Used cars. A term that used to have less than pleasant connotations – shady salesmen, dodgy deals and lemons come to mind. Of course, things have come a long way since the days of Honest Joe. They have.

Nowadays, chances are you’ll come away with a winner, taking your pick from the pre-owned route – there are plenty of great deals and a veritable variety of vehicles to pick from, and none are what you’d consider antiques (unless you’re skimping on the dough, of course).

Much of the landscape has changed due to the arrival of grey, or parallel, imports. This has brought about a significantly improved level of selection and choices, and many times, at significantly cheaper prices.

Sure, most people usually like them new. Unfortunately, there are times when going new doesn’t always make for a wide and varied choice, what with new car prices being what they are.

The thing is, say you have RM80,000-RM90,000 to spend. You could buy a Toyota Vios, Ford Fiesta, Honda City or Nissan Almera new, and be plenty happy with any of them. But, if you’re a bit more open to things, you could end up with a steal like a 2011 Honda Civic 1.8SL, like seen on our sister site, oto.my.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, then something like a first-gen Mini Cooper S might tickle your fancy – hunt around and you’ll find plenty of neat R53 examples in that sub-RM90k price range. Move up the price range to the RM125-RM150k region and a slew of E60 BMW 5 Series awaits you, not bad when you consider that they’re a good deal off the original price asked.

Whatever it is, the buyer is spoilt for choice when it comes to cars, especially going the recond and used route. More so now that it’s the end of the year, with stock clearances and discounts going full swing.

If you happen to thinking along those lines, and shopping around for a deal, then otofest 2012 will definitely pique your interest. The event, organised by our sister classifieds website oto.my, takes place next weekend, on December 8-9 2012, and the whole bag of dealerships located at Cheras Autocity are set to take part in the festivities.

More than 700 vehicles – across a varied price range – will be available for viewing, and there’ll be many offerings specially priced for the two-day event; you won’t get these prices pre- or post-event, we’ve been told.

In a straight-up case, say with a 2010 Toyota Vellfire 2.4Z Platinum that’s going for RM250,000, a seven-year loan tenure at 2.45% interest with a 20& downpayment works out to be RM2,789 a month. What if we tell you that we can knock off the first year repayment down by almost RM1,000? We won’t reveal all, but suffice to say that there are packages which will reduce the monthly repayment rate, among them a step-up repayment structure.

These are thanks to special financing packages only for the carnival. Our oto.my team has set up some fantastic deals thanks to Alphera, a division of BMW Credit Malaysia. Alphera will be setting up stall at the event, and will have very attractive interest rates (starting from 2.45% for new recond vehicles) and financing deals on hand.

We’ll cover more about this in due time, as well as highlight the cherry pick of the deals that await. All you need to do now is remember the dates – December 8-9 – and the place, which is otofest 2012 at Cheras Autocity.