As much as we all like a new car, we like a great deal even more. There’s nothing worse than driving off the dealer lot and finding out that you could have saved a lot of money by going for a similar car with a better discount.
You probably know where to go to find the best car deals, but finding out which cars have tiny discounts, or are even being sold above MSRP can be tricky. We teamed with TrueCar, which tracks real-time new car transaction prices to find the cars with the worst discounts this month. While all of the cars on the list are good, you can save some money – and maybe even some buyer’s remorse – by going for a competitor.
September’s Worst Car Deals
If you want to pay more than you should for a car, go for the latest model. In the massive rush to be first to have the latest and greatest, shoppers will pay above MSRP. In the case of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, people are paying an average of $44 over sticker. That doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider that you can lease a 2012 Mini Cooper for just $229 a month or get $500 off manual models, paying $44 above MSRP doesn’t sound so good, especially when you consider that car reviewers overwhelmingly prefer the Mini. It’s ranked eighth in the U.S. News affordable small car rankings, while the 2012 Beetle is in 23rd place.
Though it was just released in 2011, the Buick Regal hasn’t wasted time racking up awards and car shoppers who are willing to pay above sticker to get their hands on one. But you can save money and get a car that’s just as nice, and has more interior room than the Regal by going for the 2012 Ford Fusion. In September, you can get the Fusion with $2,000 cash back or zero percent financing for 60 months. The 2012 Regal doesn’t have any incentives this month.
The Chevrolet Sonic is another model that just hit the market, and consumers are paying through the nose to get it. But, if you’d prefer to save a little money with your subcompact, consider the Ford Fiesta. Since it’s been on the market longer, you can get it with $500 cash back or 1.9 percent financing for 36 months. The Fiesta also has a lower starting price and a combined EPA fuel economy rating that’s 4 mpg better than the Sonic’s.
If you read enough reviews of the Lexus LX 570, you’ll see a pattern: Car reviewers like the LX, but point out that the Toyota Land Cruiser is pretty much the same SUV with a lower price tag. With people paying an average of just 0.8 percent under MSRP on the LX this month, reviewers aren’t exactly getting their point across. Still, if you want to save on a luxury SUV, you’ve got plenty of options that don’t include the LX. The Infiniti QX56 outranks the LX in the U.S. News luxury large SUV rankings on almost every measure, including performance and interior comfort and features. The QX also starts out more than $20,000 less than the LX does. This month, the QX is available with 1.9 percent financing for up to 60 months, making it look like an even better deal than the LX.
No one ever advertised a sale where merchandise is just one percent off -- no one would buy. Yet that’s the current discount, based on actual transaction prices, on the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid. The Civic Hybrid is fresh off a full redesign, but most reviewers think the changes didn’t go far enough, and the Civic Hybrid currently ranks at number 29 (out of 33) affordable small cars in the U.S. News car rankings. The Toyota Prius not only starts at a lower price than the Civic Hybrid does, but it also has better fuel economy ratings, and lease rates under $300 per month in most parts of the country.