Best New-Car Leftovers for 2012

Car Buying Articles

Best New-Car Leftovers for 2012

Discounts on Discontinued and Redesigned Models


Most savvy car shoppers know that September — the traditional end of the model year — means great bargains on car lots. But the truly advanced shopper knows that even better deals are available for those who are willing to buy a model that is about to be discontinued or redesigned.

Why are these vehicles so cheap? Well, if you buy a model that will be redesigned or dropped for the next model year, you will be driving a car that's visibly outdated. It's like buying a dress or suit that was hot last year, but has been eclipsed by newer styles. But even if you're the pragmatic type whose decisions aren't driven by fashion, this is your chance to score a new set of wheels at a low price.

Besides good, old-fashioned discounts, the cars featured in the list below are likely to carry hefty incentives and rebates to sweeten the deal. Check to see what is available in your area — many such offers are regional. To correctly apply incentives, remember to negotiate your lowest price first and then deduct any rebate. And if there is a choice between low-interest financing and cash back, run the numbers to see which will save you the most.

One note of caution for bargain hunters, though. When carmakers introduce a model redesign, the prior model depreciates more quickly and reselling it might be more difficult. However, if you're going to keep the car for a long time, depreciation will have little effect on you.

Below are our top 10 picks and a bonus three-pack. These are vehicles that are just about to be replaced by new-generation models, yet represent excellent value and performance:

2012 Chevrolet Impala
The Chevrolet Impala is spacious and reliable but it's been six years since it had a significant update, and a complete redesign will arrive with the 2014 model year, set to debut early in 2013. The discounts and rebates on the Impala will certainly reflect its somewhat outdated platform.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu
With an all-new 2013 version arriving in the fall, the still-popular 2012 Chevy Malibu will see significant discounts and incentives. This makes it a good choice for budget-minded shoppers who stress low purchase price and high reliability.

2012 Ford Fusion
An all-new, fully redesigned and slightly bigger Ford Fusion will arrive for the 2013 model year. This will put pressure on dealers to sell the popular 2012 Fusions and bring healthy incentives and discounts.

2012 Ford Mustang
The always popular Mustang gets refreshed with minor styling and equipment changes for 2013, making the 2012 model a great candidate for pony car lovers on a budget. Check for incentives and push for discounts.

2012 GMC Acadia
A refresh is coming for the 2013 Acadia, so the 2012 will quickly be considered outdated. However, it is still a solid choice in the SUV category. Incentives will likely increase as the new models hit the lot in the fall.

2012 Honda Accord
The venerable Accord has been redesigned for the 2013 model year, but because the car has so many loyalists, the incentives are likely to be modest for the 2012s. Still, discounts will be available for those willing to negotiate.

2012 Lexus ES 350
The Lexus ES 350 is getting a full redesign for 2013 that will give it a more dramatic exterior look and some additional interior room. This positions the 2012 ES 350 for deep discounts and incentives and rebates.

2012 Nissan Altima
Nissan is rolling out the first redesign of its Altima sedan in six years for 2013, making the still-attractive 2012 a sweet deal. Check incentives, particularly leasing specials.

2012 Nissan Pathfinder
The Pathfinder has long been a hit for Nissan, but the 2013 model year brings the introduction of an all-new generation with better mileage. Anyone willing to buy the 2012 can leverage incentives such as rebates, low-interest financing and lease specials on all trim levels.

2012 Toyota Avalon
Although it received a minor refresh for 2011, a full redesign of the Toyota Avalon is arriving for the 2013 model year. This will bring discounts and incentives on 2012 models of this under-the-radar Toyota.

Bonus Picks

2012 Chevrolet Traverse
With a refresh coming in 2013, Chevrolet will put some serious incentives on the hood of this popular SUV.

2012 Ford Escape
The all-new 2013 Ford Escape is the first complete redesign since the SUV came on the market in 2000. Ford wants the still-capable 2012 models off the lot and is offering incentives and discount to spark sales.

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe
After a face-lift in 2010, the Santa Fe will be fully redesigned for 2013. An array of incentives is likely to be available in most areas for 2012 models.

To find a dealership that knows how to treat shoppers right, please visit's Dealer Ratings and Reviews.



  • katmandu2 katmandu2 Posts:

    You'all failed to mention the 2012 Jeep Liberty Latitude! Yes, it is one of the lowest ranked SUVs but it is far superior in ride, safety and features to our 2005 Jeep Liberty Rocky Moutain Edition. We had zero issues with our 2005 Liberty so we we're confident in buying a 2012 Liberty. We Paid just under $22,000 for our 2012 Jeep Liberty Latitude 4x4 loaded with Leather and Moonroof with all the Rebates, Incentives and Discounts applied !! I challenge anyone to find a better deal than this !

  • gr8mazda3 gr8mazda3 Posts:

    The 2012 Mazda3 is currently an absolute STEAL. Only minor updates are scheduled for the 2013 model, and two dealers in the Knoxville, TN area have a combined 70 or so 2012 models left on their lots! Read this article if you need any more confirmation regarding this excellent compact car: I just bought the exact model in the comparison test and the OTD price came to just over $3000 under MSRP. I had just tested every car in the above comparison test plus the Sonic and Fiesta. The Mazda3 is the perfect balance of fun to drive with great fuel mileage from the SkyActiv engine. Amazed that this car is being heavily discounted with all the positive press and reviews. I love it!

  • bartstar bartstar Posts:

    Again people without a clue ,writing about things they know nothing about.Good luck finding most of those cars,fusion forget it,no escape on and on.One day they will hire a real "car guy" most of the above models were gone in july. Finding leftovers in sept is more miss then hit.Perhaps a fully loaded demo or over priced hybryd....anyway i should brush up on my spelling and grammer and get the resume going!!!!! people who write about the car biz appear to know nothing about it.

  • Despite the fact that it wasn't redesigned for 2013 (having been face-lifted in 2012), I've seen some nice incentives for 2012 Nissan Maximas...

  • igozoomzoom igozoomzoom Posts:

    2012 Mazda CX-9 definitely belongs on this list! I just bought a new 2012 Grand Touring FWD with Bose/Moonroof & Power Liftgate Packages for $8185 off MSRP! Paid $29,700 plus sales tax!

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    This is one of the least inspired articles I've read in a while. It could just be a list of outgoing models. Where's the commentary? For example, if you like your SUVs truckier, take advantage of the deals on the Escape or Pathfinder. But if you like a car based CUV, you need to pay more for the newer models. Or how about something about the Acadia and Traverse getting very minor redesigns. To me that's when you really can take advantage of these deals. But for the Accord you're only getting a small discount and missing out on a significant redesign.

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