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What’s the Best New-Car Deal for December 2021?

december-deals December new car deals | Cars.com graphic by Paul Dolan

The weather outside may not have turned frightful quite yet, but try telling that to car shoppers on the hunt for a new vehicle. The stubborn inventory shortage has stirred up a perfect storm of high demand, rising car prices and dwindling incentives; as a result, some shoppers may be questioning if they should venture out to look for a vehicle or wait out the storm instead. Unfortunately, “waiting it out” could mean through late 2022 as that’s how long industry experts predict the inventory shortage may last.

Related: Car Shoppers Face Shorter Supply, Rising Prices

The trepidation is certainly justified. According to J.D. Power’s latest report, the estimated average transaction price for new vehicles in November is up to $44,043. On the bright side, that’s slightly down from October’s record high of $44,417, but it’s an 18% jump from November 2020. Low manufacturer incentives are partially to blame: The average incentive is estimated at $1,612 or a record low of 3.6% off MSRP.

Incentives for SUVs and pickup trucks, which comprised a record 81% of all new-vehicle sales in November, offer higher average incentives than cars: $1,640 and $1,497, respectively. It’s consequently no surprise that each of our featured deals for December are pickup trucks and SUVs. But in addition to researching the best deals, shoppers can set themselves up for success by moving fast when they find the right ride. According to J.D. Power, most vehicles aren’t hanging out on dealer lots for long: Nearly 55% of vehicles are sold within just 10 days of their arrival. Shoppers who have a car to trade in may find relief if they put the trade-in value toward a new-car purchase. With demand for used cars up, the average trade-in value is an estimated $9,549 — a staggering 83% increase from the same time a year prior.

So, which vehicles offer the best opportunity to save? Read on to find out.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Cars.com photo by Mike Hanley
  • Factory discount: $1,500
  • Approximate price after savings: $34,000-$73,000
  • Approximate factory savings: 2%-4%
  • Offer ends: Jan. 3, 2022

With an updated 2022 Silverado arriving next year, Chevrolet is offering truck shoppers a sizable discount on crew-cab examples of the outgoing 2021 pickup. If the 2022 Silverado’s new interior and tech features, like Super Cruise hands-free driving, aren’t must-haves (or waiting on them is not an option), shoppers can take advantage of the current model’s positive qualities: a plethora of engine options, smooth ride and brawny towing capacity. The 2021 model year — which comprised 46% new Silverado 1500 inventory at Cars.com dealers in November — has a factory discount of $1,500 across all crew-cab trims. Qualified shoppers who finance with parent GM can forgo the above offer in favor of a 0% financing rate for 36 months and $500 in bonus cash. Both deals are available through Jan. 3.

Shop the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 near you

Used
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country
13,508 mi.
$64,981
Good Deal
Chevrolet Certified
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country
15,698 mi.
$59,558 $400 price drop
Good Deal
CPO Warrantied
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments

2021 Ford Escape

2021 Ford Escape 2021 Ford Escape | Manufacturer image
  • Factory discount: $1,000
  • Approximate price after savings: $26,000-$43,500
  • Approximate factory savings: 2%-4%
  • Offer ends: Jan. 3, 2022

After a redesign for 2020, the Ford Escape gained a peppy turbocharged four-cylinder engine and standard safety features like a blind spot warning system, lane departure warning with steering assist and automatic emergency braking. It also saw a styling overhaul and now bears a resemblance to the Porsche Macan — minus the luxury sticker price. With Ford’s $1,000 discount on all 2021 Escape models including the hybrid and plug-in hybrid in most markets we surveyed, shoppers can save even more on the Macan’s doppelganger. The 2022 Ford Escape is currently on sale, but 2021 models still make up 81% of new Cars.com inventory as of this writing. In lieu of cash offers, shoppers who finance via Ford can choose a 3.9% rate for 84 months or 0% for 60 months with an additional $1,000 off in some markets we observed. All financing and cash offers are valid through Jan. 3.

Shop the 2021 Ford Escape near you

Used
2021 Ford Escape SEL
11,709 mi.
$33,000
Good Deal
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments
Used
2021 Ford Escape SE
12,355 mi.
$29,990 $500 price drop
Good Deal

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee | Manufacturer image
  • Factory discount: $1,900
  • Approximate price after savings: $35,000-$59,000
  • Approximate factory savings: 3%-5%
  • Offer ends: Jan. 3, 2022

An all-new 2022 Grand Cherokee is on its way, but families looking for an SUV that can accommodate a wide range of lifestyles before year’s end can snag a 2021 model with a bountiful discount of $1,900 in most areas we surveyed; 2021 models comprise nearly all new Cars.com inventory as of this writing. The deal is available across most models, from the premium Limited X to the rugged Trailhawk; the track-ready SRT and its 475-horsepower V-8 is excluded from the above deals, however. Financing through Jeep parent Stellantis means shoppers can skip the aforementioned cash deal and take advantage of financing at 0% for 72 months or 0% for 48 months with up to $1,650 bonus cash in most markets we observed. Offers are on the table through Jan. 3.

Shop the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee near you

Used
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
6,634 mi.
$117,240
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments
Used
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo X
17,012 mi.
$40,999
Good Deal
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments

Editor’s Choice: 2022 Ram 1500 Big Horn/Lone Star

ram-1500-back-country-2022-oem.jpg 2022 Ram 1500 BackCountry | Manufacturer image
  • Factory discount: $1,250-$3,750
  • Approximate price after savings: $39,500-$68,500
  • Approximate factory savings: 2%-9%
  • Offer ends: Jan. 3, 2022

This isn’t the Ram 1500’s first rodeo as Editor’s Choice, but December marks the first month we’ve seen with available discounts on the refreshed 2022 Ram 1500. The 1500 Big Horn and Texas-exclusive Lone Star trims come with savings between $1,250 and $3,750 depending on the region, plus several notable updates for the new model year. The Big Horn and Lone Star trims see a newly available off-road-themed BackCountry Package for Hemi-equipped variants, and the latest Uconnect 5 multimedia system with better Apple CarPlay usability comes standard. Of all new Ram 1500 inventory on Cars.com at the time of this writing, 2022 models comprise the majority — approximately 79%. Shoppers who finance with Ram parent Stellantis can bypass the above discounts in exchange for a 0% rate for 48 months with up to $2,500 in bonus cash or 0% for 72 months and no payments for 90 days in select regions. Both offers are available through Jan. 3.

Shop the 2022 Ram 1500 near you

Used
2022 RAM 1500 Big Horn
249 mi.
$45,498 $496 price drop
Good Deal
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments
Used
2022 RAM 1500 TRX
5,345 mi.
$101,995
Great Deal | $3,379 under
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments

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How We Look for Deals

To help car shoppers find the best deals for December, we lead with cash offers available to shoppers at large, not those that require financing with the automaker or having certain qualifications (e.g., military or college-graduate discounts, loyalty or conquest bonuses, etc.). In calculating the overall percentage discount and pricing after incentives, we focus on the vehicle’s price range from the cheapest incentives-eligible trim level with no factory options to the priciest eligible trim with all factory options. We include the destination charge in such pricing, but we exclude a few other items: taxes and fees, which vary considerably by region, and dealer accessories, which vary considerably by automaker.

Because these are factory discounts, they should be available to all participating dealers. As such, use them as the starting point for negotiations, not a reason to skip haggling altogether.

Incentives data come from automakers’ websites, while days-to-turn data come from Cars.com inventory. Remember, our numbers are current as of publication for the markets we survey (generally Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and New York). They reflect advertised customer discounts, not unadvertised factory-to-dealer cash. Discount financing typically requires qualifying credit, too, and incentives may vary by region and trim level; automakers may also change them later in the month. In sum: Your discounts may vary, so check with your local dealer for specifics.

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Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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