Used Car Ratings and Reviews

What are people looking for in a used car review?

You'll see them all over the place, reports on cars being compared to each other or to an agreed standard by TV programmes, radio programmes, newspapers, magazines and websites. Yet what are they looking for when they review used cars?

Well, first of all they are looking for exactly what a consumer would be looking for with a new car. Therefore, they will be asking questions about how the car retains its value (depreciation), the running costs of owning the car (in terms of maintenance and fuel consumption), the quality of the drive of the car, the equipment in the car and comfort as well.

What is interesting with used cars is that many of them are bought with a view to how well they retain their value. A lot of new cars will be bought by people who are using them as company cars so aren't really interested in their value, or people who are buying them on a lease, paying a certain amount a year so again the value doesn't matter. But people who buy used cars will also be thinking about how they will sell them again in the future. So part of the reviewers job is to compare what two cars which cost say $15,000 when 3 years old will cost when they are 6 years old. Some cars simply age better, and those cars will retain their value further, although there are issues about fashion as well – because I doubt that people who bought the original VW beetles realised how fashionable they would become and thus how easy they would be to sell for a good price even when they got quite old.

As far as equipment is concerned, when reviewing a used car it is worth looking at the comfort that it will provide as it gets older. Whether the seats are made of leather becomes important – does the car have a CD player or a cassette player can become important. Some people might say that automatic transmission can make a difference but others would say that they have more chance of going wrong in the older cars – ignoring the fact that with manual cars the clutch can wear easily.

Another way of reviewing used cars is to think about parts. As the car gets older, it may need more servicing, both for maintenance and repairs. If it is a Ford used car then it is more likely that parts will be available at almost any garage. But sometimes you could have a car that has stopped being manufactured in the USA and then it's a problem getting spare parts, and not only do you have to wait to get them but they become more expensive.

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