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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013

Hot deals on new and used cars



By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


With the average cost of cars right around $32,000, is it possible to buy one for less? You betcha!

Car buyers keep pushing the price of cars up and up and they keep taking out longer and longer car loans. I read a recent report about some loans stretching out to 8 years now! There's a danger of being upside down on a car (owing more than it's worth) anytime you have a loan longer than 42 months.

Why not just spend less on a car in the first place?

Consumer Reports has a list of cheap new cars for under $25,000 and a separate list of cheap used cars for under $10,000 to as much as $15,000. (The used cars are generally model years 2008, 2009, and a small smattering of 2010s).

Nobody is forcing you to get a new car for $32,000 with every option added on to drive up that price. If you do want every last feature, but don’t want to spend $32,000, there's great opportunity to buy a used luxury car that's about three years old.

Any mid-priced car will come today in about four versions. You can get a new 2013 Toyota Camry 2013 for $18,000 with a decent amount of equipment. Or you can buy one for the low 30s. Would you rather have money in your pocket or a fancier ride? The choice is yours.

Finally, a few makes and models are so hot right now that you're almost certain to not see deals on them. They include any Subaru, the Honda Odyssey minivan, the Toyota Carolla, and the Chevy Impala.

Some dealers will try to reach volume targets to increase their profit margins. So they don't mind having some volume customers that they don't make much margin on them. If you must buy a car right now, doing your shopping the Clark Smart way makes a difference.