March 1st means new car day for thousands of people across the country — which can be a very exciting time indeed.

People sit waiting for their brand new cars for months just to ensure they can have the newest registration plate going, and that’s no different this year with the new 19-plate.

But what many forget is that February is a fantastic time to buy a new or nearly-new car. It’s a notoriously slow month for sales, but dealers still have targets to meet, meaning you can often pick up a fantastic bargain.

Here’s our pick of the last-minute deals you can get before the new 19-plate registrations are released.

1. Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover’s hugely popular Evoque is just about to be replaced by a new second-generation model with improved infotainment, a revised design and all-new tech.

But if you’re wanting a small luxury SUV, the outgoing model is still a commendable car. And you can pick-up a pre-registered model with no miles on the clock for £10,000 less than what a new one would cost you with the same equipment.

One we found: 2019 (68) Range Rover Evoque 2.0 TD4 SE Tech 5dr – £31,440

2. Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra has always been one of the UK’s most popular cars, but it’s sadly fallen out of favour with buyers in recent years. It’s difficult to see why, though, because the latest Astra is stylish, fantastic to drive and excellently equipped.

It’s also an ideal family hatchback, and if you go for an SRi model it comes laden with safety kit — including autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and lane-keep assist. And depending on trim level, you can save yourself more than £8,000 off the list price of a nearly-new Astra.

One we found: 2019 (68) Vauxhall Astra 1.4T 150 SRi VX-Line Nav – £15,000

3. Volkswagen Up!

The charming little Volkswagen Up! might be getting a bit long in the tooth now, but for those wanting a cheap to run, easy to park city car that is surprisingly refined for such a small model, there are few better options.

Sure, it’s not the best on the motorway and the infotainment comes in the form of your own phone being plugged into the dash, but it’s hard to knock the little VW at this price, which is more than £3,000 less than the price of a new Up!.

One we found: 2018 (68) Volkswagen Move Up! 60 – £6,980

4. Mercedes E-Class

The latest E-Class set a new benchmark in its class for interior tech, comfort and refinement when it was unveiled in 2016, and while rivals from BMW and Audi might have now caught up to the Mercedes, it’s still a superb executive car.

The pick of the range is still the super-efficient 2.0-litre diesel engine (badged E 220 d) and it comes laden with standard kit including LED headlights, a 12.3-inch digital cockpit and a full leather interior. But where it eclipses its rivals is when it comes to the price of nearly-new models, as you can save up to £10,000 off the price of a new one by buying now.

One we found: 2019 (68) Mercedes E 220 d SE Saloon – £27,890

5. Mazda MX-5

The MX-5 has long been seen as one of the best sports cars around with its back-to-basics and lightweight approach to motoring, and the same is true today. Mazda improved its MX-5 in 2018 with enhanced refinement, more safety equipment and better comfort, but not without sacrificing on fun.

It can be had with a punchy 2.0-litre engine, but the entry-level 1.5-litre unit is a joyous engine and is more suited to the MX-5’s character. It also helps that there is some fantastic discounts on even brand new models, with significant savings off Mazda’s claimed £18,995 starting price.

One we found: Unregistered 2019 Mazda MX-5 1.5 SE+ 2dr – £15,749