Imagine spending thousands of dollars on a new car, only to find out later that an even better model will soon be available for roughly the same price? That situation stinks, and it happens all the time.

More and more automakers are attempting to get a leg up on the competition by releasing vehicles from their 2011 lineups early. While that can mean great discounts on current-year models, the savings only make sense on cars that hardly change from one year to the next. Redesigned ones are usually worth waiting for.

To avoid buying a car that you’ll want to kick yourself for later, you’ll need to check out how the car you want is expected to change in 2011.What you learn may save you from feeling duped. Start with the list below. You would have to be nuts to buy any of these five cars, vans and SUVs, as their 2011 counterparts will be substantially better.

2010 Ford Mustang

The 2010 Ford Mustang is an all-around fantastic Muscle Car, but with the Chevrolet Camaro offering a fresher look and more horsepower, the Mustang isn’t the value package it once was. That, however, is about to change. The 2011 Mustang will have an additional 95 horsepower and 40 pound-feet of torque in the V6 and 87 horsepower and 65 pound-feet of torque in the GT. Plus the GT is set to feature Ford’s legendary 5.0-liter V8 engine. If that weren’t enough, the 2011 Mustang V6 will lead the class with a 19/31 mpg fuel economy rating. These updates not only make the 2011 Mustang more competitive with the Camaro, but arguably better.

2010 Hyundai Sonata

Although the 2010 Hyundai Sonata is a good value, its sedate styling and blasé performance prevent it from standing out in the Affordable Midsize Car class. But the redesigned 2011 Sonata is an entirely different story. Its exterior features sweeping lines that make it look like a coupe -- and a fast one at that. And while it’s still not the peppiest car in its class, it’s fast enough and provides an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 24/35 mpg, giving it the best fuel economy in its class for a non-hybrid car. Inside, the perks continue with loads of passenger space and a long list of standard features (like XM Satellite Radio and Bluetooth connectivity) that make it feel like an upscale car.

2010 Infiniti M

While the 2010 Infiniti M ranks high in the Luxury Large Car class, it can't rest on its laurels --especially since it competes with the popular Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-Series. Fortunately, the redesigned 2011 Infiniti M stays in the running. Not only does it look sharper, but performance upgrades, like increased horsepower and a critically-acclaimed four-wheel steering system, make the 2011 M one of the best-performing full-size luxury sedans available. Inside, the 2011 M features higher-quality materials and redesigned gadgets, like a larger navigation screen. Other new technologies include a Blind Spot Intervention system and Forest Air, which uses scent technology to relax the driver and passengers, and even detects and neutralizes nasty odors.

2010 Honda Odyssey

The 2010 Honda Odyssey is top dog among Minivans, but edgier rivals like the 2011 Toyota Sienna have forced Honda to make some serious changes. Completely redesigned for 2011, the Honda Odyssey will feature a lower stance, sleeker profile and more modern-looking design. It’ll still be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine, but according to Honda will net an impressive city/highway fuel economy rating of 19/28 mpg -- which bests the Sienna’s top rating of 18/24 mpg. What’s more, the 2011 Odyssey will provide more legroom, while still maintaining its eight-passenger seating capacity. Other cool new features include a refrigerated cooler, a whopping 15 cup holders and an available 16.2-inch dual-view-capable ultra-wide DVD Rear Entertainment System.

2010 Ford Explorer

The 2010 Ford Explorer is practical -- offering an available third-row seat, loads of cargo room and excellent off-road capability. However, compared to smoother-riding crossovers, its truck-based platform no longer cuts it among Affordable Midsize SUVs. That’s why the 2011 Ford Explorer will ride on a car-based platform, providing drivers with a more refined ride. Shoppers will choose between a 290-horsepower V6 engine and a 237-horsepower four-cylinder that nets 30 percent better fuel economy than this year’s model. The redesigned Ford Explorer won’t be as off-road-capable as the 2010 model, but will still be offered with Ford's Intelligent Four-Wheel Drive system. Even better, the Explorer's dated exterior will be replaced with a fresh new look.