I thought I'd try your free services since I didn't want all the drama and stress of negotiating the price. It worked! It was so easy to save money and I love my new car!
Los Angeles, CA
Price Range (MSRP): $14,580 (Fiesta) to $48,145 (Expedition EL)
For 2016, Ford has made its SYNC 3 infotainment system available on most of its models. SYNC 3 has a new interface and new features to complement Ford’s next generation of voice-activated technology.
The smallest of Ford’s offerings is the diminutive Fiesta subcompact sedan and hatchback. The Fiesta also comes in ST trim (like the Focus), which offers plenty of driving fun in a small, five-door package. It features a 197-hp, 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and a six-speed manual. The Fiesta ST is our favorite performance bargain as well, starting at just $21,460.
The Focus is one of the more flexible vehicles in Ford’s lineup, coming in both sedan and hatchback varieties, as well as a Focus ST version of its own that serves as an older brother to the peppy Fiesta ST. Watch for the new Focus RS, which will probably debut as a 2017 model with more than 315 hp, AWD and a six-speed manual transmission.
The Fusion mid-size sedan continues into 2016 mostly unchanged, with a few new options packages available. The Fusion is also sold as a Fusion Hybrid which offers 42 combined mpg and the Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid with all-electric operation.
The stunning Mustang coupe and convertible were completely redesigned last year with a fully independent rear suspension (replacing the old live axle) and a sleeker design. Enthusiasts will rejoice at the introduction of the Shelby GT350 and GT350R with a powerful 5.2-liter eight-cylinder engine.
An emphasis on family friendly fuel economy spawned the development of the C-Max Hybrid hatchback, which offers comfortable seating for five, lots of cargo room, and excellent fuel economy of its own (47 combined mpg). There is also the C-Max Energi which gets larger batteries and offers 19 miles of electric range before the engine kicks in.
The Taurus, Ford’s full-size sedan, continues to offer family comfort with plenty of legroom and three engines to choose from.
Ford also offers an extensive lineup of SUVs, starting with the compact Escape, which offers plenty of technology, including a powered rear liftgate that can be opened by waving your foot beneath the rear bumper. It’s no wonder that this is one of the best-selling small SUVs in the country.
The five-seat Edge was redesigned last year and has been selling strongly, offering a good balance of sportiness and utility.
The uniquely styled Flex SUV looks like a big wagon and offers plenty of seating and cargo capacity. It adds a new Appearance package for 2016, with blacked out door handles, window sills, roof, liftgate trim, front grille and standard 20-inch rims.
Ford also offers several options for those looking to haul more than five passengers in the Explorer, Expedition, and the even larger Expedition EL. This year, the Explorer received a substantial makeover, and all-wheel drive is now available on all trims. Platinum trim offers a slew of luxury features, including massaging front seats.
The F-150 was extensively redesigned in 2015, with a change to an aluminum body instead of steel) which shaves up to 700 pounds on some models. Look for an all-new Raptor high-performance trim debuting later this year as a 2017 model.
The heavy duty F-250 and F-350 work trucks soldier on mostly unchanged for 2016 with XL, XLT and Lariat variants.
Rounding out the lineup is Transit family of work vans, which consists of the Transit Connect, Transit-150, Transit-250, and Transit-350.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?