IT'S surprising how many first-time car buyers ask me if they should buy a Renault Clio.
I like the Clio and I think it is a versatile, good value car, so if you have just bought one don’t feel down about what follows.
It seems you should have bought a Fiat Panda.
Mind you, the Fiat 500 is much cooler and its new car price seem to indicate that everyone thinks that.
If you want to buy a brand new Fiat 500 you can negotiate all day long but will still pay the full price.
Whereas on a Fiat Panda, in dealers all over the country, you can get a £1,500 discount if you just ask nicely. Which halves the two year depreciation you are likely to experience owning a Panda.
But, looking at it from another angle, if you buy a Fiat 500, you could sell it again after two years and because the depreciation is so low, you won’t lose much more than you will on the Panda.
Which underlines the point that buying new cars is nuts. The way to lose least on a small car, is to buy a one year old car and sell it again a year later.
And a Clio, or in particular a Panda are particularly good examples of this.
The retro styling makes the Fiat 500 as desirable as BMW’s MINI. But it’s a smaller car, the upside of which is that it is more affordable. The downside is space is limited. It feels well made and certainly turns heads.
UsedCarExpert.co.uk guide price: A brand new 1.2 petrol engine Fiat 500 is £9,400, a 2008 version with 17,000 average miles is still £8,000.
Also a retro brand, just not a cool one. The 1980s Panda may have been a flimsy little run-around, but the late 90s version is a solid little five door car that is even available in four wheel drive. It’s so good Top Gear’s James May even bought one.
UsedCarExpert.co.uk guide price: A new Fiat Panda 1.2 petrol starts at £7,700. But you can buy a one year old version for £5,200 and sell it a year later for almost the same.
The Clio is so popular that there is a dealer near Milton Keynes who sells nothing but Clios. First time drivers love them, there is wide choice and are affordable for any budget, but never out of fashion. As practical as the Panda and built to a similar standard.
UsedCarExpert.co.uk guide price: A new Renault Clio 1.2 TCE is £11,000. A one year old is £7,700, a two year old is £6,500 and a three year old version is just £5,700 (with average mileage of 17,000).