PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Nobody buys anything at this time of year, and cars are no exception.
Retail slumps, movie attendance swoons, overall spending goes right in the tank and there aren't enough 2013 model vehicles left to warrant huge deals to make space for the 2014 models. If you see a 2013, take it, but otherwise more than 60% of the lot is made up of 2014 vehicles.
Besides, most automakers' sales are still heading in the right direction. More than 15.6 million cars were sold in the U.S. last year, a 7.6% uptick from 2012. There are some folks who just spent $8 million a pop on 60-second Super Bowl ads who'd like to bump those numbers up a bit more or reverse embarrassing, anomalous setbacks, and that's where the winter sales come in.
If snow has fallen around your nearest car lot recently, there's a strong chance your local dealers are hoping some folks will brave the weather to come out and give them a hand clearing the lot. They're willing to make some deals and won't wait until Presidents Day to do so. With help from car pricing site TrueCar, we've found five models being deeply discounted. If you can stand the cold and elements, you can save a bundle:
5. 2014 BMW 3 Series 328d
Selling price: $35,508
We featured this as one of our best luxury cars under $40,000 last month, and now it's dipping even further below that mark.
The BMW 3 Series isn't so much the "cheap BMW" as it is the sought-after Beemer that just happens to come in at that price.
Packed with great features including a heads-up display projected onto the windshield, blind-spot detectors in the rearview mirrors and a freestanding iDrive screen for communication, navigation, entertainment and apps, the 3 series doesn't exactly come up short on perks. In fact, it piles them on with features including a pushbutton starter that shuts the engine off when idling, a 240-horsepower engine that gets 34 miles per gallon on the highway, adaptive all-wheel drive and hands-free trunk access.
Know what else squeaks into the 328 series? A turbodiesel model that gets a mild-mannered 180 horsepower, but boosts fuel efficiency to 45 miles per gallon on the highway. Those are a lot of options at a price that's supposed to offer luxury car buyers very little.
4. 2014 Kia Rio SX Sedan
Selling price: $16,457
Kia just launched its flagship midsize with a Super Bowl commercial, but there's always room on the lot for this subcompact.
Though Kia sales slumped in the U.S. last year, the Kia Rio's combined 32 miles per gallon are always in demand. With remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, sport suspension, a rearview camera and Kia's UVO entertainment and information system, Sirius XM satellite radio, heated power-folding mirrors, LED lights, paddle shifters and more, this sporty little package gives away a lot for the money.
Throw in the 10-year warranty on the power train and 5-year warranty on everything else, and even a slight discount makes a difference.
3. 2014 Chevrolet Malibu 3LT Sedan
Selling price: $24,322
The effects of the 2013 makeover are starting to fade a bit, but the Malibu is still making inroads in this category.
Automakers across the board are trying to make their midsizes a bit more fun with a few tech playthings. General Motors made a big point of it by packing the Malibu's base model with an AM-FM stereo with iPod/USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth with hands-free streaming of audio from compatible devices, OnStar and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Everything above that base model gets a large touchscreen display using Chevrolet's MyLink information and entertainment system, Pandora Internet Radio playback and Sirus XM Travel Link navigation.
This 3LT version throws in some projector-style halogen headlights, heated rearview mirrors, fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, remote starter and a 2.0-liter engine with 259 horsepower. The combined 29 miles per gallon is better than the highway mileage of some midsize competitors and an improvement from 27.5 in 2012, but the facelift it got for 2014 makes the Malibu's exterior just as stylish as its two-tone interior.
2. 2014 Ram Big Horn Crew Cab
Selling price: $31,459
Everybody made a big deal about the Silverado finally getting an update last year after not changing for nearly a decade. The Ford F-Series just made the auto press swoon on the show circuit just by making a few tweaks that every non-pickup already made.
Where's the obsession about the Ram? Where's the love? On the pages of Motor Trend, which just named it Truck of the Year for 2014. Chrysler's Ram got its last big update in 2009 and the automaker decided it had waited long enough to start tinkering. Those changes were felt as low as the base 1500, which drops from a 3.6L V.6 with 305 horsepower to a slightly more efficient 3.0L V6 diesel with 250 horsepower.
The Big Horn, meanwhile, gets 18 miles per gallon in the city and an impressive-for-a-pickup 25 on the highway, leather-wrapped steering wheel and UConnect touchscreen information and entertainment system and impressive perks. It's the Class IV receiver hitch, 10,350 towing capacity and 1,800 pounds of payload that are going to make this extended-cab, short-bed truck the pride of the National Park campsite and big box hardware store parking lot this summer.
1. 2014 Dodge Journey SXT
Selling price: $20,518
Uh-oh, guess which "Yodge" didn't make it into the Ron Burgundy Dodge commercials promoting Anchorman 2?
Yeah, buying a Dodge is a tough proposition these days. With Fiat taking full ownership and focusing on its own brand and scaling back Jeep and Chrysler, it's tough to tell where Dodge stands. Where this crossover is concerned, it's not on very steady ground.
The Journey is getting a reboot for the 2015 model based on Fiat designs. The new version will look and feel just about nothing like this one, and it's not clear that such a bad thing. For now, you get your heated mirrors, fog lamps, UConnect touchscreen entertainment and information system, Bluetooth connectivity, a year of Sirius XM satellite radio, leather-trimmed interior, heated steering wheel and a bunch of other throw-ins.
At some point, Fiat will solidify the lineup and start charging full price for everything. Until then, take the breaks where you can get them.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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