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Best new car deals for the end of 2011

Consumer Reports News: December 21, 2011 10:38 AM

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.

See all current Best Deals, or use our New Car Selector to create your own list of vehicles by sorting and filtering by the factors that matter most to you.

Liza Barth

   

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