Best new car deals this Christmas
It's the most wonderful time of the year … to buy a new car.
December is a great time to look for a new car, as dealers seek to clear existing stock, meet annual sales targets and dispose of 2019 - or earlier - models before January rolls around.
This year, dealers will be even more receptive because new-car sales have slumped, leaving plenty of unsold stock on forecourts. Beware, though, some deals are not as good as they seem.
A 2018-plate car (yes there are still some around) with delivery kilometres might deliver a bargain today but, as of next month, it will be two years old in the minds of valuers, which will bite you when it comes to trade-in time.
Similarly, cars that are due for replacement soon - such as Volkswagen's Golf or the Toyota Kluger, which are already available in next-generation form overseas - won't seem new for very long.
Ross Booth, general manager of used car valuer Redbook, says it pays to keep an open mind and not rush into anything.
"There are also deals in January, if not February - but the longer you wait, the dealer is more likely to sell their stock, and you might miss out on the vehicle of your choice."
Booth says it pays to be flexible, as being too set on a particular colour or trim line could hurt your chances of landing a bargain.
"The less fussy you are, the better deal you're going to get," Booth says. "If you're willing to compromise, you will maximise your saving."
Small cars, sedans
A new Toyota Yaris is around the corner, so you should be able to grind out a better deal than the current $17,490 drive-away deal which represents a $697 discount.
City car buyers with more to spend could look at Citroen's C3 hatch for $26,990 drive-away - with free on-roads worth more than $2000, plus three free services worth $1493.
VW's outgoing Golf is available from $24,990 drive-away with 2.99 per cent finance.
Hyundai has stretched its normal five-year warranty to seven years for the i30 range - including the highly regarded i30 N hot hatch - as opposed to discounting on its bestseller.
Performance customers should consider 2018-plate examples of the Renault Megane RS, now from $42,490 drive-away or about $6000 less than its retail price, including a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. Dual-clutch automatic versions add $4000.
Peugeot's 308 GT arrived this year as a 165kW little brother to the range-topping GTi. Originally priced from $39,990 plus on-roads, the GT is now available from $36,990 drive-away, representing several thousand dollars in savings.
Moving up a size, Holden's soon-to-be-culled Commodore is officially on sale from $35,990 drive-away, a $1350 saving, and that's before factoring in seven years of free servicing worth more than $2100.
A cursory check of online classifieds reveals dealers are willing to let them go for as little as $24,990 drive-away, with plenty of options under the $30,000 mark.
Likewise, Volkswagen is doing deals on the Passat, which is due to be replaced in the first half of the year. The official line is that you'll pay about $43,000 drive-away with $3500 cash back but dealers are letting them go for less than $40,000 on the road.
You can get a lot of car for your cash with the soon-to-be-replaced Toyota Kluger, from $41,990 drive-away, a discount of at least $7000.
Holden's seven-seat Acadia also represents great buying. The entry-level Acadia LT is $43,990 drive-away, a discount of more than $5700, taking into account seven years of free servicing worth $2153.
Mazda's CX-5 is available from $39,990 drive-away in popular all-wheel drive Maxx Sport grade, saving about $3000. The deal includes three years' or 30,000km worth of servicing, valued at $1000 or more. The same service deal applies to the larger CX-8 and CX-9 family SUVs, as well as the BT-50 ute.
Mitsubishi's Eclipse Cross is on sale from $29,990 drive-away (the equivalent of free on-roads), including seven-year warranty and two years of free servicing.
Hyundai's Tucson Active, from $28,990 drive-away, saves about $4000 - with two-year factory warranty extension taking the coverage to seven years.
The Ford Escape in Ambiente grade is from $28,990 drive-away, a saving of nearly $4000.
Jeep is selling 2018-plate Compass SUVs from $32,950 drive-away - but you can do better than that. New examples are advertised online for less than $30,000, some as low as $26,490 drive-away, or nearly $6500 less than advertised deals.
Normally $35,490 plus on-roads, Renault's Koleos Zen is now $36,490 drive-away, boosted by a seven-year warranty, three years of free servicing (worth $1287) and competitive finance.
Nissan Pathfinder buyers get an extra two years of warranty coverage, plus a $3500 gift card. The smaller X-Trail is available from $28,990 drive-away. That's sharp but some dealers are advertising identically specced cars for $4000 less.
Holden's 2020 model year Colorado Storm costs $53,990 drive-away including seven years of free servicing worth more than $3000, for a saving of $8000-plus.
With 2019 plates, Mitsubishi's range-topping Triton GLS Premium is $48,990 drive-away, including a two-year warranty extension (to seven years) and two years of free servicing. Just $1000 more gets you a 2020 model, which will make more sense at resale time.
The Ford Ranger XLT dual-cab is from $54,990 drive-away, a $6500 discount.
ABN holders can get Nissan's Navara ST 4X4 dual-cab for $48,990 drive-away, including seven-year warranty and $2000 gift card.
Toyota's HiLux SR5 dual-cab is $53,990 drive-away with free automatic transmission upgrade, worth $2000.
Alfa Romeo's Giulia sedan is a bargain at $56,900 drive-away, a $10,000 discount. But it's worth reading the fine print - the deal applies to 2018 plate vehicles built in 2017.
Among strong deals in Audi's Open Haus sale, the Q5 45 TFSI Sport is $75,990 drive-away, or about $6300 off its regular retail price.
BMW's X1 is on sale from $48,900 drive-away.
Volvo's XC60 luxury SUV is on sale in entry T5 Momentum grade with metallic paint and a lifestyle pack (including Harman Kardon audio and a panoramic sunroof) thrown in for $67,990 drive-away - a $10,000 discount.