Frugal Shopper: Best Local Prices Could Broaden Your Horizon

September 3, 2010
2010 Ford Ranger

2010 Ford Ranger

If you're heading out to do some new-car shopping this weekend but not entirely comfortable with what comes after the test drive, you're not alone. It's easy to get overwhelmed, especially in the negotiation stage. Exactly how much of a discount, in light of all the incentives, should you be asking for? And if you take your negotiating skills elsewhere, will you be able to do better?

Our pricing partner TrueCar, which has already been the best source from which to find out how much you should pay, has some new features that make shopping even easier. It's a feature we haven't ever seen before: Enter your zip code, then constrain your search by body style, model year, and price range, or by brand, and TrueCar will let you shop vehicles by Best Local Price—that's the lowest price a local dealership has committed to.

The search reveals some great deals. For instance if you're in the Los Angeles area and have just $15,000 budget for a new pickup, while no MSRPs meet that maximum, there's still hope: According to TrueCar, there you could get into a 2010 Ford Ranger XL for just $13,440 (a 28-percent discount, or $5,100 off the sticker price), or a base 2010 Toyota Tacoma for $14,634 (more than $1,500 off sticker) to spend on a brand-new pickup, while no MSRPs.

Or say you're in the Chicago area and you'd really like to get a new or late-model sport sedan, but a $30,000 top end looks like it might keep you from going new, think again, as you could get a new 2010 Acura TSX for $27,569 ($2,601 less than sticker). You can then actually follow through and contact the dealer who offers that price (and has agreed to hold to it).

It's an entirely new twist on the idea of no-fuss, no-negotiation pricing, and once you've browsed through our new-car reviews, specs, and related news, you shouldn't forget to head over to TrueCar.

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