5 Ways to Get the Best Deals on 2014 Closeout Trucks & SUVs

Oct. 13, 2014 By Scott Shaffstall

5 Ways to Get the Best Deals on 2014 Closeouts

Do you need an extended-cab or a four-door truck? Will a short bed or a long bed work? Know what your capacity needs are before stepping foot on a lot. Photo: Adam Wood

4. Consider Capacity
This one may seem obvious, but itís worth reinforcing: what do you really plan to do with your new 4x4? Many off-road drivers typically go for overkill when buying their rig; who can blame them? But if youíre looking to save some coin, itís important to walk into the dealer knowing what youíre planning on towing, if anything. Typically, the tow ratings for a 4WD are less than the ratings of a 2WD, and automatics often have higher towing capacities than stick shifts. In other words, itís good to know beforehand if youíre planning on rock crawling or hauling a fifth wheel. For the traditional truck crowd questions to ask include whether youíre set on heavy duty or can settle with a light duty option, and whether or not you have enough people that like you to justify buying the full-size or crew cabs. If youíre hauling a couple of dirtbikes or ATVs out to the desert, an extended bed may be necessary. If youíre planning on keeping that thing empty, a short bed is not a bad call.

5. Know Your Numbers and Donít be Distracted by Dumb Ones
Walking into a dealer blind is never a good thing, so do your research.  One of the first and easiest steps is to visit Edmunds.com and check out the current new car rebates and incentives listed, or purchase a new vehicle price sheet. Truecar.com also offers at least a starting point for the typical price paid for the car youíre after. You should never pay sticker price unless you want to throw money away Ė in which case Iíll shoot you my PayPal address. Also donít focus strictly on dealer invoice price, which is typically marked up 2-3% to cover fleet costs and is almost always not the final cost dealers pay.

Fall offers a ton of different fine-print discounts that you can leverage, including dealer holdback, customer rebates and factory-to-dealer incentives. Customer rebates in the past few years have been particularly high for domestically manufactured SUVs, and thereís nothing wrong with supporting American industry. Rebates on popular foreign models Ė such as the Toyota 4Runner or Honda CR-V, likely wonít be as generous.

Factory-to-dealer incentives are especially important, as so many customers look them over. At this time of year, factories are more prone than ever to pay dealers to move last yearís inventory off the lot, and they pay dealers handsomely for it. Dealers arenít enthusiastic to tell you this, but if you come in with that knowledge itís something with which to negotiate.

CarMax suggests making them your first stop. You know why? Because most people will take the first offer they get and avoid the hassle of selling their car. We suggest making a stop at CarMax and spending the hour or so to get their offer, but donít take the offer that day. The price CarMax offers for your vehicle is good for seven days, so itíll give you either an option or a backup plan should you not get the price you want for a trade-in.

Regarding distractions: never, ever bring your trade-in to the dealership before youíve established the total cost of the vehicle. Doing so allows you to be distracted by the Ďkiller dealí the dealership will give you for your old BroncoÖ even if heís killing you on the price of that new Colorado. The same holds for low monthly payments. It might be nice to have more cash now to spend on a winch or LED bar, but youíll definitely pay for it in the end. Do a little research with your vehicle beforehand by checking Autotrader or Craigslist to see where vehicles like yours are priced on the open market. If you have the time, a trip to Carmax isnít a bad idea as a starting point either, as it will at least provide some insight into your vehicleís worth and provide a backup plan should the dealer low-ball you on a trade (Carmax will buy your car whether you purchase from them or not).

Keep these tips in mind and youíre guaranteed to get an awesome deal on a new off-road truck or SUV. Then all you have to do is go get it dirtyÖ and that partís free.

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