The holidays are upon us and while you may be searching for last-minute gift bargains for the family, it’s also a good time to find a holiday deal on a new car. The end of the year can be a good time to buy and take advantage of manufacturer incentives and rebates. Dealers are anxious to sell what they can now because the winter months are typically their slowest season. Plus, automakers, too, are hoping to close the year with strong sales. All these factors put the car buyer in a good position to negotiate and come out with a great deal on a good car.
For our December selection, we have listed CR recommended 2011 and 2012 models that offer the best discounts. Prices on the models selected are between 15 percent and 20 percent below MSRP, but dealers may be interested in negotiating further if inventory is available. A few of the models -- Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Lincoln MKZ, and Mazda6 -- have been on lots over 100 days and are ripe for negotiations.
Buying a 2012 model instead of a leftover 2011 might get you the latest safety features and technology and more inventory to choose from at the dealership. However, buying a 2011 model may get you the best price as dealers are more willing to negotiate an outgoing 2011 model. Of course, the downside to buying a leftover 2011 is that it already has a year’s worth of depreciation under its belt. But if you drive your car a long time, short-term depreciation won’t matter much.
The models listed below are just a few of our Best New Car Deals, meaning there are notable discounts on models that meet Consumer Reports’ criteria to be recommended. These vehicles scored well in our testing, had average or better reliability in our subscriber survey, and performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated.
See our full list of deals for 2011 and 2012 models.
|Make & model||Expires||MSRP||Invoice price||Customer rebate||Dealer incentive||Bottom line price||Potential savings below MSRP|
| 2011 Cadillac DTS ||1/3/12||52,845||49,989||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||20%+|
| 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche ||1/3/12||43,405||40,433||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||20%+|
|2012 Chevrolet Malibu||1/3/12||24,115||22,947||Yes||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||20%+|
|2011 Buick Lucerne ||1/3/12||45,225||43,447||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
| 2011 Chevrolet Corvette ||1/3/12||54,995||50,131||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
| 2011 Chevrolet Suburban ||1/3/12||57,530||53,569||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Chevrolet Traverse||1/3/12||34,820||33,120||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
| 2011 Dodge Durango ||1/3/12||36,270||34,361||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2012 Ford Escape||1/3/12||27,445||25,640||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Ford F-150||1/3/12||37,820||34,387||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2012 Ford Mustang||1/3/12||34,505||31,854||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2012 Ford Taurus||1/3/12||32,950||30,420||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 GMC Yukon XL||1/3/12||50,365||46,906||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Honda Accord||1/3/12||23,950||21,791||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Honda Pilot||1/3/12||36,680||33,298||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Lexus ES 350||1/3/12||37,600||34,174||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Lexus IS 250||1/3/12||35,340||31,894||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Lexus LS 460||1/3/12||73,550||65,556||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2012 Mazda6||1/3/12||22,035||20,430||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Nissan Altima||1/3/12||23,330||21,919||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2012 Nissan Maxima||1/3/12||35,310||32,401||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Nissan Murano||1/3/12||38,810||35,805||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
The full pricing information is available to online subscribers through the model overview pages. Consumer Reports also has a "Build & Buy" service that lets you configure a new vehicle online via the model overview pages and then get guaranteed, competitive price quotes from up to three dealers in your area who have agreed to meet certain guidelines of conduct. Available to online subscribers, the service is completely free and you are under no obligation to buy.