether more nightmarish; it could be the police turning up at their front door, especially if the car has been used to commit a crime. But for unwitting buyers of a car with a fake identity, the consequences can be financially devastating.”

Why is car cloning so popular?

Car cloning problems for second-hand buyers

As above, slapping another car’s plate on can disguise the fact that a car is stolen. It’s also popular for driving untaxed, or driving without fear of speed cameras, tolls and pay-to-drive zones that use automatic number plate recognition to bill drivers.

“Cloning primarily takes place to disguise the identity of a stolen car which is sold on to an unsuspecting victim usually for fast cash. However, what we are increasingly seeing is petty criminals cloning cars to avoid congestion charges and offences such as speeding tickets and parking fines whilst organised gangs continue to use them to commit more serious crimes.”

Ferrari Premium is the sensible way to buy a used supercar

Ferrari Premium servicing

Ferrari Premium is the new scheme offering peace of mind to Ferrari owners with cars aged up to 25 years.

It involves providing eligible cars with a certificate attesting to service and maintenance history. This also certifies any recall repairs, revisions or replacements that have been carried out. In short, it confirms your classic Ferrari is the real deal.

Models eligible include the 456 GT, 456 GTA, 550 Maranello, 550 Barchetta, 360 Modena, 575, 575 SuperAmerica, 612 Scaglietti, F430, 599 and Enzo. 

Yes, you can get a Premium certificate to confirm that your Enzo has been properly cared for. Quite what effect that has on the seven-figure value, we’d be intrigued to know.

Ferrari Premium servicing

Maintenance for the fuel, lubrication, hydraulic and braking systems are all available at special prices, too. And the scheme gives you a shortcut to Classiche certification once your car passes 20 years old.

Ferrari Premium complements the after-sales schemes on new cars. Impressively, for a supercar manufacturer, Ferrari also offers a four-year warranty and seven years of free maintenance (both extendable still further at added cost). 

The safest used cars for young families revealed

These are the safest used cars for young families

The safest used cars for young families revealed

What is the safest used car you can buy as a new parent?

A child-friendly safe set of wheels is something on many a young couple’s list of things to buy in the lead up to the big day – but babies are expensive, and it’s not always feasible to go out and choose from the very newest cars to keep your new arrival safe. 

Co-op Insurance in association with Thatcham Research has thus taken the liberty of collating the safest used cars for young families, based on a specific set of criteria.

A five-star NCAP rating is a given, with a specific focus put on child occupant safety. Front and side protection, as well as how easy and safe it is to fit child restraints in the rear seats, were factored in.

An additional essential feature was Autonomous Emergency Braking.

And the five safest used cars for young families are..?

5: Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4

Proof that taller and bigger isn’t necessarily better. The RAV4 is alone in being anywhere close to what you might call a ‘proper’ SUV on the list. It’s also one of the safest used SUVs young families can buy. But other more compact machines still do it better…

4: Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai

Proof that most popular isn’t necessarily quite best. That’s not to discredit the Nissan’s smash hit best-seller. While it’s fourth on this list of five here, it’s still among the very safest bets for a young family looking to get moving.

3: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

BMW 2 series Active Tourer

A first foray into this segment for the premium German manufacturer. BMW’s engineering fetishism extends beyond performance and technology, with the big 2er being one of the safest and easiest to operate used family cars on the market.

2: Volkswagen Touran

Volkswagen Touran

A safe buy in terms of actual safety, reliability and residuals. You can’t go far wrong with Volkswagen – the Touran will last, it’ll hold its value better than most contemporary offerings and if you do have a prang, you can rest assured you’re in one of the best used cars for new families out there.

1: Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5

Mazda will forgive us for referring to it as something of a dark horse in the new car market. Never a sales leviathan like Ford or VW, but always with near-top class products. The CX-5 is no different (after all, it was shortlisted in the 2018 World Car Awards final) and its place heading this list comes as no surprise to us whatsoever.

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