How to Get the Best Deal on a New Car

2015 Honda CR-V

The world where new car dealers compete for your business is a place only the savviest buyers know exists. With just a few clicks of your keyboard, you could be well on your way to having new car dealers deliver you their best deals before even setting foot on a lot.

After all, according to a Time.com article, 75 percent of new car buyers, if given the opportunity, would rather do the entire process online. Let’s help you accomplish that.

The absolute first step you must take is researching the exact vehicle you want. You’re not going to get the best price on a Honda CR-V, the car we’re going to use to highlight the shopping process. Sure, it’s an extremely popular car, but that doesn’t mean deals don’t exist. Go online and build your vehicle. That will make you realize the car you want’s starting price and how expensive options will be.

A 2015 Honda CR-V has an MSRP of $24,325, including the $880 dealer and delivery charge. That’s the LX trim, though, and it’s missing a lot of the features for which the CR-V is known, including Lane Watch, push-button start, and the 7-inch entertainment screen. You can find those on the EX trim level with front-wheel drive, with an MSRP of $26,425.

Then you need to click on the New Cars tab here at CarGurus to start your search. Select the specific make, model, year, and trim you want, and see instantly what dealers have in stock and what price they’re asking.

Compare that pricing info to what CarGurus research shows on the vehicle you are interested in buying. Let’s keep looking at the Honda CR-V in the EX trim level with front-wheel drive. Poke around the various dealerships to see who has the best price on the Honda CR-V.

Then, again using CarGurus, click the link to one of the dealers who has the car you want and fill in the “Contact Dealer” form. Click the “personalize message” link and indicate the specific price you’ve seen, including the stock number if you’re contacting the dealer with the best price.

Ask for the out-the-door price. Tell them not to factor in a trade-in and that you have arranged financing. That way they will know you’re serious about buying by price alone. You don’t want to know monthly payments (because you have arranged financing), and you can’t be swayed by an inflated trade-in price. The CarGurus Car Values tab can help you determine your current car’s market value.

Contact other dealers selling the Honda CR-V, and add the pricing info from the dealer with the best price in the “personalize message” section. Tell them which dealer offered that price and ask them to match it. What if no other dealer will match the first dealer’s price? It may not be a legitimate price. It could be artificially low to get you through the door. It could also come with conditions. Asking for the out-the-door price protects you against unscrupulous dealers.

Remember, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Use the manufacturer’s site to build and spec out the car you want as fully as possible. Negotiate fairly with the dealer after having done your homework, and you’ll get the best price possible.

-Keith Griffin

Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

Shopping for a new or used car this weekend?
Bring along CarGurus’ mobile app to help check prices, find good deals, and research cars on your smartphone.

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