It depends on your disposable income I guess...
I've bought old cars that are knackered and repaired them, I've bought old cars that work for very little, I've financed middle aged cars (3 or 4 years old) and I've bought brand new cars.
Old cars that are broken I buy as a project because I enjoy tinkering, I've bought cars that not many people want that are old but working as I've fancied them.
4 years ago I bought a 4 year old Jaguar XFR on finance despite being able to pay it off at point of purchase. Several reasons for that were considered that made low interest finance appealing:
- What would be the market for a 7-8 year old 5.0 Supercharged Petrol.
- We were having extensive renovations done on the house at the time and I didn't want to spend all my cash.
- It's quite nice to know that should the arse fall out of the used car market, you've got the option to walk away from the car at the end of the agreement.
Turns out that my car did well on its residuals and at the end of the finance term I paid it off.
I've also bought brand new cars on finance. I was working full time in an office and didn't have time for tinkering with cars at the time. Having a brand new car that was something a bit out of the ordinary and was covered by a full manufacturers warranty was a comfort.
These days we tend to keep my wife's car fairly new (currently 5 years old but likely to be changed next year) as she uses it daily. My L322 is now 14 years old but has just undergone extensive restoration, my XFR is 8 years old and my other cars are all over 20 years old.
My folks have recently bought a new Jaguar I-Pace. They weren't going down the finance route but the day they placed their order Jaguar had introduced a 0% finance offer which made financing it a no brainer as it's free money.
They've recently completed a journey of nearly 800 miles in the I-Pace. In the 4.4 TDV8 L322 that would be been 2 tanks of fuel. 2 x 105 litre tanks at nearly £2 a litre would have probably been in the region of £360. Granted they could have taken the P38 on LPG which is still 70p a litre around here but you can't always rely on being able to get LPG and I also don't particularly enjoy long trips in the P38, I find the L322 a far more enjoyable place to spend the time. In the I-Pace this round trip cost them around £84 on electricity via public chargers which are akin to buying fuel at motorway services. At home the cost to charge is around £11 to do 250 miles. A 30 minute coffee stop on a rapid charger is enough to get it back up to 90% charge and carry on your journey too. It's taken them a bit of adjusting to as they used to do a journey all in one go, however, it's a civilised way of driving and forces people to take a break - a bit like a taco does for HGV's I guess. I wasn't 100% convinced when they bought it but having spent a fair bit of time with it if I started doing long trips I'd have one in a heart beat.
When I bought my XFR from Jaguar in Mayfair the salesman told me that he gets people buying cars whose salaries read like telephone numbers on their finance applications. Some of them a brand new Jaguar XJ was significantly under 25% of their annual income but they were financing them. Some people prefer to have the money earning them money rather then being tied up in a depreciating asset and I can understand that.
So... from the point of view of someone who has and does own cars at all ends of the spectrum, it's about finding out what works for you and what you're comfortable with I guess.