Our car guy picks his faves of the new trucks and SUVs
Last month I took a look at some quality sedans on which you should be able to get a great deal this fall. The key is that right now, dealership lots are really filling up with 2016 models—but there are still plenty of unsold ’15s. If next year’s car is more or less identical to this year’s, there isn’t going to be a big issue with the two sharing lot space. But if the ’16 is all new or if the model is discontinued, then there are many reasons to move it along.
At this point, remaining 2015s have also started to sit around for a while. Unsold inventory, especially outdated unsold inventory, does nothing for the dealer and the longer it sits around, the more they want it gone. Just Googling the VIN will often tell you how long a dealer has had a car—and once it’s been around more than two or three months, it’s your time to strike.
2015 Dodge Journey
This is one crowded market segment and there are a lot of alternatives, but a couple of things make the Dodge Journey exceptionally cheap. The really, really big one, however, is that some of them might...um...burst into flames.
Starting August 26, Chrysler recalled 144,000 Journeys to remove a piece of plastic under the hood that likes to burn. Recalls are par for the course for Fiat Chrysler, but dealers have two other great reasons to get rid of Journeys. The model’s future is completely in doubt, with absolutely no news about a replacement, and it probably won’t get one. Yet there are thousands of them still sitting around.
The SE trim has a $23,495 MSRP but they are all over in the $14,000-$16,000 range. The downside to all this is it’s not a good car, but it holds plenty of stuff and is cheap.
2015 Nissan Xterra
I really love the Xterra. It’s just about the last of the old-school, body-on-frame SUVs and is genuinely capable offroad. But it’s dead: Nissan has stopped making them and is selling off existing Xterras, of which they have a large number. The only other alternative is the Toyota 4Runner, but where a rear-wheel drive Xterra is going to run you $22,000-$25,000, a 2015 4Runner starts at $30,000 (also a good deal).
Unlike any smaller SUV aside from the Toyota and Jeep Wrangler, the Xterra isn’t cushy. But also unlike them, it can tow up to 5,000 pounds, while seating five and carrying actual cargo. This thing will work and play for you for years, up to and including the zombie apocalypse, and I’d buy one today if I could.
2014 Volvo XC90
This is maybe the single best people carrier ever made, with details and features that will amaze you. It’s also old. Very old. So old that while there’s a completely new 2016 XC90, there wasn’t a 2015 at all. A remaining 2014 isn’t going to be easy to find, but they are out there, and any dealer with one has been sitting on it for close to a year at least.
The other nice thing is that the 2016 starts at $51,000, while the 2014 started at $41,000 and no one is going to want to have that car around reminding people of how much more they’re paying.
2015 Toyota Tacoma
Light trucks aren’t what they once were. Not only did we used to have unkillable Japanese pickups from Toyota, Nissan and even Mazda, but there were Ford Rangers and Chevy S10s, too. The last of those holdouts was the Ranger, which exited in 2011. The closest today is probably the outgoing 2015 Toyota Tacoma, and even with a redesigned 2016 on the way, the 2015s aren’t cheap...yet.
Right now you’re looking a minimum of $19,000 for a base, 2.7-liter rear-wheel drive truck, but they are just starting to fall in price. Once the 2016s arrive in quantity, great deals should be available.
2014 Ford F150
WIth only five makes of truck—Ford, Ram, Chevrolet/GMC, Toyota and Nissan—deals will always be hard to find. Ford didn’t really blow out 2014 F150s when a new all-aluminum body 2015 came out, but two years later it’s a different story. There are literally still thousands of brand-new 2014 F150s in inventory, and there are some huge discounts now.
The cheapest are essentially unsold fleet trucks, in white with black vinyl interiors, although they come in a variety of trim levels. You could see $10,000 or more under MSRP on one of these, as I’ve found some that have been for sale for almost two years!
Happy hunting, everyone.
David Traver Adolphus is a freelance automotive researcher who recently quit his full time job writing about old cars to pursue his lifelong dream of writing about old AND new cars. He welcomes the inevitable and probably richly deserved kvetching about Airbag and anything else on Twitter as @proscriptus.