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TheStreet Open House

10 Best 2012 Leftovers For Bargain Car Buyers

2012 Lexus HS 250h
MSRP: $36,330

To anyone who thought the financial crisis scared automakers into not just slapping a luxury badge and some leather on a low-end vehicle and calling it "premium," meet the HS 250h.

The HS 250h was one of the few hybrid sedans available when it was introduced in 2009, but buyers immediately sniffed it out as a Prius in better clothing. U.S. sales of the HS 250h dropped from nearly 11,000 in 2010 to fewer than 2,200 last year. This year, only 231 models have sold, including a whopping eight in September. Its replacement ES 300h has fared far better, so a Lexus dealer may be open to suggestion if you want to take an HS 250h of his or her hands.

2012 Ford (F) Mustang
MSRP: $22,310

There are a bunch of reasons to pass on the 2012 Mustang, but fans needed only two.

The first is the 2013 Mustang, which comes as a Shelby GT500 with a 5.8-liter supercharged V8 that produces 662-horsepower and is capable of speeds upward of 200 mph or a GT or V6 cut to look like the 2010-11 GT500 model. On the interior, an updated instrument cluster features a 4.2-inch LCD screen positioned between the speedometer and the tachometer with TrackApps that include a 0-60 acceleration timer, quarter-mile timer, 60-0 braking timer and a G-force monitor.

The second reason is the 2015 Mustang, which is less than two years away and slated to be a radical redesign of the current model. If you really can't wait or want a Mustang on the cheap, the 2012 GT's 5.0 liter V8 still gets 412 horsepower, while the V6 clocks an impressive 305-horsepower while getting 30 miles to the gallon on the highway.

2013 Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country
MSRP: $19,995

There is absolutely no noticeable difference between these minivans. None.

That's the biggest reason Chrysler's new Italian masters say only one will remain by the model year's end. Chrysler drove itself into bankruptcy thinking buyers wouldn't notice that two identical cars with different names and minor cosmetic changes weren't distinct vehicles. CEO Sergio Marchionne says those days are over and there's only room in his stable for one minivan with more than 83 cubic feet of cargo space with the third-row seats down, a Blu-ray/DVD system with second- and third-row screens and Available Web that turns it into a rolling hotspot.

2012 Honda (HMC) Accord
MSRP: $21,480

Even the most utilitarian midsize cars on the market need a makeover every so often.

Honda's goal was to make the Accord less of a Point A-to-Point B snooze fest by adding standard 8-inch LCD displays, single angle backup cameras, dual zone climate controls and alloy wheels to its 2013 model. Snazzy new options include a three-angle backup cam, enhanced safety sensors, LED running lights and adaptive cruise control.

That makes the leftover 2012s seem somewhat bland by comparison, but adequate space for a family of four and combined fuel economy of nearly 30 miles per gallon doesn't require many bells and whistles to sell.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
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