New cars with barely any kilometres on them, driven around the same block a few times, immaculately detailed and looked after, selling for cheaper than you’d expect? Demonstrator vehicles – ‘demo cars’ for short – are a very real way to save thousands of dollars on a new ride. Check out our guide to dealer demos: what they are, how and when to buy one, and what kind of demo cars are out there.
What is a dealer demonstrator?
‘Dealer demonstrator’ is a term used to describe near-new cars available for sale at a car dealer. Demo cars have been used by the staff at the dealer for test driving and demonstrating vehicle features to buyers. Demo cars always have less than 5,000 km on the odometer (the point at which they are officially regarded as ‘used’), so the dealer can still sell them while they look brand new and attract top value.
However, the top price for a demo car is a lot less than the exact same car model brand-new – sometimes thousands of dollars cheaper. Also, demo cars usually include all of the extra add-on features available – dealers want to show prospective buyers the highest-spec version of a vehicle during a test drive. Add to that immaculate cleaning and detailing daily, and demo cars are a real winner for your wallet, without sacrificing that new car feeling.
Dealer demonstrator vehicles: the pros and cons
While a dealer demo is always a cheaper option than a new car, there are a few areas in which a brand new car offer advantages. If you’ve fallen for a specific colour or feature, you’ve got less chance of finding that in a demonstrator vehicle.
When buying a demo car, make sure to do your research, including asking about the car’s history on your test drive, and check out any visible wear and tear. At the very least, it can help when it’s time to fix a price – even though demo cars are already cheaper, you should still negotiate.
However, the good really outweighs the bad with demo cars – as long as you’re flexible, you can get a better car for a lot less.
Finding the right demo deal
Finding the right demo car is all about timing. Dealers want fresh demo cars regularly, so there are almost always some in stock. If you know the kind of new car you’re looking for, you just need to check out a calendar and choose the right time to strike.
When a brand new model, such as the new Honda Civic, launches, dealers bring in several of the most popular models and configurations for test driving. Most dealers keep demo cars for at least 45 days, but will ideally sell them on within 60 to 70 days, so that they still have plenty of registration and warranty. The best time to land a demo car bargain is two to three months after launch.
Now that you know what to look for in a dealer demonstrator vehicle, it’s time to start browsing. Check out some of these great demonstrator car sales.