Our poor old Polo died over Xmas and so we found ourselves looking for a newish second-hand car in what is definitely a buyer’s market.

Here were some of the useful sites we found:

  • The Which? Car Buying Guide is useful, particularly if you haven’t yet fully absorbed every Top Gear episode in existence. Worth signing up for a 1 pound month trial.
  • The reliability stats are also useful, though I’m sure it won’t be too much of a spoiler if I tell you basically you should buy Japanese if you don’t want it to die. If you insist on European, go Skoda.
  • Parker’s is great for used car values. I put together some depreciation charts that were a great tool when bargaining with dealers who assume women will buy anything so long as it’s the right colour.
  • WhatCar? generally has a refreshingly different take from the very sensible Which? reviews, with the added bonus that there is no gate fee to view. The valuations are a good rule of thumb as well.
  • The Motley Fool Loan Calculator is a nice simple tool to check much your payments will be and for how long.
  • In the UK, I find AutoTrader a good place to look for listings.
  • Once you’ve shortlisted some options, your money is well spent doing an HPI check. I tried a couple of places and found that the cheap and cheerful offering from MyCarCheck was perfectly sufficient and highlighted that two of the cars we were considering really were too good to be true.

Any other suggestions? Add them in the comments 🙂

For those interested, we were deciding between a Toyota Yaris, a Skoda Fabia and a Honda Jazz. Found the Yaris cramped and not particularly fun to drive, the Fabia pretty much a carbon copy of our Polo and the Jazz spacious and engaging to drive. Went for a Jazz but likely would have been happy with a Fabia if we didn’t want to have as much back seat / boot room for cross country Xmas trips.