Best End-of-Year Car Deals

12 15, 2022

Traditionally, Santa always delivered exciting deals on new cars and trucks as dealers slashed prices to make room for the new models that would fill their lots. But this year, the Grinch stepped in with chip shortages, supply chain issues, and skyrocketing financing making real deals harder to find.

There are still good offers on 2022 cars and trucks, but those offers are more about the cost of financing than slashing MSRPs, which can get pretty tricky. We'll give you a list of December's hot car and truck deals and then give you some ideas on how to make your own end-of-year stocking (or garage) stuffers.

Rudolph With Your Nose So Bright, Lead Us to a Deal Tonight

This year, the "reindeer games" are all about financing and the ride's total cost. Most people make automotive buying decisions based on monthly payments. While that's understandable, cash flow is always important but doesn't always reflect the best deal. Anything under the national average of 6% for vehicle financing is a good start. However, there are other considerations as well.

Let's start with two rides that offer 0% financing to "well-qualified" buyers.

2022 Alfa Romeo Giuli

If you are looking for something snazzy and fast in a small luxury sedan, this sleek Italian ride offers engaging handling, a selection of powerful engines (280 hp to 508 hp), a luxurious interior, and it is a joy to drive. Priced in the $43,350 - $78,830 range, this stocking stuffer would run $48,864 - $91,440 if financed at 6% over five years. Zero percent financing saves this luxury vehicle buyer $5,000 to $12,000

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai wants to kick off its new year by offering 0% interest on its compact pickup truck, the Santa Cruz. It is a great choice if you want a ride that has a place for your gear but doesn't ride like a truck. It is not going to replace the Ford F 150 any time soon but considering it is packed with standard features and technology, the Santa Cruz is going to make a splash. Priced at $25,450, this little truck would cost $27,552 if financed for four years at 6%.

Zero financing is pretty sweet, but then so is a low-interest rate coupled with "bonus cash." Bonus cash is a manufacturer's rebate that is typically applied to the sales price on "cash deals" (purchases not financed by the dealer) although sometimes it can be combined with a low-rate loan as well. Here are a couple of examples running in December this year:

2022 RAM 1500 Big Horn

 The number two best-selling full-size pickup in America goes for about $47,986. However, throughout December, RAM is offering 4.99% financing and a $4,000 cash bonus. Combine the low rate and the $4,000 rebate, and you've got a deal that wasn't available at any time during 2022.

2022 Audi A8

 Another luxury sedan, Audi's flagship A8, is offering super low 3.99% financing plus $12,500 in bonus cash. That still adds up to a pricy ride, but if you are shopping in that segment, you really have to take a hard look at this luxurious vehicle.

Low-interest rates are also being offered to clear lots of 2022 rides and boost new model-year vehicles of all kinds. Some of the best include:

  • 2022 Fiat 500X……….…4.99% financing

  • 2023 Honda Ridgeline….2.9% financing

  • 2023 Kia Soul……………2.9% financing

  • 2022 Lexus RX Hybrid….2.99% financing

  • 2023 Mini Cooper………..3.9% financing​​​​​​​

Getting the Best Deals

If this isn't your first rodeo, then you know buying a new car can be a confusing financial exercise that, unfortunately, usually ends up being decided by the monthly payment. Salespeople are quick to upsell options or the next trim up simply by adding another year to the financing to keep the monthly price affordable. At the end of the day, you're still making payments on a car or truck that is out of warranty and needs repair.

So, use the same strategies to find end-of-the-year deals that you would use to find the best price at any other time of year. Rember "Knowledge is Power," and the internet is your friend. Keep in mind:

  • Not all dealers pay the same for the same models. Volume, market location, dealer financing, and a myriad of other incentives and factors can cause one dealer to be more competitive than another.
  • Geographic location may drive pricing and discounts as well. For example, a rural dealer may make a better deal on an EV or hybrid than an urban dealer because of lower demand. 
  • Take the time to do the math on cash back or low financing choices. US News has an app that does the calculation for you.

Prices are not likely to come down anytime soon, so take advantage of the Holiday season deals now.