NEWS

What’s the Best New-Car Deal for December 2022?

202212-december-deals December new-car deals | Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan

As the second year of the incessant inventory shortage draws to a close, some new-car shoppers may be feeling far from festive. Reduced new-car incentives and tight inventory can be likened to receiving a lump of coal in place of the excitement that normally accompanies car shopping. Yet despite the challenges, there are several reasons to remain hopeful this season: New-vehicle inventory is finally showing signs of improvement; fewer cars are selling above sticker price; and the foursome of vehicles featured below come bearing gifts in the form of generous cash and financing deals in December.

Related: Inventory Shortage Update: Should You Wait to Buy a Car?

According to J.D. Power, vehicle production is starting to ramp up after months of pandemic-related disruptions. Available inventory surpassed 1 million units for the second month in a row, while new vehicles are spending more time on dealer lots. Some 49% of new cars were sold within 10 days of arriving at a dealership in November, down from 57% in March. On average, a new vehicle now spends 21 days at the dealership — three days longer than the same time a year previously. Another promising sign is that markups pushing a vehicle’s price above MSRP are beginning to taper off: J.D. Power estimates that around 41% of new vehicles were sold above MSRP in November, down from 50% in July.

Even as inventory improves, however, shoppers shouldn’t expect a miracle since incentives are still hard to come by. The average incentive per vehicle in November was estimated at $1,009, or just 2.2% of MSRP — that’s down 1.3 percentage points compared to the same time in 2021. Meanwhile, interest rates for a new-car loan continue to climb, reaching an estimated 6.37%.

The four highlighted vehicles bring above-average cash incentives and financing deals to infuse some holiday cheer back into the year-end car-shopping experience. While modest discounts can be found on select 2023 models, which we’ve noted, shoppers will find the best incentives when they opt for 2022 variants of the following vehicles:

2022 Chevrolet Equinox

chevrolet-equinox-rs-2021-02-angle--exterior--front--red.jpg 2022 Chevrolet Equinox | Manufacturer image
  • Factory discount: $1,500
  • Approximate price after savings: $26,000-$43,000
  • Approximate factory savings: 3%-5%
  • Offer ends: Jan.  3, 2023

The average incentive on SUVs and pickup trucks was estimated at $1,024 for November, but the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox exceeds that to bring $1,500 off its four available trims: LS, LT, the recently added RS and range-topping Premium in all regions we surveyed. Lesser cash back can be had on the ‘23 Equinox, which nets $500 off in all regions we surveyed. In place of the cash-only deal, qualified shoppers who finance with Chevy parent automaker GM can get a special rate of 3.99% for 60 months with $500 in bonus cash. All deals are available through Jan. 3.

Shop the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox near you

New
2022 Chevrolet Equinox Premier
$37,200
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments
New
2022 Chevrolet Equinox LS
$24,468 MSRP $27,655
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments

2022 Chevrolet Malibu

chevrolet-malibu-2021-exterior-front-three-quarter-oem 2021 Chevrolet Malibu | Manufacturer image
  • Factory discount: $1,000
  • Approximate price after savings: $23,500-$38,000
  • Approximate factory savings: 3%-4%
  • Offer ends: Jan. 3, 2023

Like many Black Friday deals that tend to linger through year’s end, the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu’s $1,000 cash incentive has been extended through December. The savings applies to the Malibu’s LS, RS, LT and Premium trims across all surveyed regions, and while the dollar amount might not appear earth-shattering at first glance, the sedan’s relatively affordable starting price means the percentage off MSRP ranks above average. And as with the Equinox, $500 cash back can be found on the 2023 variant should you be interested in the newer model year. Shoppers who finance with GM can take advantage of a special 4.99% rate for 60 months with $500 in bonus cash in lieu of the cash-only deal. The cash and finance offers are available through Jan. 3.

Shop the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu near you

New
2022 Chevrolet Malibu Premier
$33,595 MSRP $34,595
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments
New
2022 Chevrolet Malibu 1LS
$22,911 $1,250 price drop

2022 Dodge Durango

Dodge-Durango-Citadel-2021-oem2.jpg 2021 Dodge Durango Citadel | Manufacturer image
  • Factory discount: $1,500-$5,000
  • Approximate price after savings: $35,000-$87,000
  • Approximate factory savings: 2%-12%
  • Offer ends: Jan. 3, 2023

The 2022 Dodge Durango is versatile enough to take on a family road trip or a day at the track with its three-row seating configuration and up to 475 horsepower courtesy of the performance-oriented SRT 392. To make those aspirations more attainable, the Durango brings cash discounts ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 across its eight available models: SXT, GT, GT Plus, R/T, Citadel, R/T Hemi Orange, R/T Plus and SRT 392. Qualified shoppers who finance with Dodge parent Stellantis can swap the cash-only deals for a special rate of 7.26% for 60 months with up to $5,250 in bonus cash, region depending. All cash and finance offers run through Jan. 3.

Shop the 2022 Dodge Durango near you

New
2022 Dodge Durango R/T
$57,675 MSRP $62,175
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments
New
2022 Dodge Durango R/T
$58,175 MSRP $62,175

$500 price drop

Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments

Editor’s Choice: 2022 Ram 1500 Big Horn/Lone Star

ram-1500-back-country-2022-oem.jpg 2022 Ram 1500 BackCountry | Manufacturer image
  • Factory discount: $1,000-$5,800
  • Approximate price after savings: $41,000-$74,500
  • Approximate factory savings: 1%-12%
  • Offer ends: Jan. 3, 2023

A favorite Editor’s Choice in recent years, the Ram 1500, finishes the year with region-dependent savings ranging from $1,000 to as much as $5,800 on its Big Horn and Texas-exclusive Lone Star trims. Luckily, the odds of finding the discounted variants are in your favor: Together, the Big Horn and Lone Star make up approximately 62% of all 2022 Ram 1500 models among Cars.com dealers as of November. In place of the cash-exclusive deals, several special financing offers are available to shoppers who finance with Ram parent Stellantis: The offers are dependent on trim and region, but we most commonly saw 1.9% for 36 months with up to $6,550 in bonus cash, or 3.9% for 60 months with up to $6,550 in bonus cash in the regions we surveyed. Like all preceding deals, these discounts run through Jan. 3.

Shop the 2022 Ram 1500 near you

New
2022 RAM 1500 Rebel
$58,434 MSRP $63,505
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments
New
2022 RAM 1500 Big Horn
$50,400 MSRP $55,385
Home Delivery
Virtual Appointments

How We Look for Deals

To help car shoppers find the best deals for December, we lead with cash offers available to shoppers at large, not those that require financing with the automaker or having certain qualifications (e.g., military or college-graduate discounts, loyalty or conquest bonuses, etc.). In calculating the overall percentage discount and pricing after incentives, we focus on the vehicle’s price range from the cheapest incentives-eligible trim level with no factory options to the priciest eligible trim with all factory options. We include the destination charge in such pricing, but we exclude a few other items: taxes and fees, which vary considerably by region, and dealer accessories, which vary considerably by automaker.

Because these are factory discounts, they should be available to all participating dealers. As such, use them as the starting point for negotiations, not a reason to skip haggling altogether.

Incentives data come from automakers’ websites. Remember, our numbers are current as of publication for the markets we survey (generally Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and New York). They reflect advertised customer discounts, not unadvertised factory-to-dealer cash. Discount financing typically requires qualifying credit, too, and incentives may vary by region and trim level; automakers may also change them later in the month. In sum: Your discounts may vary, so check with your local dealer for specifics.

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