If your automotive shopping list is headed up by a new compact car or compact SUV/Crossover, KBB.com research supported by its Fair Purchase Price (FPP) data indicates this is an excellent time to act. Both of these extremely competitive segments currently afford buyers the opportunity acquire a new 2013 model for only a slightly larger monthly payment than would be required to buy its 2012 counterpart based on a typical 5-year loan period. In some instances, the monthly difference based on FPP - the price people typically pay a dealer for a new car, based on actual new-car transactions and adjusted regularly as market conditions change - can be as low as $20, as it is in the case of a Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Those who find even a modest uptick in payments too taxing on their budget might want to consider sticking with a slightly-used 2012 Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra, either of which will trim monthly outlay by nearly $50 compared to a new 2013 example. 

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"Used compacts have been in high demand with fuel prices nearly $3.42 per gallon nationally, and values have held strong as a result," notes Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book. "A consumer looking to save at least $100 or more per month on a used vehicle in this segment would need to consider a model-year 2009 or older, which likely would have 50,000 miles or more on the odometer."

A similar situation exists with respect to buying a new compact SUV/Crossover model. There, the 2013 versus 2012 spread now averages about $40 but it can be as low as $20 in the case of a Chevrolet Equinox or Toyota RAV4 which are largely carryover models. However, it's a different matter in the case of the fully-redesigned-for-2013 Ford Escape, where the monthly bump increases to $60.

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 According to KBB.com's FPP data, buyers needing a slightly larger vehicle may be best served by considering a one- or two-year old mid-size sedan. Gutierrez says that, on average, consumers can expect to save nearly $100 per month by opting for a used 2012 instead of a brand-new 2012 or 2013 vehicle. "The gap between new and used pricing likely is driven by the extensive redesigns introduced for most of the best-selling mid-size models for 2013. The Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion all were redesigned for model-year 2013, and thus are generating a premium relative to their used previous-generation counterparts."


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