There are a few important questions to consider before you drive that new or used car off the lot – and the key one is are you best to buy a new or secondhand car?

Obviously you need to work out how much you can budget or borrow towards the purchase, but you also need to think about the car itself. Does this model have a good performance track record? What about its resale value, fuel efficiency and mileage? Can you get a warranty or will you have to bear all the maintenance costs? [Related: Buying a car: Cash or loan?]

Why buy secondhand?

If you’re going the secondhand route, you’ll mostly reap the benefits in the short-term  – a significantly lower purchase price, less financial commitment, etc.

However, the chances are that you’ll need to have a lot more maintenance and repair work done as the car is older, which may or may not be under warranty. Cars with higher mileage (over 100,000 kilometers) are considered by most dealerships to be ‘out of warranty’.

You’ll never really know the ins and outs of the car history either, even if you run extensive checks and can guarantee the honesty of the seller. [Related: How to buy secondhand]

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Why buy new?

When buying brand new, you’re unlikely to experience any major issues for a few years, which means you can enjoy some peace of mind you won’t get buying secondhand.

Scheduled maintenance is also less frequent and not as intensive on a new vehicle.

The color and specifications can be customized, and financing options are usually more enticing, with extras such as warranty and insurance discounted or thrown in for free.

On the downside, new cars automatically lose a great deal of their value once sold. Taking out a loan may also mean making higher monthly sums, and paying more interest for a longer period of time.

New or secondhand car: The pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Better financing
  • Better warranty options
  • Less maintenance
  • Choice of color and customized specifications
  • Depreciated value after car driven off the lot
  • Having to get downpayment
  • Need for further financing
  • Less commitment to finance long-term
  • Retain more resale value
  • Insurance more affordable
  • Certified used vehicles offer some maintenance coverage
  • Repairs and maintenance more likely/ frequent
  • Used cars with more than 100,000 km are out of warranty
  • Complete car history unknown

A good region to buy a car

The good news is that consumers in this region have quite a few advantages in this equation – whether buying new or secondhand. Firstly, there’s plenty of choice and competition, which gives you more wiggle room in negotiating the terms of the deal. Dealerships will often offer free insurance, registration and one year of free maintenance, even for used cars.

It’s also important to consider that most consumers in these markets don’t intend to stay for the long term, thus making the resale value that much more important to the wise buyer when planning ahead.

So when buying, you should start your search by looking at new or used cars that will yield the highest returns. According to analysis by, makes like Toyota, Honda and Jeep score the highest marks in this area; however, you must take into account the exact model and year. Makes such as Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and BMW tend to lose the most value within the first year.

Whether you live in the UAE or Saudi Arabia, there are now a lot of useful websites providing detailed information on new or secondhand cars for sale – or both. Some of these include:

Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few options, the next step is to visit the dealership to get a better feel for the car.

Do keep in mind that auto dealers periodically tend to offer special promotions on car loans, especially during Ramadan. Getting the right price and interest rate can make a world of difference in the long run. [Related: Looking for Ramadan car deals? Watch out for financing]

Cars with the best resale value in the UAE

Model Resale value (% of original price) * Price when new (AED) Resale value (AED) ** % loss
2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser 80% 126,000 – 150,000 110,400 20%
2013 Toyota Tacoma 70% 72,000 – 102,000 60,900 30%
2014 Jeep Wrangler 60% 110,000 – 150,000 78,000 40%

* For first five years; ** Resale calculated from midpoint of new price range