Should you buy a new or used car?

3. Insurance rates

Generally speaking, it costs less to insure a used car than a new car, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Many variables can affect insurance costs, such as the type of vehicle and the level of risk attached to it. For example, insuring a sports car will be much more expensive than insuring a commuter sedan.

Another variable that can affect the cost of insurance: how likely it is that a vehicle will be stolen. It’s not just luxury cars that are targeted—in fact, they usually have better anti-theft features, and they’re a risky option for thieves because they’re easy to identify. Car thieves actually prefer cars whose parts remain more or less the same over time, like Toyota Camrys, Honda Civics and Honda Accords. Why? Rather than selling the cars whole, thieves often take them apart and sell individual parts.

The other key factor in the price of car insurance: You. Insurers look at your age and gender, your location, how long you’ve been driving, how much you drive, your driving record and other factors. (Read MoneySense’s guide to the best car insurance in Canada.)

4. Warranties

When you buy a new vehicle, you get a warranty from the manufacturer. When you buy a used car, you have no such guarantee. Some dealers offer warranties, but they aren’t nearly as comprehensive and long-lasting as manufacturer warranties.

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Plus, as Carfax Canada says, used-car warranties “aren’t all made equally, they can be different for each vehicle.” While basic warranties cover engine and transmission maintenance, coverage of other parts like brakes, electrical, air conditioning, steering wheel parts and suspension can vary depending on the car’s condition and who’s issuing the warranty. A used-car warranty from an automaker will likely give you better coverage than a third-party warranty that’s not tied to a manufacturer.

5. Fuel efficiency

Fuel efficiency affects how much it costs to operate and maintain a vehicle, and it varies widely between types of vehicles and different models. Generally, newer cars tend to be more fuel-efficient than their older counterparts, thanks to improvements in technology, materials and aerodynamics. Other factors that might affect fuel efficiency include any mechanical issues with the engine and under-inflated tires.

6. Safety features

Which safety features do you want in your new ride? In 2022, a survey by the Canadian Safety Council and Nissan Canada found that four out of five drivers are used to having at least one driver-assistance feature, and seven in 10 think these technologies can help them avoid getting into an accident.

Driver-assistance features can include adaptive cruise control, automatic engine braking, lane departure warning, forward collision warnings, blind spot detection, rear-view cameras and more. Many of these were once considered luxury features, reserved for higher-end models, but these are becoming increasingly common even on the base models of new cars. If having the latest safety features is a priority for you, buying a new car or a newer-model used car might be the better way to go.


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