10 Best 2012 Leftovers For Bargain Car Buyers

Tickers in this article: F NSANY GM TM HMC
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ah, fall: that lovely time of year when automakers trim their ugly or underperforming models like so many dead leaves.

It's a terrible time of year if you run a dealership and have to figure out what to do with undesirable misfit vehicles rolling to the end of their last model year when you have a lot's worth of new stock driving in. It's a far better season for bargain seekers looking to cash in on some poor car line's demise.

"If you're the pragmatic type whose decisions aren't driven by fashion, this is your chance to score a new set of wheels at a low price," says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for the auto website Edmunds.com.

The alchemy behind the savings is simple: When carmakers introduce a model redesign, the prior model depreciates more quickly and reselling it might be more difficult. That takes folks who turn over their car every two to three years out of the equation, but if you plan on running a vehicle into the ground, resale value really isn't going to matter.

We took a spin around the fall dealer sales and, with help from Edmunds, came up with 10 models that won't make it out of 2012 in their current form, but will make it easy on this year's car buyers:

2012 Mazda CX-7
MSRP: $22,190

Is it a minivan? Is it a crossover? Buyers never quite knew, but now won't have to answer that question as Mazda puts this in-betweener out to pasture to make room for its more beloved CX-5.

Mazda doesn't even advertise the CX-7 anymore and the 2012 has been scrubbed from the automaker's U.S. website. Buyers lucky enough to find one get a standard 2.5-liter, 161-horsepower engine, a center storage compartment big enough for a laptop or purse and about 30 cubic feet of cargo capacity or 58.6 cubic feet with the rear seats down. The CX-7's acceleration isn't great and its mileage is nothing worth noting either, but its space and versatility is worth a lot more than a buyer will likely pay for it this fall.

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe
MSRP: $23,225

Crossovers are starting to evolve at this stage in their existence, and Hyundai's quickly learning that the crossover crowd will sacrifice engine size for interior space and efficiency every time.

The Santa Fe was always big for a midsized crossover, but Hyundai is lengthening the wheel base a bit for some of its 2013 models and adding an extra row of seats that increases rider capacity to six or seven. They're also doing away with an available V6 engine to go with a strictly four-cylinder lineup. The 2012 still has all its room, higher-output engines and tech toys such as satellite radio and Bluetooth and is still a bargain for buyers who aren't seeking extra space or additional cornering control.