By Randi Payton
Pent-up demand for new vehicles has many Americans looking for traditional end-of-summer discounts – however, they’re finding that end-of-summer deals are hard to find during the post-pandemic. Due to a shortage of semiconductor chips needed to produce new vehicles, many dealerships are short on supply. These higher prices aren’t slowing demand – many consumers are willing to pay higher costs for the car of their choice.
With low inventories at many dealerships, it will take some research to find traditional end-of-summer factory and dealer incentives this year. To avoid high dealer markups, try using a buying service, like Truecar.com, or if you’re a member of a credit union, visit your United Buying Service rep.
You can also search manufacturer and dealership websites for incentives or financing deals. I test-drove several 2021 models that you might want to put on your shopping list.
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
The all-new 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, which I had the pleasure to test-drive, is available with manufacturer incentives that include cash bonuses, military, student discounts, and 1.9% APR financing for up to 60 months.
The newly redesigned 2021 Santa Fe has a bold new exterior and interior design, as well as enhanced performance and safety features. In addition, this compact crossover SUV comes loaded with amenities typically found in more expensive vehicles but at an affordable price point. The new Santa Fe comes standard with all-wheel drive and quality interior material enhancements. Options include a push-button shifter, drive-assistance, 8.0-inch (or optional 10.3-inch) infotainment display, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
Models/Pricing: The Santa Fe comes in seven different trims: SE ($28,185), SEL ($29,985), Blue Hybrid ($34,835), SEL Premium Hybrid ($38,785), Limited ($39,935), Limited Hybrid ($41,135), and Calligraphy ($41,935).
Power: There are three powertrains to choose from: The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that generates 191 horsepower or an optional 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that gets 277 horsepower. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission with FWD or AWD. The new hybrid generates 226 horses from a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and an electric motor.
Fuel Economy: The non-turbo averages 25 mpg city/28 highway, while the turbocharged model has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg city/28 highway. The 2021 Santa Fe with the non-turbo four-cylinder performs to 25 mpg city and 28 highway.
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan has everything you need in a compact crossover SUV, including an optional third-row seat for children. There is still ample supply, so you can expect excellent end-of-summer deals, as dealerships need to make room for the newly refreshed 2022 Tiguan.
The 2022 model has been redesigned inside and out, with advanced performance and safety technologies, new wheels, a front grille, and newly available colors. In addition, the third-row seat, which folds down into the floor, will be available for the front-wheel-drive models.
Models and Pricing: S ($26,440), SE ($28,590), SE R-Line Black ($31,790), SEL ($33,740), SEL Premium R-Line ($40,290).
Power: The 2021 Tiguan, powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder, generates 184 horsepower. FWD is standard, and VW’s 4Motion AWD is optional.
Fuel Economy: Tiguan’s EPA rating for the FWD model is 23 city/ 29 mpg highway. AWD IS 21 city/27 highway for the AWD version.
2021 Kia Sorento
I enjoyed test-driving the new 2021 Kia Sorento, which is roomier than previous models, with a modern shape and feel. In addition, drive performance has significantly improved over the 2020 Sorento.
A hybrid model has also joined the line-up, and a plug-in hybrid is on the way. Like other manufacturers, Kia models have been affected by the chip shortage, but they say they’re managing to keep pace with demand.
Manufacturer incentives include cash bonuses, cashback, and military discounts. Special financing includes 1.9% and 4.25% APR for qualified customers. However, always check with your local dealer for availability and end-of-summer discounts.
Models/Pricing: The Sorento comes in eight different types, starting with the LX ($30,565), S ($33,065), S Hybrid ($34,765), EX ($36,165), EX Hybrid ($37,765), SX $39,165), SX Prestige ($41,765), and SX Prestige X-Line ($43,765).
Power: The base model Kia Sorento, powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, gets 191horsepower or an optional 2.5-liter turbocharged four with 281 horsepower. They are both paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2021 Sorento Hybrid combines a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that produces 227 horsepower. A plug-in hybrid will soon launch with a more powerful electric motor.
Fuel Economy: The 2.5-liter models average 24 city/29 highway mpg, according to EPA estimates. The turbocharged engine averages 22 city/29 highway, while the new hybrid is estimated to achieve 39 city/35 highway
2021 Mazda CX-30
The subcompact 2021 Mazda CX-30, now in its second year, has become one of Mazda’s top-selling models. An optional turbocharged 2.5 inline four-cylinder engine, which gets 250 horsepower, was added this year.
It’s eager to deliver on performance and boasts a quality interior for a model in its price range. Size-wise, the CX-30 is similarto the Mazda CX-3 SUV but with a more modern style and features.
The average rebate for Mazda models is about $1,300, and some models offer zero percent financing for 60 months. Other incentives include loyalty, charity, and military programs – check the local dealership or Truecar.com for additional discounts. Keep in mind that you might get a better dealer discount on a CX-3 or CX-5 than you will on the new CX-30 model.
Models/Pricing: The CX-30 comes in eight trim levels: Base ($23,225), 2.5 S ($23,225), Select ($25,225), Preferred ($27,625), Premium ($29,875), Turbo ($31,225), Turbo Premium ($33,625), Turbo Premium Plus ($35,225).
Power: The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 186 horsepower and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission in FWD or AWD. A turbocharged 2.5-liter engine is optional and delivers 250 horsepower with AWD.
Fuel Economy: EPA fuel economy for the CX-30 FWD is 25 city/33 highway mpg with a combined 28 combined. The AWD non-turbo averages a combined 26 with 24 city/31 highway mpg.
2021 Mazda CX-9
The 2021 Mazda CX-9, which received more driver assistance tech and power last year, is back with more features, including a larger display and a new Carbon Edition. The CX-9 looks sharp and is a joy to drive. The top-of-line Signature models include premium luxury materials, special paint, and loads of advanced technology features.
Models/Pricing: The 2021 Mazda CX-9 has five trim types and nine configurations: Sport ($34,160 MSRP), Touring (FWD $35,950 -$37,85AWD), Carbon Edition ($41,280 – $43,180), Grand Touring ($42,140 – $44,040), and top-of-line Signature, with i-Active AWD starting at $46,805 MSRP.
Power: The CX-9 has a choice between a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 227 horsepower or 250 horsepower. FWD is standard, and AWD is optional. All models are mated with a six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and auto-manual.
Fuel Economy: The FWD CX-9 averages 22 city/28 highway mpg, while AWD gets 20 city/26 highway mpg.