Demonstrator car buying guide and checklist

Looking to get behind the wheel of a demo car? Find out how to score a bargain without getting blind-sided.

Purchasing a car is big a decision, so you want to be prepared before you start the car-buying process. If you've decided to pick up a bargain and purchase a demo car, this guide will take you through everything you need to know to help you purchase with confidence.

What is a demonstrator vehicle?

This is a vehicle that salesmen and executives use at dealerships. They aren't only used for test drives, but can be used to boost awareness of a new model, increase traffic at a dealership or just move old stock. These cars are new-model vehicles that usually come with all the bells and whistles from top-range models, and because they aren't technically "new", you can save on your purchase.

Finding a demo car

While the dealership is the first place you'd turn to find a demonstrator vehicle, you can also search for these on car-buying websites such as Comparing prices before you buy can give you some bargaining power to negotiate the price. You can check prices on sites such as RedBook and The Motor Report for new and used vehicles to get an idea of current market prices.

Types of demonstrator vehicles

You might hear advertisements on the radio or TV blaring demonstrator deals, but before running out to pick one up, make sure you understand what you're buying:

  • Runout models.
    These are discounted models that need to be cleared out before new stock arrives. Kilometres are usually below 10,000km but can come with discounts for the amount they've travelled.
  • Dealer demonstrators.
    Cars in this category can be offered as loaners to customers and they are usually the newest models to help promote them. These can also be cars that customers returned and repaired at the dealership or even cars that have been from cancelled customer orders.
  • Factory demonstrators.
    Vehicles used at events, promotions, for sponsorships or at companies with company car plans with high turnovers or press fleets can send these vehicles back to the dealership to sell for a bargain price.

Tips for making your purchase

  • When you're at the dealership, find out how old the car is. Find out how often the car was used and if there is any paperwork available to see the activity of it use.
  • Check when it was registered and who the first registered owner was.
  • If the car has a decent number of kilometres driven on it, ask who has been driving it and what its primary use was.
  • Ask what differentiates the new car from the demo version.
  • Check the kilometres – if it's over 500km, ask about its history.

If you know how much you want to spend - you could get pre-approval for finance here >

How to inspect the vehicle

Demonstrator vehicles are relatively new, but they all differ on age and kilometres driven. Inspecting the vehicle for any signs of wear and tear is important prior to making your purchase.

  • The engine should start easily and shouldn't make any noise.
  • Check the quality of the tyres.
  • Ask if the vehicle if the vehicle has been in any accidents.
  • Check the battery life.
  • Make sure there are no scratches and check the paint quality.
  • Check the lights, radio, windscreen wipers and all other systems function properly.


How much do you save with a demo vehicle?

This differentiates from purchase to purchase. The main saving comes from the fact that the car isn't "new", so cannot be sold as such. Also, you will be given many of the extras that come with top-of-the-line vehicles as they need to show them to customers on test-drives. If you aren't happy with the price, ask yourself if you really need all of the extras that are being thrown in with the car.

You should also look at the new vehicle sticker price of the model you are purchasing and see how much you are saving with the demo vehicle.

Demonstrator vehicles can be a great option that can help you save. If you're interested in purchasing a used vehicle, you can take a look at our car buying guide by following the link below.

How-to guide and checklist for your used car purchase

Comparison of car loans you can apply for

Rates last updated January 17th, 2019
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Monthly Service Fee Application Fee Product Description Monthly Repayment
Latitude New and Used Car Loan
From 6.99% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
Finance a range of vehicles including cars, motorbikes, boats and caravans.
Apply online to finance a new or used motor vehicle and receive a response in 90 seconds. You will receive a competitive tailored rate of between 6.99% p.a. to 14.99% p.a.
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan
From 5.69% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
Offset your interest with a Car Budget Account.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.
RACV New Car Loans
From 5.99% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
Benefit from 5-hour pre-approval.
A competitive rate car loan from RACV with no monthly fees.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From 5.14% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
$457 (for private seller vehicles this fee is $608)
Fixed or variable rates starting from 5.14% p.a.
Apply for up to $100,000 and have up to 7 year(s) to repay. You can use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit.
IMB New Car Loan
5.89% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
Borrow as little as $2,000 at a competitive fixed rate
Finance a new car up to two years old. Competitive 5.99% p.a. rate available to all approved applicants. - New Car Loan
5.44% (fixed)
3 to 5 years
Optional balloon payment available to reduce your repayments.
A competitive rate car loan suitable for a new cor used car.
Westpac Car Loan
From 8.49% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
Use a new or used car as security.
A flexible loan thats lets you benefit from a car search tool as well as the option to borrow extra for on-road costs.
St.George Secured Personal Loan - Fixed Rate
From 8.49% (fixed)
1 to 5 years
You'll receive a fixed rate from 8.49% p.a. based on the value of your car
Get a competitive rate and apply for a larger loan up to $80,000 when you attach a new or used car as security to the loan.
People's Choice CU Car Loan
From 5.64% (fixed)
1 to 10 years
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.64% p.a.
A lower interest rate when you're borrowing over $20,000. Benefit from pre-approval and no monthly fees.
IMB Secured Personal Loan
6.89% (fixed)
1 to 5 years
Secure this loan with a car and use the funds for any purpose.
Competitive 6.89% p.a. rate available to all approved applicants. Loan amounts up to $60,000 available.

Compare up to 4 providers

Picture: Shutterstock

Elizabeth Barry

Elizabeth is the Fintech Editor for finder and writes about innovations in financial products and services – think banking products that are easier to access, faster, cheaper and personalised. She started writing about personal finance over five years ago and found it was her passion (which was a surprise to no one more so than herself).

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Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
Latitude New and Used Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for a loan from $5,000 to finance a new or used car. Flexible repayments and options to finance a classic car.

Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"

You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.69% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.

RACV New Car Loans

You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $15,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees. Note: Product only available to residents of Victoria.

Stratton Finance New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed or variable rate depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $100,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.

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