Why diesels still make great used cars
Demand for new diesel cars is dropping, but that should not shift the focus of used car buyers away from the fuel as the perfect purchase for economy and reliability. Reflex Vehicle Sales explains
It seems that demand for diesel has been exhausted in the new car market, with sales dropping each year, but it will remain a popular used car choice for many years to come.
This is because the new and used car markets are very different.
Most of the new car market is made up of company cars, where demand is heavily influenced by tax incentives which promote diesel alternatives, particularly electric cars.
The used car market has a different focus; demand for most second-hand cars is driven by practical considerations. Will the car be reliable? Is it efficient? Are repair costs low? Can it tow?
For each of these questions, diesel cars typically have the edge. The robust, simple design of the engines means they can cope with higher mileages than petrol models, they deliver exceptional fuel economy and servicing is relatively straightforward and cost effective.
Values for used diesel cars are also likely to remain robust in the future because there will be fewer of them coming to the market following the drop in new vehicle sales.
Therefore, this means that in the long-term, demand is likely to outstrip supply for most used diesel vehicles, especially SUVs that benefit from the low-down pulling power the engines provide.
Like any used car, it is important to review its history and make sure it has been looked after and properly serviced, which is why it pays to source vehicles from a trusted company that provides a full service history.
While the impact of Low Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones has been a cause of concern for diesel drivers, these rules are likely to be focused on commercial vehicles, buses, and taxis, rather than cars and there are no blanket restrictions in place for diesels; even if any are introduced, it is likely to be the oldest models that are targeted, rather than those actively traded in the used car market.
A final consideration is the governments proposed ban on new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 and hybrids in 2035, but this is focused entirely on the new car market; a thriving used car market for petrol and diesel vehicles is likely to continue for decades because of the number of vehicles in use.
For example, despite the growth of alternative fuels, petrol and diesel accounted for 90% of car sales in 2020. There are currently 32 million cars on the UK’s roads and 97.5% of them are petrol or diesel.
However, despite ongoing demand for diesel, the fuel is not perfect for every customer.
Frequent short urban journeys can clog their filters, so owners need to occasionally drive longer distances to automatically regenerate particulate filters and burn off accumulated soot.
Neither are diesels the driver’s first choice when looking for a performance car, although offerings such as the Volkswagen Golf GTD aim to dispel the myth that diesel is not exciting.
Overall, the arguments against diesel remain few and far between and it will continue to make a great choice as a second-hand car for millions of motorists for decades to come.
* Reflex Vehicle Hire offers a range of high-quality used vans and cars for sale in a wide variety of makes and models. Vehicles are available to view here on the website and there is also an online bidding service. Simply register online to access the Reflex Vehicle Sales portal.