It’s all a matter of gauging the market, and working out what you are prepared to pay for what models from the various makes. Then an informed decision can bag an unexpected bargain. Haggling can help as well.
I think we did just this with our Mazda3 back in 2016.
The market is even more aimed at the buyer today, a haggler’s charter; can you keep your nerve and hold off buying while prices crippled by C-19 continue to drop? Will the car still be supported with spares, consumables and service in a year’s time.
When my old Vextra suddenly died prematurely because of a broken spring in the cambelt tensioner, we were a bit stuffed and hired a dismally underpowered diesel Focus for a fortnight for SWMBO to drive while I short-listed various nearly new cars for her to give the OK on; all the dealers were extremely keen to give me a “really good trade-in deal” on the garage-queen NC I was shopping around in.
None of the cars we looked at fitted her because of the (then) fashion on seat shape with side wings interfering with her elbow when trying to change gear etc! Also all had weedy little engines overstressed by a turbo, not much fun to drive but if needs must…
Eventually we were sitting in a Fabia in a Skoda garage having rejected those as well (after Ford, VX, BM, Audi, Pug, etc) while my NC was being serviced by the Mazda dealer across the way. Through the window she could see lurking in the back-lot a soul red Mazda3 (we were looking for a rust resistant blue Euro-box, pale-blue if possible): “That looks nice.”
Two minutes later, “It fits. Can I take it for a test drive?”
An hour later the pre-reg (one month earlier and 40 miles on the clock) now had 55 miles on the clock and new owners.
We paid three and a half grand below normal list, and then haggled all the usual extras to be thrown in: diamond-coat (already on the car), recovery, all mats, full year of tax (only £35!), full tank of fuel. Warranty and sat-nav period start dates were moved on to when we drove away the car at the beginning of the month a couple of days later.
Prior to our looking at this particular Mazda3 I had not considered a Mazda as a daily driver, simply because the Mazda rust warranty specifically excludes salt corrosion damage, and is therefore worthless in UK.
Hence the first extra I added almost the next day was under-seal and wax injection at an independent specialist!
The second extra was proper kick plates on the door sills, because the vastly overpriced Mazda ones did not extend wide enough over the edge to protect the paint at the most critical point of the fold over where female heels would be chipping the paint.
It is a brilliant car and now, after 14,000 miles it has loosened up a bit and properly run-in, it goes rather well especially if one uses the revs (not available on a turbbbbo). The only thing I’d change about it is the tyres - the Toyo Nanoenergy are too noisy and their grip is iffy.