2010 models can be a bargain

FRESNO, Calif.

This time of year, dealers are pushing 2010 vehicles. And consumer reports says some top-performing vehicles, like the Mazda 5 minivan, can be a great bargain.

"Right now you can save about 13 percent on a 2010 versus a 2011," Bob Chien said.

Consumer reports says besides a lower price, there are other advantages to getting a "leftover" 2010 car.

"Consumer Reports' surveys show that models that have been on sale for a year or more tend to have fewer problems than brand new cars or vehicles that have just had a major redesign," John Linkov said.

In fact, you may need fewer repairs getting the last year of a model's design. Those vehicles are usually the most reliable. Consumer reports says that's one reason why the 2010 Honda Odyssey is a good get.

"It's in its sixth year of production, which means Honda's had a lot of time to get the kinks worked out. The Odyssey rates very good in reliability and it's one of our favorite minivans," Linkov said.

But there are advantages to buying a 2011 car. For one, it doesn't depreciate as fast.

"If you trade in your car every couple of years, you're better off getting the new 2011 model because it will likely be worth more money at resale," Linkov said.

Other advantages to getting a 2011 car - you tend to get better gas mileage and the latest safety features with newer models.

Take the Hyundai Sonata.

"The 2011 Sonata is a huge improvement. It drives better, it's more fuel efficient, and it scored top marks for safety in crash tests," Linkov said.

So before you head to the dealership, do some research so you get the best deal.

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