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Best End-of-Summer New-Car Deals

Consumer Reports logo Consumer Reports 9/14/2017

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As summer winds down, the airwaves are alive with promotions for model-year-end sales to clear the dealer lots of older cars and make way for all-new cars. This can be a time to get a great deal, though bear in mind these 2017s will be considered a year old in just weeks.

Our top 10 list of best end-of-summer new-car deals was created by focusing on the models with the greatest percentage of potential savings compared with their manufacturer suggested retail prices.

To make sure these cars represent smart buys, we concentrated on models that meet Consumer Reports’ stringent criteria to be recommended, meaning they scored well in our testing, have average or better reliability in our latest subscriber survey, and performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated.

What we found is a collection of vehicles that can be had from 13 to 20 percent below MSRP, with savings from $5,163 to $9,278, factoring in nationwide incentives and negotiation. The models listed below are ranked by percentage of potential savings, starting with the greatest.

These extreme savings come with trade-offs, though. It's the end of the model year, and any 2017 car purchased now will see accelerated first-year depreciation, especially those models being redesigned, such as the Buick Enclave, Buick Regal, Ford Expedition, and Toyota Camry.

That may not matter if you plan to hold on to the vehicle for several years, especially if you're a high-mileage driver. And while the all-new models may sound tempting with their myriad advanced features, their performance and reliability is unknown. Models are typically most reliable in their last year of production.

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Ford Expedition

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Ford Expedition EL Limited 4x4

10/2/17

$62,930

$60,152

$9,278

This imposing SUV's 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine delivers more power and better fuel economy than the V8 it replaced. Paired with the standard six-speed automatic transmission, our Expedition returned 14 mpg overall in testing, a 1-mpg improvement. The V6 also has plenty of torque for trailer towing. Regular- and long-wheelbase versions are available, as well as eight-passenger seating that includes legitimate third-row seating for adults. That's where the good news ends. The aging Expedition trails the competition because of its clumsy handling, noisy cabin, and low-rent interior. Fortunately, Sync 3 replaced the much-maligned MyFord Touch infotainment system. A redesign arrives in the fall.

Read the complete Ford Expedition road test.

Research the Ford Expedition on MSN Autos

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

10/2/17

$56,445

$52,564

$7,381

The sharp-edged Corvette has abundant power from its 455-hp, 6.2-liter V8 engine and an interior that's worthy of its price. A seven-speed manual transmission is standard, and an eight-speed automatic is available. Drivers with a thirst for more power can opt for the 650-hp Z06 version. The car's all-aluminum construction optimizes weight savings and strength. Whether in coupe or convertible form, acceleration is blisteringly quick and handling is pinpoint. With its adjustable driving modes, the car can be a fairly refined cruiser or track-ready race car. The seats deliver support and comfort. But you can't ignore the low-slung cabin, which requires almost acrobatic skills to access, the vague manual shifter, and the omnipresent tire noise. 

Read the complete Chevrolet Corvette Stingray road test.

Research the Chevrolet Corvette on MSN Autos

Buick Enclave

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Buick Enclave Leather AWD

10/2/17

$46,690

$44,402

$7,288

After almost a decade on the market, the large Enclave is set to be replaced by an all-new, more modern version that will go on sale in the fall. The outgoing model has a firm, comfortable ride and secure handling. The cabin is quiet, the interior is nicely finished, and the seats are accommodating. But the Enclave shows its age through some of the outdated controls and limited feature content. The 3.6-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission are smooth and unobtrusive, but the engine feels taxed and at times the powertrain has to work hard to move this large SUV. In CR testing, the Enclave returned a paltry 15 mpg overall. Adults can fit in the roomy third row, which is a plus. Forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning systems are available.

Read the complete Buick Enclave road test

Research the Buick Enclave on MSN Autos

Toyota Avalon

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Toyota Avalon Limited

10/2/17

$41,995

$37,886

$7,109

Spacious, quick, and quiet, the Avalon is an old-school big sedan updated for modern times. Power comes from a lively 268-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine, which delivers punchy performance and a commendable 24 mpg overall. The four-cylinder hybrid version delivers an outstanding 36 mpg overall. It has easy-to-use controls that include a straightforward touch-screen infotainment system. Interior noise is subdued. Avalons from 2013-15 had an overly stiff ride, but Toyota fixed that with improvements for 2016 without degrading the car's handling. Now the ride fits the car's mission as being a plush and comfortable cruiser. The 2017 Avalon brings standard advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking.

Read the complete Toyota Avalon road test

Research the Toyota Avalon on MSN Autos

Cadillac CT6

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Cadillac CT6 3.6L Luxury AWD

10/2/17

$61,690

$58,655

$7,035

Cadillac's new flagship is priced to compete with the luxury midsized crowd. This large sedan possesses some athletic chops and is lively to drive. The firm ride is steady, controlled, and compliant, and the interior is very quiet. The base engine is a turbo-four, but most buyers will opt for the midlevel nonturbo V6; the top trim carries a 404-hp twin-turbocharged V6. The eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive. All-wheel drive comes standard with the V6s. The interior is plush and roomy, but there's scant cabin storage. Front-seat comfort is superb, but the rear seat is a bit short on thigh support. Despite some improvements, the updated CUE infotainment system is still unintuitive to use. A plug-in hybrid version with an estimated 30 miles of electric-only range is also available.

Read the complete Cadillac CT6 road test

Research the Cadillac CT6 on MSN Autos

Cadillac XTS

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Cadillac XTS Premium Luxury

10/2/17

$57,090

$54,285

$6,805

This large sedan has a beautifully executed interior, perfect for limo duty. The XTS is roomy, luxurious, and quiet inside, with comfortable seats. It comes as either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. But the ride feels too ordinary for a luxury car, and its handling isn't sporty. The 3.6-liter V6 powertrain lacks finesse, mostly because of its coarse sound when prodded. Still, it ultimately performs well and returns a respectable 22 mpg overall. The unintuitive Cue infotainment system is frustrating to use, and the high rear deck impedes the view aft. A V-Sport version with a twin-turbo 3.6-liter engine gives the XTS V8-like power.

Read the complete Cadillac XTS road test

Research the Cadillac XTS on MSN Autos

Toyota Sequoia

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4WD

10/2/17

$58,870

$53,690

$6,180

The big, eight-passenger Sequoia has a strong and refined 5.7-liter V8 engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. That combination returned 15 mpg overall in our tests. Rear- and selectable full-time four-wheel drive are available. The ride is firm, and handling is clumsy but remains secure. The third-row seats fold flat into a well. It's a high step-in to get into the cabin, but once inside, passengers will find a very roomy interior. Blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning are available. Electronic connectivity includes Toyota's Entune touch-screen audio system.

Read the complete Toyota Sequoia road test

Research the Toyota Sequoia on MSN Autos

Toyota Camry

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Toyota Camry XLE

10/2/17

$27,205

$24,837

$5,368

Sure, it might seem vanilla, but the Camry truly delivers what shoppers want in a midsized sedan. The Camry's no-fuss driving experience—great outward visibility, controls that fall easily to hand, a roomy interior—may not be the most thrilling in its class, but it's far from its undeserved boring reputation. A quiet cabin, slick powertrains, a comfortable ride, and sound handling make it pleasant and capable. Year after year this sedan delivers outstanding reliability and solid owner satisfaction. The Camry acquitted itself well in crash tests, and fuel economy is competitive. We got 26 mpg overall with the V6 engine and 28 mpg with the four-cylinder, topping out with the Hybrid's 38 mpg. A redesigned 2018 model has arrived at dealerships.  

Read the complete Toyota Camry road test

Research the Toyota Camry on MSN Autos

Buick Regal

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Buick Regal Premium II FWD

10/2/17

$32,540

$31,275

$5,265

This well-honed and satisfying sports sedan has a European feel thanks to its Opel roots. It is the antithesis of the whitewall-tired Buick of old. With its agile handling, quick steering, and taut, steady ride, the Regal is one of Buick's best offerings. The 259-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine delivers strong performance and 24 mpg overall. High-quality materials are used throughout the cabin. The front seats are firm and supportive, though the rear seat is quite snug. The large trunk is a bonus. Infotainment system controls are mostly simple, and all-wheel drive is available on all trim lines. Overall, this is a highly capable yet understated car. The GS is a sportier version with a more taut suspension. A redesign that consists of a hatchback version and a raised AWD wagon arrives in the fall.

Read the complete Buick Regal road test

Research the Buick Regal on MSN Autos

Buick Encore

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MAKE & MODEL

INCENTIVES EXPIRE

MSRP

INVOICE PRICE

POTENTIAL SAVINGS OFF MSRP

2017 Buick Encore FWD Essence

10/2/17

$29,990

$28,827

$5,163

Derived from the small Chevrolet Sonic, this subcompact SUV feels relatively posh, with a well-finished, quiet cabin and a ride that's better than some bigger SUVs. On the downside, the little 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission deliver plodding acceleration and just fair fuel economy. The Encore's tidy size makes it easy to maneuver, and its handling is sound but unexceptional. The interior is narrow and cramped, and the swoopy styling intrudes on the view aft. A more powerful Sport Touring version is also available.

Read the complete Buick Encore road test

Research the Buick Encore on MSN Autos

Consumer Reports Build & Buy

When buying a car, in addition to research and reviews, Consumer Reports offers subscribers access to the Build & Buy Car Buying Service at no additional cost. Through this service, a nationwide network of about 13,000 participating dealers provide upfront pricing information and a certificate to receive guaranteed savings off MSRP (in most states). The pricing information and guaranteed savings includes eligible incentives. Consumer Reports subscribers have saved an average of $2,954 off MSRP with the Build & Buy Car Buying Service.

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2017, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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