If you care more about getting a great deal on a car than driving the latest-style vehicles, check out a raft of 2012 models that are being replaced by new designs for 2013.
Kelley Blue Book lists models where buyers can take advantage of a combination of discounts and manufacturer's rebates to save more than $3,500 off the list price of current models. "Being aware of which models will soon be redesigned is a good way to get a new car and still keep some of your money in the bank," says Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst for Kelley.
In some cases, the 2013 models have already arrived at dealerships, so models from both years are selling side by side. That is the case, for instance, with the Nissan Altima, where dealers should be especially eager to negotiate.
Here's a closer look at four of the 2012 models where you can find big savings:
Even though it is soon to be dated, the Fusion was well-liked by reviewers and ranked No. 1 among affordable midsize cars by U.S. News & World Report. Test drivers liked the Fusion's crisp handling, competitive fuel economy (22 city, 29 highway), high-quality interior, and top safety ratings. Shoppers will like the $3,000 rebate and highly negotiable selling price.
Kelley says the SE version listing at $23,770 is available for $19,308, or a savings of $4.462.
The Malibu is a comfortable midsize sedan that is roomy both in the cabin and trunk. But perhaps its best feature is a $3,000 rebate from General Motors (GM), plus another $1,000 incentive to dealers to move the 2012 models. Kelley reports that the LT model, which normally lists for $24,230, is available for an average price of $20,081 (counting the incentives) -- that's a savings of $4,149. If you step up to the LTZ version, you get a V-6 engine (much preferred by reviewers) that offers the same MPG rating of 22 city, 33 highway as the base four-cylinder.
The higher-end model lists for $28,485, but you likely can buy it for around $24,300.
The just-released 2013 Altima has top MPG ratings and a nifty new system to keep tires safely inflated. But those may seem like minor attractions compared with the $3,900 savings available on the 2012 version. Reviewers describe the 2012 edition as a solid choice, with a comfortable interior and good fuel economy (23 city, 32 highway). The Altima 2.5 S lists for $24,230, but after a $1,500 rebate you can buy it for around $20,300.
A much sleeker 2013 Escape has just hit dealerships. But if you happen to like the old squared-off SUV style (I do, maybe because I own an older Escape), the deals are good on the 2012 model. The technology is definitely not dated, with the Ford SYNC system available that lets you give voice commands to play music, make phone calls, and do other tasks. The XLT version of the 2012 Escape lists for $25,695, but with about $2,500 in available rebates, you can save roughly $3,500 and buy it for $22,178, according to Yahoo! Autos.