Using car finance is a way of spreading the cost of buying a car over a few years, but it can also make models previously out of reach a reality.
For instance, the sharply-styled Range Rover Evoque is not just a classy SUV choice – it's the number one vehicle bought by Admiral customers using a type of car finance known as Personal Contract Purchase (PCP).
Admiral Car Finance has three different options:
The car finance deal you'll be offered will depend on a variety of factors including:
PCP can generally offer lower monthly payments, but this is because you'll have to pay a large lump sum known as the Guaranteed Future Value (GFV) or balloon payment at the end of the contract if you want to keep the car. You'll also need to consider excess mileage and the condition of the car condition if you decide to hand it back.
HP (Hire Purchase) is a way to pay for a vehicle without paying the full amount at the outset. You're essentially hiring the car, paying a set monthly instalment over the period of the contract, with the option to buy it at the end.
With both options, you usually require a deposit and you don't own the car until you've paid the finance off, which includes an option to purchase fee.
An unsecured car loan is a personal loan used to buy a vehicle. The monthly repayments and loan term are fixed and as the name suggests, it's unsecured, so the car isn't used as collateral for the loan.
Read more about the different types of car finance.
In this article, we're going to take a look at the top 10 cars bought on finance with Admiral. All opinions about the cars come from freelance motoring journalist Gareth Herincx.
|2||Mercedes-Benz||A Class Diesel Hatchback|
|4||Volkswagen||Golf Diesel Hatchback|
|6||Land Rover||Range Rover Evoque Diesel|
|8||Ford||Focus Diesel Hatchback|
|9||BMW||1 Series Diesel Hatchback|
|10||BMW||3 Series Diesel Saloon|
The Fiesta is the UK's biggest-selling new car and the number one used vehicle. According to Admiral's real data, it's also the most popular car financed by HP.
The seventh-generation Fiesta was launched in 2017 and many examples are feeding into the second-hand market. However, most used models are likely to be Mark 6s (pictured).
With sharp steering and excellent grip, the Fiesta has always been one of the most engaging cars in its class to drive. However, the newer version has more tech and space inside. Go for the 1.0 EcoBoost (100 or 125PS) petrol engine if possible – it's punchy and efficient.
Sporty premium hatchbacks don't get much better than the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. As well as being the UK's eighth best-selling new car in 2018, it's the second most popular car financed by Admiral using PCP and number three in the list for Admiral customers spreading the cost via HP.
Stylish, well built, entertaining to drive and boasting serious badge appeal, it's rightly popular. A fourth-generation new model was launched during 2018, so it's a great time to snap up used examples of the outgoing car (pictured) which is still a great buy. If you do high miles, then the A 180 d is particularly frugal.
Nissan kicked off the booming crossover sector when it launched the original Qashqai in 2006. Now in its second generation (2013-) it's as popular as ever, ending 2018 as the UK's fourth best-selling car.
Treated to a subtle facelift in 2017, it's comfortable, practical, easy to drive and has low running costs. Its growing list of rivals includes the Kia Sportage, Renault Kadjar and Ford Kuga. A solid family choice, it's the fourth most popular car financed by Admiral using HP and the fifth favourite PCP choice.
The UK's number two best-selling car in 2018, the VW Golf is great to drive with superb build quality. Now in its seventh generation (2012-), it was treated to a minor facelift in 2017 and there's a great choice of efficient engines available including a willing 1.0 TFSI turbo petrol and an economical 1.6 TDI diesel.
The VW Golf is the second most popular car financed by Admiral using HP and number four in the list for Admiral customers spreading the cost via HP.
The Ford Focus has been one of Britain's best-selling cars every year since the Mk 1 was launched in 1998. Ending up as the fifth most popular car in the UK in 2018, the petrol version is also number seven in our list of cars bought using PCP on Admiral Car Finance and eighth in the HP list.
Whether you go for a late third generation car (pictured) or the all-new Ford Focus (launched in 2018), you're choosing a firm family favourite that also makes a great used car choice with its combination of good looks, fun handling, practicality and wide choice of engines (the 1.0-litre 125 EcoBoost petrol unit is particularly good).
Stylish and blessed with Land Rover's legendary off-road capability, the Evoque is a premium mid-sized SUV choice. Also available as a distinctive three-door and convertible, it's solidly built and practical. If you do big miles, the powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine with manual gearbox and two-wheel drive is surprisingly economical.
A second-generation Evoque goes on sale in 2019, so now might be a good time to get a good deal on the outgoing car (pictured). The Range Rover Evoque is the most popular vehicle bought by Admiral customers using Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) car finance.
Superminis don't get much classier than the VW Polo – the UK's sixth best-selling car in 2018. According to real data, it's also number six in our top 10 cars bought on Admiral Car Finance using HP.
Refined, well-built and generously equipped, it's easy to drive and is a sensible second-hand choice. A new Polo was launched in 2018 which is better than ever, so now is a great time to buy a late used example of the still excellent fifth-generation car (pictured).
No, you're not seeing things. Ford's hugely popular Focus appears twice in the Top 10 – this time it's the diesel version. It also gives us the opportunity to show you the fourth-generation Focus which was launched in 2018 and some examples are already feeding onto the second-hand market.
Stylish, comfortable, safe and practical, coupled with superb handling and a great range of efficient engines, the all-new Ford Focus is back where it belongs – at the top of the class. The diesel Focus is the fifth most popular car financed by Admiral using HP.
Few hatchbacks can match the BMW 1 Series for driving engagement and premium badge appeal. Add to that a classy interior and great equipment on offer and you have a fantastic car.
Depending on the kind of driving you do, we suggest looking at the swift 118i (1.6-litre) petrol engine or the frugal 116d (1.5-litre) diesel, and it's best to opt for the five-door if you regularly carry passengers. The 1 Series is the ninth most popular vehicle bought by Admiral customers using HP car finance.
The BMW 3 Series has evolved over the years to become the benchmark mid-sized executive saloon when it comes to driver enjoyment and image. The all-new seventh-generation 3 Series goes on sale in 2019, but a used example is still a really sensible choice.
If it's economy and performance you're after, go for the economical 320d (2.0-litre turbo diesel) Efficient Dynamics Plus model. The 3 Series is the sixth most popular car financed using PCP by Admiral customers.
|1||Land Rover||Range Rover Evoque Diesel|
|2||Mercedes-Benz||A Class Diesel Hatchback|
|6||BMW||3 Series Diesel Saloon|
|8||Land Rover||Discovery Sport Diesel|
|9||Mercedes-Benz||C Class Diesel Saloon|
|2||Volkswagen||Golf Diesel Hatchback|
|3||Mercedes-Benz||A Class Diesel Hatchback|
|5||Ford||Focus Diesel Hatchback|
|9||BMW||1 Series Diesel Hatchback|
|10||Vauxhall||Corsa Hatchback Special Edition|
Scott Cargill from Admiral Car Finance gives a bit more insight into the differences between the cars bought on PCP vs hire purchase.
"Expensive cars like the Range Rover Evoque and the Mercedes C-Class might have been out of people's reach until the concept of PCP came along. PCP deals let people drive these cars for a few hundred pounds a month, with the bulk of the cost offset into a large 'balloon payment' at the end. Because the balloon payment is based on a car's expected depreciation, cars that hold their value well like BMWs, Mercedes and Range Rovers can sometimes leave customers in positive equity when their PCP deal comes to an end – handy for a deposit for their next car.
"Hire purchase, on the other hand, is a more straightforward option, with the car value (or planned depreciation of the car) built into the monthly payments, without a balloon payment at the end. So it can work well for people who want to buy a decent car like a Ford Fiesta or Fiat 500, but spread the payments over a few years."