Thinking of buying a new car this month? If you're shopping a few best-sellers, you might want to wait. Dealers have sold off most of last year's inventory — 2013s accounted for just 21.1 percent of Cars.com new-car inventory as of Tuesday, with 78.3 percent 2014 models — but a number of popular models are due for a redesign sometime this calendar year.
Coverage of the 2014 North American International Auto Show
KickingTires regulars likely know what's on the way. Of the cars not yet revealed, here are a few that could be worth keeping an eye out for in 2014:
- Small-car shoppers should note that Honda will debut a third generation of its Fit hatchback at next week's 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Like the well-executed first and second generations, the Fit should remain a utility champ. Honda promises more cargo room versus the current car, whose capacity already trumps that of some small SUVs, as well as improved performance. Despite its age, the Fit won Cars.com's $16,000 subcompact comparison and remains a perennial favorite. If any weakness exists, it's fuel economy, and Honda promises improvements on that front, too.
- Families might delay a sedan purchase until Hyundai unveils its redesigned Sonata. Despite a long list of 2014 updates that arrived early last fall, Sonata sales slid 11.7 percent in the 2013 calendar year as the bulk of competitors — the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Mazda6, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry — underwent full redesigns. But Hyundai promised in a Jan. 3 sales release that a "completely redesigned Sonata will arrive later in the spring." Stay tuned.
- Ditto that sentiment for the redesigned Chrysler 200, which Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said would arrive sometime this year. In January 2013, Marchionne said the next 200 would employ a nine-speed automatic transmission; dealers at a private unveiling in September 2012 likened its styling to the Dodge Dart.
- Don't expect Toyota to sit still. The Camry will receive "significant attention" in 2014, Toyota division general manager Bill Fay said at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. The current, seventh-generation Camry arrived in October 2011. It's too soon to expect a full redesign, but we could see a refresh on par with what the automaker delivered midway through the sixth generation. Toyota can check one to-do off its list. The automaker already improved crashworthiness in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new small-overlap frontal test starting with Camrys built in mid-December 2013.
- Looking for a bigger family hauler? The minivan field is competent, if whittled down from what it used to be, but Kia said it would launch a redesigned Sedona for the 2014 model year. That ship sailed, but the Sedona could still arrive in 2014 as a 2015 model. Spy shots suggest Kia's minivan program is still on track, and Kia's still-rising profits should keep the product pipeline intact.
- Finally, Ford's much-anticipated rollout of the 2015 F-150 is reason enough for truck shoppers to wait a week. Stay tuned as PickupTrucks.com editor Mark Williams dishes all the details at next week's auto show.
On the flip side, should green-car buyers await the next Nissan Altima Hybrid? Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn alluded to the hybrid version of Nissan's popular mainstay taking a more central role, but that was in January 2012. The fifth-gen Altima went on sale in July 2012, and 18 months later we have yet to see a hybrid. Don't hold your breath; we'll believe it when we see it.