Now it’s a su­per mar­ket

Deal­ers are sharp­en­ing the pen­cils for the end of the year — and th­ese are the best buys

Herald Sun - Motoring - - COVER STORY - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING ED­I­TOR joshua.dowl­ing@news.com.au

DE­CEM­BER is a great time to buy a new car as deal­ers try to clear stock be­fore 2016 ar­rives.

Many buy­ers are away on hol­i­days so the deal­ers sharpen their pen­cils to try to get peo­ple in the door and cars off the lot. This year is no ex­cep­tion.

Be­fore high­light­ing the best new-car deals, we should clar­ify what “2016 Model Year” means.

That’s the car in­dus­try’s way of de­scrib­ing when the model is planned for sale, even though they’re of­ten re­leased in the sec­ond half of the pre­vi­ous year.

The con­trived con­fu­sion is aimed at blunt­ing the need for sharp dis­count­ing as the new year rolls around.

But re­gard­less of what you are told, the only date that

mat­ters is not the model year or the com­pli­ance date but the build date of the car.

If your car is built in Novem­ber 2015 but it is be­ing mar­keted as a “2016 Model Year”, it will be re­garded as a 2015 model at trade-in time, even if it’s at the very same dealer try­ing to con­vince you it’s next year’s model.

Does it mat­ter? Not really. But you should know. Be­sides, the dis­count you’re get­ting now will likely be worth more than the slight dip in re­sale.

One more caveat — be wary of some low in­ter­est rate fi­nance deals.

Nis­san, for ex­am­ple, has 1 per cent fi­nance on most of its model range. Its cheap­est model, the Nis­san Mi­cra man­ual, is $49 a week or $15,850 drive-away. But in the fine print you’ll find the re­pay­ments must be made within three years — and there is a whop­ping “bal­loon” pay­ment of $8210 at the end, more than half the car’s

cost.

On the other hand, Toy­ota’s zero fi­nance deal on cer­tain mod­els is spec­tac­u­larly good. It is over four years, there is no bal­loon so, as we dis­cov­ered, they’re prac­ti­cally giv­ing money away.

Now, let’s go shop­ping ...

SMALL CARS

Sharp deals are cus­tom­ar­ily hard to find here be­cause the profit mar­gins are so low — the cut to the dealer on one pop­u­lar small car is $450.

The Suzuki Cele­rio is the cheap­est main­stream model, still at its launch pric­ing of $13,990 drive- away with au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Learn to drive a man­ual and pay $12,990. Slightly larger, the trusty

Suzuki Swift is good buy­ing at $16,490 drive-away with auto.

Toy­ota’s Yaris — with seven airbags and re­verse cam­era — is back at $17,990 drive-away with auto and four years’ road­side as­sis­tance.

The Mazda2 ini­tially looks good at $16,990 drive-away for the man­ual. Auto brings the price to $18,990 drive-away, which is not as sharp.

Honda and Mazda say there are “free on-roads” for the Jazz

and Mazda3 re­spec­tively, dealer de­liv­ery is still in the mix and the prices aren’t that sharp.

Kia’s Cerato sedan and hatch are still at an in­cred­i­ble $19,990 drive-away for auto (metal­lic paint is ex­pen­sive at $495). They have a seven-year war­ranty, front and rear park­ing sen­sors but no cam­era.

The Hyundai i30 hatch auto is $21,990 drive-away and you can swap De­cem­ber’s $1000 Eftpos voucher for $1000 off the car, so at $20,990 it’s good buy­ing. The Elantra sta­ble­mate is the same price but will be in run-out within a few months.

Toy­ota’s Corolla As­cent Sport hatch is fair buy­ing at $23,990 drive-away with auto.

For a lit­tle more bling and a good drive, the re­freshed Ford

Fo­cus Trend is $25,490 drive­away af­ter the $500 test drive dis­count. That in­cludes auto, sat­nav, rear cam­era, al­loy wheels, cruise con­trol and a su­per ef­fi­cient 1.5-litre turbo en­gine.

FAM­ILY CARS

The most metal for the money at the mo­ment, the jus­tre­leased new Toy­ota Camry can be had for $28,990 drive-away at zero fi­nance over four years. It has the cheap­est ser­vic­ing in the busi­ness and is eco­nom­i­cal to run and easy to drive. Stan­dard fare in­cludes seven airbags and rear-view cam­era.

The sta­ble­mate Au­rion V6 is just $1000 more at $29,990 drive-away, also with the same equip­ment and the same terms. Warn­ing: this car has so much grunt it can lose trac­tion when ac­cel­er­at­ing in the wet.

The Holden Com­modore SV6 “Storm” edi­tion is $39,990 drive-away with auto but $2000 bonus from Holden trims the price to $37,990 drive-away. That’s the cheap­est VF II yet (though the VE II dropped to $34,990 and $35,990 a couple of years ago).

SUVs

The city-sized Holden Trax LS is priced so sharply that deal­ers have al­most run out. More stock is com­ing late this month and early Jan­uary.

The head­line price says $22,990 drive-away with a free auto up­grade — for this month, take off a fur­ther $1000, bring­ing it to $21,990 drive-away or about $6000 off the orig­i­nal RRP.

The Mit­subishi ASX LS man­ual is $25,000 drive-away but there is a free auto up­grade this month, about $5000 off. It has seven airbags, five-year war­ranty, 18-inch al­loys, touch­screen, rear cam­era and sen­sors. Good deal. Need a seven-seater? The

Mazda CX-9 Clas­sic is still su­per sharp at $39,990 drive­away; the nine-year-old model will be su­per­seded in Fe­bru­ary.

Much newer but about the same price, the Toy­ota Kluger seven-seater can be had for $42,990 drive-away. Look­ing to buy a Holden

Cap­tiva7? Be warned, a re­freshed model with a new look and Ap­ple CarPlay is just around the cor­ner. Want to go bush? The

Holden Colorado 7 LT will get you there and leave more money for camp­ing gear: with $1000 fac­tory bonus it comes down to $42,990 drive-away, or about $5000 off.

Mit­subishi Pa­jero is also really good buy­ing for the Big Trip. At $55,000 drive-away with auto and five-year war­ranty, it’s a solid choice at a sharp price.

Watch out for

con­fus­ing ‘model year’ de­scrip­tions

— and be wary of low­in­ter­est fi­nance deals

Holden Trax

Suzuki Cele­rio

Mazda2 sedan

Mit­subishi ASX

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