Best new-car deals for end of the 2010 year

Consumer Reports News: December 15, 2010 12:08 PM

You may be searching for bargains on gift items this holiday season, but it’s also a great time to find a deal on a new car. The Consumer Reports Auto Price Services team has been monitoring the latest incentives to put together a list of standout offers to supplement our usual Best New Car Deals.

Several factors combine to make late December a good time to buy, as evidenced by the abundant customer rebates, discount financing, and hidden dealer incentives. Beyond the dollars on the hood, there is a real desire for dealers to move inventory. Dealerships are motivated by end-of-month and end-of-year quotas that can bring manufacturer-sourced monetary rewards for hitting sales targets. And this need to sell cars comes at a time when most families are busy at the mall, traveling, or otherwise engaged in holiday family activities. This means car-buyers can truly drive deals this time of the year.

Any remaining 2010 models will be especially open to deep discounts and further negotiation. These vehicles likely have been on the lot for not just weeks, but often months, meaning the dealer has been likely paying financing charges on the inventory far longer than planned. But the great deal on leftover models also may come with a downside: Before grabbing the first 2010 deal you find, consider that some 2011 models might get you the latest safety features and technology not found on last year’s version. (See “Video: Should you buy a 2010 or 2011 car?”)

For our holiday deals watch, we focused on Consumer Reports’ Recommended 2010 and 2011 models that offer the best discounts. The Bottom Line Prices factoring all national incentives on the listed models are between 15 to 25 percent below MSRP.

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’ stringent criteria to be recommended. These vehicles scored well in our testing, have average or better predicted reliability, and performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated.

See our full list of deals on both 2010 and 2011 models.

 
Make & model Expires MSRP Invoice price Customer rebate Dealer incentive Bottom line price Potential savings below MSRP
2010 Acura RL 3.7 Auto (48-state only) 1/4/2011 $46,830 $42,470 No Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 20%+
2010 Buick Lucerne Super
1/3/2011 42,515 40,814 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Cadillac DTS Luxury Collection
1/3/2011 51,525 48,691 No Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 20%+
2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 4x4 Crew Cab
1/3/2011 34,615 32,192 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD 1500 LTZ
1/3/2011 55,625 51,731 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Chevrolet Avalanche 4WD LT
1/3/2011 41,880 39,948 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 20%+
2011 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT 1/3/2011 22,825 21,684 Yes Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 20%+
2010 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 Crew Cab 1/3/2011 34,240 31,652 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 20%+
2011 Ford Focus SES sedan 1/3/2011 18,870 17,587 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Ford Mustang GT Premium convertible 1/3/2011 36,395 33,406 Yes Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT SWB 1/3/2011 42,275 39,316 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Honda Accord LX-P Auto 1/4/2011 22,855 20,728 No Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Hyundai Sonata GLS I4 A/T 1/3/2011 19,900 19,056 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Kia Forte EX AT sedan 1/3/2011 16,995 16,190 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2011 Mercury Mariner Premier I4 4WD 12/31/2010 27,385 25,521 Yes Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 20%+
2011 Mercury Milan I4 12/31/2010 22,025 20,398 Yes Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 25%+
2010 Nissan Versa 1.8 S Auto sedan 1/3/2011 14,350 13,846 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2011 Nissan Sentra 2.0 SL CVT 1/3/2011 18,850 17,582 Yes No Get the Bottom Line Price 20%+
2010 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe 1/4/2011 88,800 79,740 No Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Suzuki SX4 sedan LE Popular AT 1/3/2011 16,549 15,887 Yes Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Volkswagen CC Luxury 1/3/2011 33,080 30,874 No Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Volvo C70 T5 M 1/3/2011 40,000 37,600 No Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 15%+
2010 Volvo XC70 3.2 AWD A 1/3/2011 37,950 35,673 No Yes Get the Bottom Line Price 20%+

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 and receive guaranteed, competitive price quotes from up to three dealers in your area who have agreed to meet certain guidelines of conduct. Available to Available to Consumer Reports New Car Price Report purchasers, as well as ConsumerReports.org 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 and Mike Dempsey


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