The Secrets to Your Lowest Possible Price on a New Car

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2015 Kia Soul Overview

Price Range: $15,100 to $20,700

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New/Notable:

Offering exceptional value and utility at a low price, the 2015 Kia Soul returns fresh off of a complete redesign last year.

Whenever we are asked for recommendations for affordable transportation (especially for young people), the Soul is one of the first cars we go to. It has a ton of standard features for a car in this class and its unique shape pays dividends when it comes to both cargo and passenger room; that high ceiling gives rear passengers great sightlines from the backseat, it doesn’t have the claustrophobia inducing feeling found in other sub-compacts in this price range.

Styling remains quirky after the redesign, which added a large trapezoidal front air intake, more curves on the bodywork, and a unique black trim piece that surrounds the rear glass and runs horizontal across the rear hatch. Personally, I like the look of the Soul, but I do realize that it isn’t for everyone. 16-inch steel wheels are standard, with 16-, 17-, and 18-inch alloy wheels optional. Also available are a panoramic sunroof, front fog lights, and LED daytime running lights.

The Soul is offered in three trim levels, Base, + (Plus), and ! (Exclaim). Base models get the Soul’s base engine, a 130-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder that is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. The Plus and Exclaim models both get a larger, more powerful 164-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is only offered with a six-speed automatic. An Eco package, which adds a stop/start system and low rolling resistance tires for added efficiency is available on Plus models. Base models get 24/30 mpg city/highway, while the Plus and Exclaim return 23/31 mpg (the Eco packages adds 1 city mpg).

Inside, the Soul’s cabin is pretty standard fare stylistically but offers plenty of space. Behind the rear seats you’ll find 24.2 cubic feet of cargo space and last year, the cargo opening was widened for easier loading/unloading, a helpful change. Standard features include Bluetooth (with audio streaming), power windows and locks, 60/40-split folding rear seat, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and air conditioning. The optional UVO eServices technology suite has been updated for 2015, adding Geo-fencing, speed and curfew alerts, and a Driving Score app for parents of young drivers. There is also a new Kia app store, which allows the download of supporting applications from both iTunes and Google Play. Also available are a navigation system, automatic climate control, HD radio, heated front and rear seats, and leather upholstery.

As of this writing, the 2015 Soul has not been crash tested but the 2014 version got a full five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, their highest score, and we expect the same results for the new version as well. Six airbags, antilock brakes, and an electronic stability system are standard, while a rearview camera is optional. The Soul is also backed by one of the best warranties in the business, with 10 year/100,000 mile coverage on its powertrain.

Secret 1: Consumer Incentives

Zero percent financing, employee discount, cash back, out-the-door price tags...

Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase.

How can you fully understand incentives to get the lowest possible price on your car?

Secret 2: Finance & Insurance

Most state franchise laws prohibit manufacturers from selling cars directly to the public, so the dealer will be your middleman. But in terms of financing and insurance, you can choose a bank or the dealer directly.

How can you determine what's in your best interest?

Secret 3: Additional Costs

Destination charges, taxes, license and title fees, advertising fees... When going to a dealership, you must ask for an explanation of any fee you don't understand. But you need to choose your battles wisely. Your local car dealer may have taken a loss or slim profit along the way, and your fighting over something like a doc fee when the deal is nearly wrapped up may be counterproductive.

In any case, there are many fees and charges in the sale process: some inevitable, others questionable.

How do you tell them apart?

Secret 4: Trade-in Value

If you currently own a car, it probably represents profit. The question is, whose profit will it be?

With few exceptions, you'll get the most money for your used car by selling it privately. That's because dealers pay wholesale prices — not retail prices — for used cars, and they sell them at retail.

Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership.

How can you maximize your value?

Secret 5: Dealer Holdback

The car manufacturer holds back a fraction of the price of all vehicles the dealership sells. Then, it returns the money to the dealership, usually on a quarterly basis.

Dealer holdback began its life as a safety net that ensured the manufacturers would have a security deposit of sorts if a dealership missed payments, and the dealerships would have money on hand to cover overhead costs when the holdback was returned.

How can you take advantage of dealer holdbacks to get the bottom line price?

Secret 6: Dealer Incentives

Unlike consumer incentives, dealer incentives are factory-to-dealer incentives that reduce the dealer's true cost to buy the vehicle from the factory to below invoice.

Manufacturers offer these incentives on a regional basis to generate sales on specific models. These incentives are sometimes referred to as "spiffs," and they can touch off competition among dealers to move slower-selling stock.

For instance, a dealer incentive may kick in when a certain sales target is reached, with each subsequent sale resulting in a higher factory-to-dealer rebate.

How can you benefit from that?

Get your free quote above and we'll tell you these secrets.
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