Buying a new car is a harrowing proposition. The high costs, the numerous choices, and the haggling at the dealership are all obstacles in the process. But if you think smart and plan well, you can come out relatively unscathed and get a great new vehicle. One of the best tactics to get a new car is to actually wait until the next year's totally redesigned models hit showrooms and then buy the current year's version for way less. Of course, this only works for buyers who don't have to have the latest and greatest.
Dealers will start filling their showrooms with the new 2020 models, knowing most buyers will aim to get the most recent model, but smart shoppers who want to save money can still get a great car with some of the latest technology and features. Here are some of the best 2019 models that are still worthy of consideration. The 2020 versions have been redone, but these 2019s should be at the top of your list.
2019 Toyota Highlander
The new Highlander is on its way this December for the 2020 model year, so you might have to wait a couple of months for the strongest negotiating position on the 2019. The current Highlander is definitely one of the best mid-sized crossovers out there with three rows of room, easy controls, and an easy driving experience.
The crossover gets an advanced safety tech package known as Toyota Safety Sense P that comes with Pre-Collision System with Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, and even Automatic High Beams. It's one of Toyota's best-selling vehicles for a reason, and it's one that will last you years thanks to Toyota's incredible reliability ratings. We recommend the SE trim that starts at $40,940 base MSRP (but we're sure you can get a solid deal with the 2019) and comes standard with the 291 hp V6 engine, leather, backup camera with guidelines, black trim pieces inside and out, five USB ports, and even a rear-seat Blu-ray Disc entertainment system.
2019 Kia Soul
We recently drove the 2020 Soul, and it's very good. But the 2019 holds its own as one of the best crossovers around thanks to a spritely engine, great handling, and more room than you'd expect. It actually straddles the crossover and hatchback segments better than just about anyone, but you have to be okay with the lack of all-wheel drive, even as an option.
The mid-level trim, known as the Soul Plus ($20,490 base MSRP) is your best bet. You get a 161-horsepower four-cylinder engine, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, 60/40-split folding rear seats, Bluetooth, a 5-inch touchscreen, a USB port, and a six-speaker sound system with a media player interface, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. You can also upgrade interior equipment with the Audio Package that includes a larger 8-inch screen, navigation, and a great Harman Kardon premium audio system. The Primo Package adds heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, leather, and even great safety measures like blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, lane departure warning, and even automatic emergency braking. You'll end up paying quite a bit less than the original asking price with the 2019 model, so get out there now.
2019 Hyundai Sonata
With the arrival of the new 2020 Sonata, the Korean sedan might just earn a higher position in the family sedan sales wars with its excellent technology and fresh design, but that doesn't mean you should look past the 2019 Sonata, which we really enjoyed driving. It's a sedan that never got enough credit, and just last year, it received a number of improvements in terms of style and driving dynamics. It also has an excellent interior in terms of layout and ergonomics, making it less distracting to drive and use the tech at the same time.
The 2019 Hyundai Sonata Limited ($32,100 base MSRP), is the best choice because the 245-hp turbocharged four-cylinder has the right amount of punch for the Korean sedan. It also gets updated steering and chassis that make it way more fun to drive than previous years even in the same generation. The Limited also comes with great standard features like Qi wireless charging, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beam assist, Dynamic Bending light headlights, and automatic emergency braking with brake assist. You'll save a ton by going with the 2019 model, too, and the power of negotiation is in your favor.
2019 Ford Explorer
The new 2020 Ford Explorer is totally redesigned and moves toward a rear-wheel drive biased platform, which will change the way the crossover drives, but the 2019 model is still a worthy consideration for those who want a mid-sized crossover with high style and great tech. This year's model is also handsomely styled and should still look great over the next several years thanks to an attractive mesh grille, a crisp body, and that slanted C-pillar.
The best version to go for is the Explorer Sport ($46,625 base MSRP) because it provides standard all-wheel drive, a more potent engine, and improved performance overall. The Sport engine comes in the form of a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 365 horses and 350 lb-ft of torque, and it also gets a firmer suspension setup, more responsive steering, and a standard towing package. You also get automatic headlights, a power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, navigation, and leather, all standard. Though the Sport is the top trim in the Explorer line, you can easily get it for far less than sticker price as a 2019 model.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Try to ignore the fact that the new mid-engined C8 Corvette has arrived. Sure, that's a bargain at $50K for exotic-car performance, but you can get some sweet deals on the C7 'Vette, which have been sitting on dealer lots for the past year. The 2019 Corvette retailed for $56,996 base MSRP but as of August, dealers were offering $9,000 off. We're guessing that discount has gotten even larger since the new C8 has emerged, and you can get a manual transmission in the 2019, unlike the 2020. Even more reason to pull the trigger now.
Even in base LT trim, the Corvette is a rocket, getting you to 60 mph in an astounding 3.7 seconds thanks to a 6.2-liter V8 engine with 455 horsepower. Upgrade to the ZR1, and the 'Vette will do that same sprint in under three seconds, which makes the 'Vette the best performance value, bar none. It comes standard with a driver-focused cockpit setup, heated leather seats, a backup camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, heated power side mirrors, an 8-inch touchscreen, Bose 10-speaker premium audio, and in-car 4G LTE Wi-FI. But most of all, you get one of the fastest cars on earth for next to nothing compared to the Italian and German exotics for what's likely somewhere in the $40-grand range. Wow.