SALES of new cars have hit the brakes for the past two months, the first market slowdown in just over half a year.
That means dealers are overstocked and in some cases ready to trim prices to new lows.
Most of the big brands have an “offers” section on their websites but distinguishing regular drive-away prices from genuine discounts isn’t always easy.
Here’s our pick of the best buys in the city and small car segments plus the SUV and ute categories. All prices are drive-away.
The Kia Picanto remains one of the cheapest and best-equipped cars in its class. The longstanding discounted $15,690 price for an auto is unchanged but there’s also a 2.7 per cent finance offer if you’re prepared to put down $2300 upfront.
Moving up in size, the Kia Rio auto is a good buy at $17,490 — the same price as the Toyota Yaris auto. However, the Kia has Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto and comes with a seven-year warranty versus the Toyota’s three years.
The good-looking Suzuki Swift GL Navigator can be had for $17,990, add $1000 for radar cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.
Fancy some European flair? The just-released VW Polo is $20,490 with auto and is almost as big as cars in the next class up.
Deals on SUVs are a bit harder to find because most are in demand. There are still big savings to be had, however.
Over Holden’s four-day sale the Trax hits a new low of just $22,990 with auto, $1000 less than its previous discounted price.
The Mazda CX-3 Neo with auto is $23,990, while the old faithful Mitsubishi ASX auto remains at its longstanding but still sharp $24,990.
The Hyundai Kona Active auto is finally closer to where it should be: $25,990 once a $1000 bonus is taken into account, also available with 1.1 per cent finance over four years if you can put down a 20 per cent deposit (about $5200).
Holden has sharpened the pencil on its just-released Equinox five-seat mid-size SUV with seven-year warranty and an extra $1000 off — to $30,990 with auto — over its sale period.
The Ford Escape Ambiente is worth a close look now that it has been discounted to $29,990 with auto, including a five-year warranty, built-in navigation and push-button start.
To add to your options, open a door on the Hyundai Tucson Trophy auto at $30,990 once a further $1000 discount has been applied. As with the Ford, the Hyundai comes with a five-year warranty but gains 18-inch alloys and leather appointed seats.
The Honda CR-V VTi front-drive isn’t the sharpest price at $33,590 but it comes with seven-year warranty and seven-year premium roadside assistance.
If you need a big seven-seat SUV, Toyota has slashed the Kluger V6 petrol — now with eight-speed auto — to new lows: $42,990 for a GX front-drive, $46,990 for a GX all-wheel drive, $52,990 for a GXL front-drive, and $56,990 for a GXL all-wheel drive. These prices are at least $6000 off full retail. Shop around for 2017-built examples and take another $2000 off.
The Nissan Pathfinder V6 petrol now starts from just $42,990 bundled with a 1 per cent finance offer. Pay $624.25 a month over 36 months with a 50 per cent balloon payment of $21,495. You can either refinance the balance or sell the Pathfinder after three years and hope it’s worth more than the payout figure.
Better still, shop around for a dealer who at the end of May got a $3000 discount bonus to take on a shipment of new Pathfinders, or who pocketed $2000 for every Pathfinder already in stock. This could trim the price to $39,990 if the dealer chooses to pass on the savings on relevant vehicles, without eating into the regular profit margin.
If you really want to get off the beaten track, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is good buying at $44,990. The Holden Trailblazer LT matches this price over the sale period once an additional $1000 is taken into account. Each has a five-year warranty.
Toyota has trimmed the price of its cheapest HiLux trayback — the petrol Workmate manual — by $1000 to just $22,990.
Prefer a diesel manual? Pay $26,990 for the Isuzu D-Max SX or Toyota HiLux Workmate, both with an aluminium tray.
The best buy if you want a no-frills double-cab 4WD ute remains the MitsubishiTriton GLX+ at $34,990 with auto.
The Triton GLS — with some frills — is $38,990 with auto.
Nissan is finally getting serious with the Navara. The ST double-cab auto can be had for $46,990 (or $47,490 with a 1 per cent finance offer with a 50 per cent balloon payment after three years).
The flagship ST-X auto with cloth seats and sunroof can be had for no more than $51,990 (or $52,290 with 1 per cent finance and a 50 per cent balloon payment after three years).
Want grunt? The Volkswagen Amarok TDV6 Sportline with full-time all-wheel drive is a steal at $52,990, though it’s the only dual-cab among its peers lacking rear airbag protection. Also available with 1.8 per cent finance up to four years.
There is no drive-away promo price listed for the top-selling HiLux SR5 double-cab but we’re reliably informed it’s possible to get a manual for its previous low price of $52,990, or $54,990 with auto.
Pay $1000 more for the truck and get $2000 worth of accessories.
The Ford Ranger XLT double-cab 4WD continues in run-out at its previous low price of $55,990 with auto and now permanent five-year warranty.
Prices — and jaws — are dropping as dealers try to clear stock in the wake of the buyer shift to SUVs.
The Holden Astra sedan and hatch were already among the best buys in the business at $19,990 with auto, but Holden is dropping this to $18,990 over its four-day sale (until June 16 in QLD, SA, WA, TAS and NT, and June 18 in NSW, VIC and ACT).
Holden is getting a head start on the June 30 countdown. As this extra discount is funded by Holden, not the dealer, don’t be surprised if the prices can’t be matched outside these dates.
Also good buying is the Hyundai i30 hatch. In most states there is a $500 bonus from Hyundai but NSW dealers have doubled that to $1000, so pay just $21,990 for the i30 Go auto and $23,990 for the i30 Active auto.
Better still, shop around and find any dealer nationally who pocketed an extra $1000 on top of that discount on the last day of May to declare a limited number of cars as sold. In theory, they can drop to $20,990 for an i30 Go auto and $22,990 for an i30 Active auto, both deadset bargains.
You can pick up the i30 Trophy edition (based on the i30 Go but adding alloys, a fancy grille and leather appointed seats) for $23,990 with auto.
Rarely is a just-released model on a best buys list but the Kia Cerato sedan at $21,490 with auto is one of the steals of the class — it’s loaded with equipment and undercuts most rivals on price. A run-out Cerato sedan or hatch is $19,990.
For European tastes, the recently updated VW Golf 110TSI auto is $26,490 with 1.8 per cent finance and a $9862 balloon payment after four years. Pay cash or arrange your own finance and you may get a dealer down to $25,500.