Should You Buy a 2018 Car or a New 2019 Model?

As we approach the end of the year, next years’ models are already starting to make a buzz within the auto enthusiast community. With lots of talk of the next big thing that 2019 brings to the table, consumers looking for a new-car experience are currently at a crossroads: do you opt for the absolute latest model and wait for a 2019 car, or do you browse what’s available among this year’s models?

Although new 2019 cars and trucks can seem like a smart bet if you like having the latest & greatest, the truth is that may not always be the case.

This point in the year, they’re often going to be harder to find and be less affordable. In many cases, buying or leasing a 2019 may offer no major advantages when it comes to features and technology.

As dealerships prepare to take on the 2019 load, they will need to clear their lots to make way for the next incoming wave of inventory. It may very well be a great time for car shoppers to get in on some great amazing deals for new 2018 cars. So how do you decide which way to go?

2019 cars are almost guaranteed to be better

We’ve got some exciting new options coming our way in 2019, from new models of old favorites to brand-spanking new releases. Innovative features like Sync 3 infotainment system, automated parking systems that will even Parallel Park for you, and robust, booming sound systems are an across-the-board guarantee in any 2019 vehicle you may investigate.

The latest new technology also guarantees better safety standards and features in a 2019 car, ensuring the peace of mind that older cars just can’t compete with.

But 2018 cars are still also new vehicles, still loaded with options, and more likely to bear an affordable price tag

We’re still in 2018 — those cars are still new cars — and they still carry most of the major features that a 2019 car would, with the added benefit of being very likely to go on sale as the year approach its end.

So really, it comes down to which is more important to you: is it more important to gain access to the novelty of the latest features, or more important to get the best bang for your buck for your new vehicle? Ultimately that determines whether you should get a 2018 or 2019 vehicle.

Harder To Find

Depending on which vehicle you’re considering, selection may be limited.

For example, the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek may be officially on sale, but odds are you’ll find 2018 Crosstreks on ground at your local dealer.

The same goes for the 2019 Ford Mustang. Cars are only just starting to arrive at dealers, which means you’re far more likely to find a 2018 Mustang in stock.

If you’re considering a luxury brand, it’s worth knowing that companies like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz often begin advertising their latest vehicles early so that they can begin taking factory orders.

As a result, you may end up in a situation where you have to wait 2-3 months simply for the car to arrive. We recommend checking with your local dealer to confirm availability even if you see cars listed online.

For other brands, online listings with language like “in transit” could indicate that the car you want is on a trailer or train somewhere. Always be sure to check before heading to your local dealer.

Less Affordable

Factory discounts can differ substantially between 2018 and 2019 models.

For example, the 2019 Chevy Equinox features no standard incentives of any sort at the moment. In contrast, the 2018 Equinox is eligible for over $6,000 off MSRP as part of an 18% off MSRP promotion.

Similarly, the 2018 Acura RDX is eligible for up to $3,600 in lease discounts. The only offer worth mentioning on the redesigned 2019 RDX is a $1,000 conquest bonus you can only get when coming from an Audi Q5 or Lexus RX.

The effective lease cost of the 2018 RDX is $124 (per month!) less when comparing offers for the base 4×2 model ($368 vs. $492). This month’s deal is $299 for 36 months with $2,499 at signing, one of the best leases on a luxury SUV.

Sure, cars like the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata may offer a boost in performance over last year, but you could be missing out on as much as $4,000 in incentives plus low-interest financing for the privilege.