When it comes to car-sales holidays, so-called Presidents' Day Weekend is among the best for getting a great deal on a new car. Many automakers, as well as local dealerships, are advertising discounts and low-interest rates, but not all deals merit a presidential seal of approval. Consumer Reports Auto Price Service has combed through the national deals, filtering out models that don't meet our stringent criteria to be recommended, and the team found that there are many models available for 15- to 20-percent off the sticker price.
In sifting through the incentives, looking at direct customer rebates and hidden dealer cash, we discovered that many of the more attractive offers are on leftover 2010 models. Finding 2010s in a color and trim level that you want may be a challenge, but there are still a few out there. Of course, now that we're in the 2011 calendar year and months into the 2011 model year, any 2010 car has depreciated significantly and the purchase price needs to reflect that, or you'll lose out when it comes time to trade in.
Founding Fathers and finding deals
For our Presidents' Day Weekend deals watch, we focused on Consumer Reports' recommended 2010 and 2011 models that offer the best discounts. Those highlighted here have Bottom Line Prices well below MSRP, when factoring all national incentives. Regional or local offers, as well as bonus incentives that are targeted at specific audiences such as military personnel or college graduates, may further sweeten the deal. The Bottom Line Price gives you a strong starting point for your negotiations, working up from the rock bottom, rather than haggling down from MSRP or even advertised offers.
The models listed below are just a few of our Best New Car Deals—notable discounts on models recommended by Consumer Reports. 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 current 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 Honda Accord Crosstour EX-L V6 4WD||2/28/2011||$34,020||$30,817||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Honda Civic Hybrid CVT
||2/28/2011||23,950||22,042||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
||2/28/2011||53,600||48,776||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
||2/28/2011||74,305||67,618||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Ford Focus SES Sedan
||4/4/2011||18,870||17,587||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Buick Lucerne Super||2/28/2011||44,460||42,682||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 4WD Crew Cab||2/28/2011||35,010||32,534||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Acura RL 3.7 Auto (48-state only)||2/28/2011||47,200||42,802||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT SWB||2/28/2011||42,275||39,316||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 4WD Crew Cab||2/28/2011||34,615||32,192||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2010 Acura TL 3.5 Auto||2/28/2011||35,105||32,673||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Toyota Tundra 5.7 Auto 4WD FFV Tundra Grade Crew Max||2/28/2011||33,540||31,023||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Nissan Versa 1.8 FE+SL CVT hatchback||2/28/2011||16,940||16,337||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2010 GMC Yukon XL 4WD 1/2 Ton SLT1 (4SA)||2/28/2011||48,765||45,351||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||15%+|
|2011 Cadillac DTS Luxury Collection||2/28/2011||51,925||49,069||No||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||20%+|
|2011 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT||2/28/2011||22,825||21,684||Yes||Yes||Get the Bottom Line Price||20%+|
|2011 Nissan Sentra 2.0 SL CVT||2/28/2011||18,870||17,600||Yes||No||Get the Bottom Line Price||20%+|
|2010 Volvo XC70 3.2 AWD A||3/31/2011||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 strict guidelines of conduct. 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 New Car Deals.
—Jeff Bartlett and Mike Dempsey