Best Deals on Used Cars: December 2013

Ready to start browsing for a used car, truck or SUV? Spring and summer are the best months to start shopping for used cars because dealers have larger inventories and easy-to-spot deals. So whether you are shopping for a recent grad, Father’s Day or for a safer vehicle, shop December used car deals. Find models that fit your specified budget and that offer fuel-efficiency, reliability and high safety ratings.

UsedCars.com can help you strike the perfect balance between what you are willing to spend and finding a reliable vehicle. We are happy to help you find December used cars for sale that meet your most important specifications. Our stock of used cars, trucks and SUVs changes often, so let us help you narrow your search with our collection of December used cars for sale. Browse our December car deals below to see some of the stand-out used cars for sale this summer.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Feel free to browse our entire inventory of used car deals to find the perfect used cars, trucks and SUVs listed below Kelley Blue Book value.

2011 Honda CR-V

cc_2011HON007a_320_BL(27 mpg/highway)
KBB Price: $23,917*

What gives the 2011 Honda CR-V such high praises among critics is the spacious interior, comfortable ride and overall dependability. With ample cargo room and additional storage space, the Honda CR-V is the ideal family-friendly SUV. The CR-V also offers decent fuel economy, making it a good choice for road trips and one of our top picks for December used car deals.

Here is what some of the critics have to say about the 2011 Honda CR-V:

  • Consumer Reports 2010 Test score: 76/100
  • JD Power and Associates Predicted reliability score: 4.5/5
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Overall rating: 4/5

2011 GMC Yukon

cc_2011GMC008a_01_320_80U(21 mpg/highway)
KBB Price: $48,787*

If you’re in need of a vehicle with some leg room, the 2011 GMC Yukon is a great choice. With three rows of comfortable seating and the ability to tow heavy loads, you can’t go wrong with this large SUV. Another notable feature of the GMC Yukon is that while it boasts the size and space of a large SUV, it drives and handles as well as a much smaller model. The GMC Yukon makes our list of December used cars for sale because it’s a great choice for families.

Here is what some of the critics have to say about this 2011 model:

  • Consumer Reports 2013 Test score: 66/100
  • JD Power and Associates Predicted reliability score: 3.5/5
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Overall rating: 4/5

2012 Chrysler 300

cc_2012CHR001b_01_320_PBF(23 mpg/highway)
KBB Price: $33,686*

With a long list of standard features, the 2012 Chrysler 300 offers a refined interior and sleek design. This classic American sedan has been reinvented for 2012 with rear-wheel-drive and a V8 powered engine.

Read what some of the critics had to say about this December used car deal:

  • Consumer Reports 2013 Test score: 83/100
  • JD Power and Associates Predicted reliability score: 3/5
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Overall rating: 5/5

2012 Kia Sorento

cc_2012KIA006a_01_320_H5(26 mpg/highway)
KBB Price: $25,343*

The 2012 Kia Sorento makes our list of the best December used car deals because of its capable engine options and impressive list of standard features. For its price range, the Kia Sorento is an excellent choice when it comes to small or midsize SUV crossovers. Families will enjoy the third row seating on this pick for our December used car deals.

Here is what some of the critics have to say about the Kia Sorento:

  • Consumer Reports 2013 Test score: 74/100
  • JD Power and Associates Predicted reliability score: 4/5
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Overall rating: 3.5/5

*The KBB price listed here was quoted as of 3/20/2013 – and it is reflective of the suggested retail price of a similar vehicle in excellent condition with less than 50,000 miles.

Four Costly Winter Driving Mistakes

Photo by Houser, Flickr.

Photo by Houser, Flickr.

According to a University of California Berkeley Traffic Safety Center Study fatal car crashes are more likely to happen on the first snowy day of the season than any of the following days.

So what can we conclude from these findings? How about a connection between weather related driving accidents and driver error.  Simply stated, the Berkeley Center Study reinforces the idea that most weather related crashes don’t involve mechanical failures –instead they are directly tied to the fault of the driver.

To keep you safe and prevent you from adding to these statistics, UsedCars.com has put together this list of common winter driving mistakes:

Driving Mistake 1: Driving Too Fast

UC Berkley’s Traffic Center also notes that speed is the single greatest cause of serious crashes. But not because drivers fail to obey posted speed limits. Instead, most weather related accidents happen when drivers ignore the deteriorating road conditions and fail to reduce their speed.

The takeaway from this is that sometimes driving at the posted speed limit is dangerous. And instead of just driving the recommended speed, you need to take stock of how your car responds to any changing weather patterns. In other words, when snow or ice begins to form on the road, do not feel obligated to continue traveling at high speeds – even if other motorists are zooming on by.

Driving Mistake 2: Assuming Four-Wheel Drive Means You Can’t Crash

Too many drivers think that four-wheel drive (4WD) makes them invincible. If you need proof of this, then the next time you are out on a wintry day, take stock of the number of four-wheel drive vehicles you see stuck in a ditch.

The reason for this seems to be the faulty assumption that the added traction from 4WD means that you can continue to travel at super high speeds.  Unfortunately, 4WD does not improve braking or turning. So while you may be okay traveling in a straight line, what happens when you have to come to a sudden stop? Or make a quick turn?

Driving Mistake 3: Not Preparing

There is a reason why more weather related accidents happen during the first snowy day of the year than at any other time: It’s because drivers simply aren’t prepared. Whether your tires don’t have enough tread (you should have at least 6/32” of tread for snow and ice), your wipers are worn, or your fluids are low, this lack of preparedness can lead to a serious accident.

Driving Mistake 4: Slamming The Brakes

What is the first thing that happens when most drivers feel their car start to slip? They slam on the brakes. And then what happens next? Their car goes spinning out of control.

When you slam on your brakes, you are transferring energy from your tires to your brakes – which in turn will cause your tires to lose traction. To avoid this, your best option is to ease off of the accelerator and let your car slow down on its own. Of course, in some cases, braking may be required. When it is, try quickly pumping your brakes.

Note: If your car has anti-lock brakes, you should not pump them. They’re designed to mitigate this very thing and pumping anti-lock brakes means that you’ll just take longer to stop.

Best All-Wheel Drive Cars for Winter Driving Fun

winter driving

Photo by Martins, Flickr.

For years, the SUV and heavy-duty pickup truck were the only true four-wheel drive options available – meaning that if you wanted extraction during the winter, you were almost strictly limited to one of those two choices.

The good news is that this is no longer the case, as a myriad of sedans, wagons and hatchbacks have joined the ranks of the all-wheel drive category, offering enough traction to let you confidently navigate icy and snowy roadways.  The following is a list of a few you should consider:

For the Performance Minded Car Buyer: The Audi TTS

Audi has been producing four-wheel drive coupes, sedans and roadsters for several generations now. So if you want the very best, without sacrificing performance or maneuverability, why not choose someone with a proven track record? And while just about every Audi offers a four-wheel drive option, we thought the TTS stood out in terms of driving excitement. With a 265-horsepower engine, impressive traction, and turbocharged design, this compact sports car will help you confidently maneuver down the roadways, regardless of driving conditions.

For the Safety-Conscious Car Buyer: Volvo S60 TX

In terms of safety, Volvo has been a recognized leader for the last several years. And now featuring all-wheel drive, the newly redesigned Volvo S60 T6 is certainly no exception. With its turbo-charged 3.0-liter engine, firm suspension, enhanced driving mechanics, and an “instant traction” feature that adds torque to the rear wheels when the vehicle is at a stop, the S60 T6 is a great companion when traveling over slippery trails.

For the Practical Car Buyer: The Subaru Impreza

The practically designed Subaru may be small in stature, but this certainly does not mean it cannot tackle snowy roads with the best of them. With its all-wheel drive option, the Impreza sedan offers extra traction in slippery conditions. Combine this with the vehicle’s surprisingly roomy interior, and it becomes a great choice for every day driving.

For the Family-Minded Car Buyer: The Ford Taurus

The Ford Taurus offers the design and the practicality of the traditional family car. And now with the option of all-wheel drive, it can also offer superior traction during those snowy winter months. Add in any of the sedan’s high-end options -including full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, the Sync and MyFord Touch electronics interfaces, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, and rear parking sensors – and the Taurus is able to offer a distinctive, fun and safe winter driving experience.

Winterizing Your Car: What to Put in Your Roadside Emergency Kit

1415295_50303921Cars break down, especially in the winter: Their batteries drain, their tires lose traction and their engines stall out. And while this might be annoying if it were to happen during a perfect 70-degree day, the stakes are much higher when the cold wind is blowing and the snow is piling up.

This is why having a stocked and ready-to-go roadside emergency kit becomes such a necessity. As you begin winterizing your car this year, take a moment to reevaluate what you have on hand for emergencies – and consider adding some or all of these items:

Prepaid Cellular Phone

Today, just about everyone has a cellphone. But what happens if your battery goes dead or you have left it behind because you were in a rush? Investing in a prepaid cellphone – one that you always keep in your car – will help you to stay in touch in the event all other communications break down.

Basic Equipment

At a bare minimum, you should always carry a set of jumper cables, tire sealant, tire gauge, jack and lug wrench, spare fuses, screwdriver, pliers, flare, and fire extinguisher.

Extra Winter Clothing

If you find yourself stuck out in the middle of a snowstorm, a selection of extra clothing will protect you from the elements. This should include a small bag that contains a winter hat, gloves, all-weather jacket and boots.

First Aid Kit

Invest in a quality first aid kit – one that includes a variety of bandages, gauze, latex, adhesive tape, scissors, burn ointments, hot and cold packs, and thermal blanket.

Snow And Ice Removal

A snow shovel and bag of sand are important if you ever find yourself caught in a snow drift. By shoveling the snow out from a stuck tire and surrounding that tire with sand or kitty litter, you have a better chance of regaining traction.

Basic Survival Gear

A bottle of water, an energy/protein bar, flashlight and matches can be extremely valuable supplies when caught out in the elements.

These are just a few things you should consider adding to your roadside emergency kit. Keep in mind that you may need to add to this list to account for other passengers in your car. For instance, if you often have a car full of little ones, you may want to consider baby formula, diapers, appropriate snacks, or extra blankets.

Regardless, the basic theory remains the same. Taking a moment to stock your car with a few essentials can save you some major headaches down the road.

WinterChecklist

Tips for Driving in the Snow

Winter driving is not without its own unique set of challenges, dangers and frustrations. When ice or snow begins to build up on the roadways, your driving abilities are put to the test. And while no one, not even the most experienced driver, is completely safe when road conditions are deteriorating, the following list of tips for driving in the snow may help to improve your chances of arriving at your destination safely.

Snow Driving Tip #1: Stay Home. Seriously.

The best advice is to stay off the roads. When roads are icy and snowy, avoid making unnecessary trips in your car. The less time you spend on the road when it’s snowing, the smaller the chances are of you getting into an accident.

Snow Driving Tip #2: Clear The Snow From Your Car.

While this may seem obvious, this is a rule that too many drivers ignore. Don’t be content with simply wiping away a strip of snow from your windshield. Instead, to ensure optimal visibility, clear the snow from every window as well as the headlights, taillights and side mirrors. Snow that has collected on the roof and windshield of your car will also affect visibility. So it is best to take the time to remove this as well.

Snow Driving Tip #3: Go Ahead And Practice.

If you are an inexperienced driver, or if this is the first snowfall of the year, consider taking a moment to practice in an empty parking plot. This helps you get a feel for how the vehicle will handle, stop and start during slippery conditions.

Snow Driving Tip #4: Go Slow, Go Steady.

It’s better to arrive late than not at all. So don’t be in a hurry, even if other vehicles are speeding on past you. Remember that rapid movements lead to skids and loss of control. Counter this by concentrating on making sure every movement is slow and fluid.

Snow Driving Tip #5: Make Room, Make Room.

Simply put, when the road is slick, stopping can take more time than you suspect. To avoid ramming the car in front of you, be sure to allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the other cars on the road.

Snow Driving Tip #6: Scan The Road Ahead.

Road conditions can deteriorate quickly, and black ice can be next to impossible to spot.  Don’t let a clear road lull you into a false sense of security. By continually scanning the road ahead, you can anticipate any trouble spots and put yourself in the best position to successfully maneuver through any situation.

Snow Driving Tip #7: Go Easy on the Pedal.

This includes both the gas and the brake pedal. When braking, start your stop earlier than normal. This will allow you to gently push the gas pedal, which can offer valuable insight into how the car is responding to any slippery road conditions.