Car Buying

Buying a Car: Should You Buy a Car Right Before It's Redesigned?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2015

If you're interested in buying a car, you'll probably find yourself considering some models that are about to be redesigned. Although that can mean good deals as dealerships try to make room for the latest designs, it also means that your car might not offer the latest and greatest in terms of style or technology. So should you buy a car right before it's redesigned? We've listed a few benefits and drawbacks of doing so.

The Benefits

As you might expect, the primary benefit of buying a car right before it's redesigned is money. Specifically, you're likely to save a lot more money on the outgoing model than you would if you were buying a newly redesigned car or even a car in the middle of its model cycle.

The reason for this is that dealerships and automakers are often touting excellent deals and incentives on outgoing vehicles in order to make room for new stock. An automaker looking to clear out 2015 models before an all-new 2016 model is released, for instance, may offer 0 percent financing, extra cash back or other benefits they wouldn't usually make available.

Another benefit: The outgoing model you're considering uses a comfortable, familiar design that you've already grown accustomed to over the last few years. This is sometimes a departure from brand-new models, which can offer a completely different style that isn't as widely accepted as the current look.

The Drawbacks

Of course, there are also some drawbacks to buying a car right before it's redesigned. To us, the biggest is one is that you'll miss out on the latest technology and features offered by the new model. If the new model is the only one with high-tech gadgets, such as forward-collision alert or a lane-keep assist system, you won't get those items in the outgoing version.

Another drawback to buying the outgoing model: Your resale value probably won't be as good as it would be if you bought the next-generation version. In fact, while you're probably saving a lot of money up front by purchasing an outgoing model, you'll likely lose much of that money back if you trade it in quickly, as the outgoing model will likely be worth less on the used market than the all-new model.

Our Take

To us, the main benefit of buying a car when it's about to be redesigned is a financial one: You'll save a lot of money up front compared to the new model. But you may lose this money if you trade in or sell your car after only a few years, since the outgoing model's resale value likely won't be as high as the new version's. And you won't get all the latest technology or features.

As a result, we would only recommend buying an outgoing model if you plan on keeping it for a while -- at least 6 or 7 years. By owning it for a while, you'd diminish any major resale-value differences between the outgoing model and the new one. We'd also only recommend buying the outgoing model if you don't want the most cutting-edge technology and equipment.

But if you don't plan to keep the car for long and you want the latest features and gadgets, we suggest skipping the outgoing model and waiting for the redesigned version.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Buying a Car: Should You Buy a Car Right Before It's Redesigned? - Autotrader