Deadline 2018: Here Are the Cars Consumer Reports Says to Buy Before the New Year

Most car consumers have heard and seen the ads. They talk about “getting rid of this year’s stock to make room for the next model year.” It sounds like just another auto salesman gimmick, but there are consequences when you purchase a vehicle between September and December.

On one hand, you might see big discounts on 2017 models because the 2018 edition instantly became more desirable. However, buyers should recognize the impact on resale value when you purchase a vehicle so late in the model year. Down the line, used car shoppers could consider your vehicle the same as one 10 months older. After all, they’re both from the same year.

According to Consumer Reports, you might be able to avoid those financial consequences if you plan to drive a new vehicle for several years. With that in mind, the nonprofit testing agency rounded up a few dozen models ranging from 5% to 20% off the 2017 MSRP. Here are 10 of the best cars Consumer Reports recommended with a discount of at least 10% ahead of 2018.

1. Kia Optima

2017 Kia Optima

2017 Kia Optima | Kia

With a road test score of 86 and stellar reliability ratings, Consumer Reports named the 2017 Kia Optima one of its 10 best. The midsize sedan, which got a full redesign for 2016, ranked second in its segment for ’17. As Kia dealers bring in very similar ’18 models, 2017’s Optima EX will feature discounts of 15% or more off the MSRP. That would get buyers leather seats, automatic climate control, heated steering wheel, and many other extras for less than $25,000.

2. Toyota RAV4

White RAV4 followed by blue RAV4 hybrid

2017 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Following a 2013 redesign, the Toyota RAV4 is far from dated. In fact, the 2017 edition got automatic emergency braking standard in every model for the first time. Combine that feature with RAV4’s top ratings for reliability, and you have potential for excellent deals on the outgoing model. Consumer Reports saw discounts of 10% for standard models and 15% for RAV4 Hybrid, which gets 31 mpg. For that fuel economy and the standard safety features, $28,283 looks like a bargain. 

3. Ford Expedition

2017 Ford Expedition front 3/4 running view

2017 Ford Expedition | Ford

In the case of Ford Expedition, a full redesign of the brawny SUV makes a purchase somewhat trickier. The ’17 model took heat from Consumer Reports testers for its cheap interior and excess road noise, but you might land one for over $9,000 (15%) off the base price. Considering how long buyers held on to the current-generation Expedition, that purchase could look very good five or 10 years from now. 

4. Toyota Camry

2017 Toyota Camry

2017 Toyota Camry | Toyota

Are you planning to buy a Camry for style or performance? If so, you might want to wait for 2018 model sliding into dealerships this fall. However, if you want Toyota’s midsize sedan for the usual reasons (i.e., reliability and practicality), then a ’17 LE model should work just fine. In fact, with 20% discounts seen around the country for the outgoing Camry, you might get a steal on this car in the coming months.

5. Chevrolet Corvette

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport | Chevrolet

Depreciation might hit some cars hard when you buy at the end of a model-year, but who buys a Corvette for just a few years? America’s supercar is a keeper for anyone who wants world-class performance at less than $60,000. And with ’17 discounts in circulation you might be able to score a ‘Vette for closer to $50,000. You won’t get 455 horsepower in such a slick package for less than that price.

6. Toyota Sequoia

2017 Toyota Sequoia

2017 Toyota Sequoia | Toyota

If you’re looking for a reliable all-wheel drive SUV that seats eight, you can do worse than a ’17 Toyota Sequoia. This model features discounts of 10% and presents less of a risk for consumers because there is only a refresh on the way for ’18. It doesn’t depreciate like other vehicles you’ll find on the road. In Kelley Blue Book’s look at resale value for the current model year, Sequoia ranked 10th among all SUVs.

7. Buick Regal

2017 Buick Regal

2017 Buick Regal | General Motors

Scoring first in any Consumer Reports segment is quite a feat, and Buick Regal did just that among compact luxury cars for 2017. As the redesigned model appears on dealer lots, buyers can pick up a model known for five-star reliability and solid performance for 15% off the original sticker. That formula will get Regal buyers in the door for just over $30,000.

8. Toyota Tundra

2017 Toyota Tundra

2017 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

It might not have the street cred of Chevy Silverado or Ford F-150, but the 2017 Toyota Tundra has all pickups beat for reliability and overall performance. Consumers looking for a crew cab model with four-wheel drive and a 5.7-liter V8 will see discounts of at least 10%. That could bring the capable, Texas-made Tundra close to $35,000 at the dealership.

9. Chevrolet Traverse

Front three quarter view of red Chevrolet Travese

2017 Chevrolet Traverse | Chevrolet

After years of struggling, Chevy finally delivered a Traverse that pleased buyers and posted strong reliability score. In fact, Consumer Reports ranked the ’17 model tops on its list of three-row SUVs last year. The automaker is launching a new model for 2018, so expect a few kinks to come with the redesign while expecting great deals on the outgoing model. At time of writing, we spotted discounts of 11% off an LS model with four-wheel drive, which left the price right around $30,000.

10. Hyundai Veloster

2017 Hyundai Veloster

2017 Hyundai Veloster | Hyundai

Dealers are not only discounting family sedans and SUVs ahead of 2018; they’re also dropping prices for budget cars like Hyundai Veloster. Consumer Reports spotted discounts of 15% and up for the manual version it rated No. 1 among two-door small cars. (Veloster actually has three doors, if you want to get technical.) Capable of 31 mpg or better, the dual-clutch six-speed model might run you less than $18,000 from a motivated dealer.