Demo Cars - Everything you need to know

If you’re in the market for a new car, then you’re probably spending a bit of time shopping around and looking for the best deal. And although dealerships can offer discounts on new cars, have you considered the demo car you test drove on your visit to the showroom? Sure, there are a few thousand km on the clock, but if you’re looking to save some cash on your new car, then this could be just the ticket.

However, before you make your decision let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of taking this option. After all, no two demo cars are quite the same.

The Pros

It’s like new

Although demo models usually have at least a couple of thousand km on the clock, as test cars they are usually the latest model and in pretty good condition. It will have all the latest additions to that particular model, and with it being in the dealership, any issues with it should have been dealt with immediately.

Washed every week, garaged overnight, and possibly even waxed now and then, this car should also look pretty good for one with kilometres on the clock.

You get a higher spec car for less

When you go to a dealership, the sales staff want you to buy the higher spec car. The one with the sun roof, leather seats, and whatever else they can squeeze into it. So it makes good sense for their demo car to have all the bells and whistles. No one wants to test drive a base model, in fact, the dealership probably won’t even have one in stock for that purpose.

This means that when you decide to buy a demo car, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get the model with the highest spec. Of course, this will be reflected in the price, but in theory, you could get a car with all the extras for the same price as (or probably less than) a brand new base model.

It costs less

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again; Everyone loves to save cash. And when you’re buying a new car, there is simply no better way to cut costs than opting for a demo car.

Now, there are no set guidelines for how much you should pay for the car. Like we said earlier, no two demo cars are quite the same. So you have a good opportunity to haggle as much as you like. And haggling should be easy enough as dealers are usually quite eager to sell their demo models. They like to have ‘fresh’ cars in the showroom to impress their customers.

You get a new car warranty

Although you buy it at a used car’s price and it is classed as a used car, you still get the benefit of a new car’s coverage. As such your warranty will start from the day you buy the car. This means that even if the car has been in the showroom for a year, you’ll still get the same warranty as a brand new car.

However, if the warranty is for 100,000km, you must subtract the current reading on the odometer to find the true length of your coverage in km. So a car with 2,000km on the clock is covered for another 98,000km. Still pretty good.

All of this sounds great, and it might be tempting to jump right in and get yourself a demo model. But while there are some great bargains out there, there are a few things you should be aware of.

The Cons

You have less choice

When it comes to colour, trim, engine size, and even fuel type, you may find yourself seriously limited when buying a demo. For many, this isn’t much of an issue as the value offered makes up for the lack of choice. But if you really have your heart set on a red car, or you don’t like leather seats, then you just might have to buy new.

A lot of drivers had it on the road

No two drivers are the same, and while you’d like to think that everyone that drove your demo car was just like your dear old gran, you just don’t know. If there are a lot of kilometers on the odometer, then the chances are that the car has been put through its paces. Manufacturers often recommend low revs for the first few thousand km, but who doesn’t rev the hell out of a car when they test drive it?

With so many people driving the car, you may also need to change the tyres sooner rather than later. And while this shouldn’t be an immediate concern, it’s an expense that you may have to budget for a few months after purchase.

Then there’s the chance that staff took it home for the night or that the service department loaned the car out to customers with cars in for repairs. This could lead to a lot of wear and tear on the car both mechanical and cosmetic.

Scrapes, scratches, and dents

As we mentioned above, with so many people with varying levels of experience driving the car, you may find that the car isn’t in pristine condition. There may be scratches to the paintwork or even a dent or two here and there. The interior may also show signs of wear and tear as hundreds of customers got in and out of the car as it sat on the showroom floor.

This wear and tear may not be apparent when you first see the car, so it’s best to take a close look before you decide to buy. A few scrapes and scratches might not be enough for you to pull out of the deal but they could help you knock a little more off the price.

Some states consider demos as used cars, and therefore you’re entitled to a cooling off period to find any issues with the car. Check with your local consumer affairs department to see if your state offers this buyer protection.


Even with these apparent disadvantages, it’s hard to argue against purchasing a demo model. Sure they may have a few scratches, but such high spec for a bargain price is hard to ignore.

If you’d like to save money and time on your next new car purchase, then get in touch with us today and one of our specialist consultants will get back to your as soon as possible.

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