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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi fellow Subie groupies!

After a LOT of thinking, I’m about to pull the trigger on putting a deposit down on a new Ascent. The (quiet yet frumpy and expensive!!) Honda Pilot gave it a run for its money, but I so fondly remember my 2013 Outback Limited (selling that thing last year was a big mistake!) that I think it’s time to return to a trusty Subaru rather than venture to an untested Honda. I also live in Alaska and have a hard time believing what feels like at least 50% of people here are wrong about the most appropriate Alaska vehicle - Outbacks still dominate our roads, but Ascents are also everywhere.

Anyway, I need to pick an Ascent trim. Both a Touring and Limited (with pano roof, nav, better speakers, etc) are available at roughly the same ETA. I don’t need all of the Touring bells and whistles and prefer the Limited’s blue color option but I will pay for the quieter, cushier trim if there is indeed a difference between the two. Finding any Ascents to repeatedly test drive is impossible, so I can’t directly compare how each trim feels. Can someone help? Are they different? I saw someone on this forum’s anecdote that the Touring absolutely rode better than the Limited, which has really complicated my decision (had nearly settled on the Limited when I read that!). As an engineer, I have a very hard time seeing Subie make major design tweaks between the two upper trims. What can y’all tell me about this?

Also welcome your two cents about the silver colored Touring. I’ve never been crazy about silver cars, but maybe this one looks okay with all the chrome accents elsewhere on the car? My dream would be the blue Touring with the brown leather but that’s not viable given dealer stock (or lack thereof) and my timing. First world problem, right?
 

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You can always try your luck contacting other dealers for the model/color of your choice. Some may make delivery arrangements to other states/regions or you could fly out and drive it back.

Not sure why a Limited and Touring would reportedly drive different as they are virtually identical except for a few features. That noted, the Limited and Touring will drive somewhat different from the base and Premium models based on the difference in tire size, though. The base and Premium have 18-inch wheels/tires with slightly taller sidewalls giving a bit more forgiving ride, while the Limited and Touring have 20-inch wheels/tires that may corner a bit better but have thinner sidewalls that result in bit more of a firm ride compared to the lower models - although not offensive. Some dealers have allowed/arranged for buyers to get 18 or 20-inch wheels. That noted, lots of aftermarket options for wheels and tires.
 

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The Touring absolutely did feel different. I preferred it. I can't blame it all on the tires. The seats were firmer. It was quieter inside. I suspected more or improved sound deadening material. Or.it could have been the rubber not cloth mats. Mine did have the seat back and cargo rubber already installed too. Steering seemed slightly tighter (may have been the tires); the difference was subtle and unless you drove both within 15 minutes you never notice. The front and xtra rear cameras have come in handy already.

Give me a color, almost any color. Not white black or silver, lol!
 

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Rubber floor mats would certainly have that effect of quietening the road noise a bit. Whether the panoramic sunroof shade (optional on the Limited) was open or closed - would also impact the transmission of sound into the cabin. While I'm sure I drove a demo vehicle at the dealership, I believe they only had one model and the time in it was very limited due to demand at the time. The first Ascent I actually spent any decent amount of time in was the Touring we ordered and bought 6+ months later when it was delivered from the factory. Therefore, I cannot personally speak to any subtle differences between a Limited and Touring for feel and performance - but the only (signficant) listed differences are:
  • Second-row captain's chairs
  • STARLINK Multimedia Navigation
  • 14-speaker 792-watt-equivalent Harman Kardon premium audio system
  • Panoramic power moonroof
  • 180-Degree Front-View Monitor
  • Body colored or chrome ascent pieces and mirrors
For us, the additional kit on the Touring made the difference. All that noted, the Limited and Touring reflect one less MPG than the base and Premium - so there's does appear to be some weight related differences between the lower two and upper two models.
 

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The fuel economy estimate difference between Base/Premium and Limited/Touring is due, at least in part, to the difference in wheel sizes between the two trims (the larger wheels add rotational mass). We have a Touring and generally average about the Base/Premium's estimate, but there are way too many factors involved to predict what any one person will get in terms of fuel economy. Climate, geography, terrain, driving style...they all play significant influencing roles in that.

In addition to the features listed by @TwoHats above, the exclusive Touring features we really like are the ventilated seats (perhaps not a factor for those in Alaska!) and the Smart rearview mirror, where you can use it in conventional mirror mode or as a video monitor for a high-mounted rear camera (separate from the backup camera in the license plate area). We have our mirror in video monitor mode nearly 100% of the time. Other Touring features that I preferred, not available on other trims, were some of the cosmetic things. I preferred the satin mirrors and chrome door handles to the body colored ones on Limited and below. I preferred the Java Brown and woodgrain patterned trim. I preferred the upgraded leather on the Touring's steering wheel. We like all the interior accent lighting in the Touring. Optioned the way we would have bought a Limited (with roof and navigation), it'd have been about $1,500 less than a Touring and we thought all of the other exclusive Touring features were worth the extra cost. We use some way more often than we thought we would (like the front and rear cameras).
 

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The optioned out Limited is nice, but I really do like and use the additional features that the Touring provides. The single things with the Touring that I'd like to be different is the availability of a light colored interior, such as the "dove grey" we have in our MY20 Forester Limited. But the Java is fine and pretty much identical other than in exact shade to the interior I had on the Grand Cherokee I drove previously.

Ascent will do well in your geography as it can be just as nimble as the Outback in those times where conditions are more severe in winter as well as comfortable when dealing with the unprecedented hot, too. And...more space, higher seating view, etc.
 

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You've received comments on the options; those might sway the direction you choose. It's been a while since I've checked, but silver cars have traditionally had higher collision rates than other colors. Has to do with blending with the horizon in distance vision. Silver is also almost impossible to color match of you ever require body work and touchups. Only black is less forgiving.

Personally, despite buying a Touring, I wish that Subaru would have offered a moon roof delete and Captain's chair delete and while we're on the delete wishlist, delete 20"wheels. I chose the Touring to get the smart mirror and front camera. There was practically nothing else in the Touring bundle that I found necessary or better than lower trim levels. After a year of ownership, I probably would not have bought the Touring. The front camera isn't implemented well, I've written extensively about it in other threads. The smart mirror is nice and useful but not a great justification for jumping to the Touring.

As an engineer, if you read Consumer Reports, be aware that the road test score was determined on 18" wheels. They've never published a score for the 20's but I've communicated with CR and they stated that the ride was noisier and rougher on the 20's. As an Alaskan you might want to make note of ride harshness while testing both 20's and 18's. The 20's handle better but they don't make the Ascent into a sports car. There are also more snow tires options for the 18.

Another Alaska point, make sure you have windshield replacement insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You can always try your luck contacting other dealers for the model/color of your choice. Some may make delivery arrangements to other states/regions or you could fly out and drive it back.

Not sure why a Limited and Touring would reportedly drive different as they are virtually identical except for a few features. That noted, the Limited and Touring will drive somewhat different from the base and Premium models based on the difference in tire size, though. The base and Premium have 18-inch wheels/tires with slightly taller sidewalls giving a bit more forgiving ride, while the Limited and Touring have 20-inch wheels/tires that may corner a bit better but have thinner sidewalls that result in bit more of a firm ride compared to the lower models - although not offensive. Some dealers have allowed/arranged for buyers to get 18 or 20-inch wheels. That noted, lots of aftermarket options for wheels and tires.
Not trying to be snide, but it's time for a quick geography lesson! Alaska is VERY far from the mainland. Assuming I could find exactly what I want at a Subaru dealer in NW Washington, this is what the drive home would look like:
13122

You're looking at three days minimum, 3k ROUGH miles, gas and hotels, and a crapload of wear and tear on a brand new vehicle (you're guaranteed a cracked windshield at a minimum). I would have to basically steal the Ascent from the dealer to have that make any economic or practical sense. Shipping the car from that same place is $2700 (I've researched this thoroughly) and can escalate up to $5-6k for east coast dealers.

In exchange for living in the most beautiful place on earth, Alaskans must accept being held hostage by the most arrogant, entitled, and, frankly, lazy car dealers you can imagine. Since I'm seeing basically no wiggle room on Ascent pricing - correct me if I'm wrong, but you're paying MSRP for these these cars AND waiting for them regardless of where you are in the US - I need to bite the bullet and just pick from what our TWO statewide Subaru dealers have on order. I'd need a few (up to 6) grand off MSRP to cover shipping from the L48 and just don't see that happening in this environment. At this point, I consider myself lucky that these cars are still going for "only" MSRP here given what I'm hearing about Kia and Hyundai SUV pricing. Subaru staying classy, I suppose.

Since I have absolutely no negotiating power, I'm very tempted to design and order exactly what I want rather than spend the same amount of money and compromise on a bad (silver blahhh) color, but that's 3+ months delay; haven't decided if the wait is worth it since that could mean a lot of obnoxious carpooling with the hubs. (He's already about to strangle me from all the Ascent chatter.) Furthermore, if I'm going to wait that long, I should just wait a tiny bit longer for the 2022s since rumor is the MSRPs on those isn't changing materially.

For all the vehicular headache and heartache, a great thing about cars in Alaska is their depreciation curves, particularly on Subarus. If I so choose, I'll be able to sell the Ascent in 3-4 years for near what I paid. Since the current market is totally bonkers, the thought has crossed my mind to buy one of the ones I have access to next month, order the dream Ascent, and then sell the original car. Odds are I could make a little money on that transaction. Strange times.

::Geography lesson / rant over::

I definitely get that tire size will matter. I'm firmly in the 20" wheel camp so the Limited and Touring really should ride the same, like you've said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Touring absolutely did feel different. I preferred it. I can't blame it all on the tires. The seats were firmer. It was quieter inside. I suspected more or improved sound deadening material. Or.it could have been the rubber not cloth mats. Mine did have the seat back and cargo rubber already installed too. Steering seemed slightly tighter (may have been the tires); the difference was subtle and unless you drove both within 15 minutes you never notice. The front and xtra rear cameras have come in handy already.

Give me a color, almost any color. Not white black or silver, lol!
Did you ask any questions to confirm your suspicion about more sound deadening material in the Touring? How long did you spend in each and what trims are you comparing for the seat firmness, steering tightness, etc?

I'll absolutely have rubber mats and rubber seat back covers installed; I hadn't thought about how those might dull road noise a bit. Hmmm....
 

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Since I'm seeing basically no wiggle room on Ascent pricing - correct me if I'm wrong, but you're paying MSRP for these these cars AND waiting for them regardless of where you are in the US - I need to bite the bullet and just pick from what our TWO statewide Subaru dealers have on order. I'd need a few (up to 6) grand off MSRP to cover shipping from the L48 and just don't see that happening in this environment. At this point, I consider myself lucky that these cars are still going for "only" MSRP here given what I'm hearing about Kia and Hyundai SUV pricing. Subaru staying classy, I suppose.
Ultimately, the market will decide the value. Consumers decide what a particular product is worth. If dealers can decline offers under MSRP, that means there are enough consumers out there willing to pay MSRP for them to sell the inventory they have. Similarly, I don't consider Kia or Hyundai dealers to be disingenuous regarding the widely reported market adjustments on their SUVs. Consumers are apparently valuing those vehicles at those inflated prices. They wouldn't be adding a market adjustment if it didn't work. Likewise, manufacturers wouldn't put large rebates on certain models if they were popular enough -- market adjustments work in both directions!

All this to say I'm in agreement with you that you need to plan to proceed as the market conditions are today. Two years ago, maybe you wouldn't have paid MSRP. Two years from now, maybe buyers won't be paying MSRP. But today, buyers are and other buyers are your competition. If they're paying up for new Ascents, then you'll need to as well (unless you decide to wait).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Rubber floor mats would certainly have that effect of quietening the road noise a bit. Whether the panoramic sunroof shade (optional on the Limited) was open or closed - would also impact the transmission of sound into the cabin. While I'm sure I drove a demo vehicle at the dealership, I believe they only had one model and the time in it was very limited due to demand at the time. The first Ascent I actually spent any decent amount of time in was the Touring we ordered and bought 6+ months later when it was delivered from the factory. Therefore, I cannot personally speak to any subtle differences between a Limited and Touring for feel and performance - but the only (signficant) listed differences are:
  • Second-row captain's chairs
  • STARLINK Multimedia Navigation
  • 14-speaker 792-watt-equivalent Harman Kardon premium audio system
  • Panoramic power moonroof
  • 180-Degree Front-View Monitor
  • Body colored or chrome ascent pieces and mirrors
For us, the additional kit on the Touring made the difference. All that noted, the Limited and Touring reflect one less MPG than the base and Premium - so there's does appear to be some weight related differences between the lower two and upper two models.
I'm only considering an optioned out Limited, which, for $3k, gives you the pano roof (a non-negotiable for me), better speakers, and nav, so many of the Touring "perks" are removed. I don't consider captains chairs a perk; can go either way on that one (the Limited I have access to does have them, meh). Two things the Touring does have that you cannot option into a Limited are auto wipers and ventilated seats; these are nice to haves but not mandatory. I don't have auto wipers now and only use ventilated seats a half dozen times a year in Alaska.

I can see the front view camera being useful since we have dogs running about our property, but have read reports that it shuts off very quickly and at super low speeds; can you confirm? It seems that people use the rear-facing camera a lot; I can see this becoming a "necessary luxury" like a backup camera has become...not sure I want to tread in those waters yet! I suppose with our large Saint Bernard in the back, a camera that lets me see past him would improve safety. I am curious to learn more about the day-to-day functioning of both of these cameras.

The thing that would immediately put me at ease about forking over an extra $2800 for the Touring is a relatively high level of confidence that it will ride nicer. I don't think this is the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ultimately, the market will decide the value. Consumers decide what a particular product is worth. If dealers can decline offers under MSRP, that means there are enough consumers out there willing to pay MSRP for them to sell the inventory they have. Similarly, I don't consider Kia or Hyundai dealers to be disingenuous regarding the widely reported market adjustments on their SUVs. Consumers are apparently valuing those vehicles at those inflated prices. They wouldn't be adding a market adjustment if it didn't work. Likewise, manufacturers wouldn't put large rebates on certain models if they were popular enough -- market adjustments work in both directions!

All this to say I'm in agreement with you that you need to plan to proceed as the market conditions are today. Two years ago, maybe you wouldn't have paid MSRP. Two years from now, maybe buyers won't be paying MSRP. But today, buyers are and other buyers are your competition. If they're paying up for new Ascents, then you'll need to as well (unless you decide to wait).
Maybe it's then a matter of local Subie dealers staying classy? They could be blowing a bunch of smoke to trick me into believing all of the Ascents are really reserved as soon as they dealer gets word of the next shipment, but the millennial WRX-types working there seem far too disorganized to pull off that stunt. (If it is all an orchestrated scheme, kudos to them!) I wouldn't be surprised to be told the next time I visit that Ascent prices have increased $2k. Am just trying to count my blessings in this realm since I feel at such a disadvantage otherwise :)

The one saving grace in all of this is not having stock vehicles sitting on a lot keeps the dealers from adding a bunch of crap you don't want and then charging you for it later. Aside from settling for a bad color, the car will have exactly what I want on it and not a thing more. So there's that...
 

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Our local Subaru dealer has exactly ONE new model for sale...a silver 2021 Legacy sedan. Everything else is gone. And they say that the next few trucks' worth of new cars are pre-sold. It's just a tough market right now for buying cars.

Regarding the cameras, we use both front and rear cameras all the time. We park in a standard 2-car garage but I have a workbench on the end wall and want to pull the Ascent in just far enough to where the garage door will close, to maximize the space in front of it. I'd also like to be able to pull the Ascent into the garage just far enough that the rear liftgate will open without hitting the closed garage door (so we can pack the car when it's raining or snowing or whatever). So I have two bright tape marks on the floor and we use the front camera every time we pull into the garage. When we pull forward enough so that the first tape mark is just no longer visible, then we're in far enough to close the garage door. When we pull forward enough so that the second tape mark is just no longer visible, then we're in far enough to close the garage door and have the rear liftgate open.

The rear camera (in the mirror that comes with the Touring) is nice because you don't have to adjust the mirror for different drivers. It's truly like a television display when it's on, and the viewing angle isn't critical. I really like the brightness and fullness of the color picture and find that my older eyes can more easily see what's going on behind me when in television mode than a mirror. I find that I have to look "into" the mirror for longer, and let my eyes re-focus on that 3-dimension visual, before I get good clarity on what's behind me. Television mode, however, presents a 2-dimensional image for me to look at and I can acquire objects with my eyes much faster in that mode.

The rearview mirror is probably the biggest surprise to us, in terms of a Touring feature we didn't think we cared about but find that we use all the time.

I will say that I also fold the outside mirrors a lot. That's also a Touring specific feature. I fold the mirrors in our garage (for more room, fewer brushes against the mirrors, etc.) and I fold the mirrors when parked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The fuel economy estimate difference between Base/Premium and Limited/Touring is due, at least in part, to the difference in wheel sizes between the two trims (the larger wheels add rotational mass). We have a Touring and generally average about the Base/Premium's estimate, but there are way too many factors involved to predict what any one person will get in terms of fuel economy. Climate, geography, terrain, driving style...they all play significant influencing roles in that.

In addition to the features listed by @TwoHats above, the exclusive Touring features we really like are the ventilated seats (perhaps not a factor for those in Alaska!) and the Smart rearview mirror, where you can use it in conventional mirror mode or as a video monitor for a high-mounted rear camera (separate from the backup camera in the license plate area). We have our mirror in video monitor mode nearly 100% of the time. Other Touring features that I preferred, not available on other trims, were some of the cosmetic things. I preferred the satin mirrors and chrome door handles to the body colored ones on Limited and below. I preferred the Java Brown and woodgrain patterned trim. I preferred the upgraded leather on the Touring's steering wheel. We like all the interior accent lighting in the Touring. Optioned the way we would have bought a Limited (with roof and navigation), it'd have been about $1,500 less than a Touring and we thought all of the other exclusive Touring features were worth the extra cost. We use some way more often than we thought we would (like the front and rear cameras).
How did you option out the Limited to only be $1500 less than the Touring? I've done countless builds online and the delta is $2800. Did you just get a good deal?

I wouldn't blink at paying for the Touring if I could get the Java Brown leather and the wood accents - it is gorgeous and I loved it in my Outback. Issue is, I can't get that leather on the Touring that's available and there is no line of sight on when an Ascent with that leather will be ordered. If I'm going to be stuck with black leather (still a million times better for my dirty doggy life than light colored leather), save the cash and just get the optioned out Limited with the same black leather. But your feedback about the cameras is making me think. They seem like things you didn't know you needed until you have them. I also like auto wipers.
 

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How did you option out the Limited to only be $1500 less than the Touring? I've done countless builds online and the delta is $2800. Did you just get a good deal?
I think we were probably looking at dealer stock at the time. Maybe our dealer had more off on a Touring than a Limited, I don't remember exactly. We were shopping in Feb 2020 and finally bought in March, right before COVID really got going.
 

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Black or white colors are boring or muted color. A color that's between black and white w/ metallic (i.e. silver) is almost boring or muted.

p.s. I own a white Limited ... lol
 

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Did you ask any questions to confirm your suspicion about more sound deadening material in the Touring? How long did you spend in each and what trims are you comparing for the seat firmness, steering tightness, etc?

I'll absolutely have rubber mats and rubber seat back covers installed; I hadn't thought about how those might dull road noise a bit. Hmmm....
Yes I asked, rep wasn't sure. He said the suspension is the same.
Less than 30 minutes. Each. Loaded premium.
The seats are definitely different. Ventilated as some have mentioned. I preferred them. Leather is only on the face and maybe not even the whole face.
Steering tightness is something I'm sensitive to. I did not have a chance to drive a premium with 20" wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The optioned out Limited is nice, but I really do like and use the additional features that the Touring provides. The single things with the Touring that I'd like to be different is the availability of a light colored interior, such as the "dove grey" we have in our MY20 Forester Limited. But the Java is fine and pretty much identical other than in exact shade to the interior I had on the Grand Cherokee I drove previously.

Ascent will do well in your geography as it can be just as nimble as the Outback in those times where conditions are more severe in winter as well as comfortable when dealing with the unprecedented hot, too. And...more space, higher seating view, etc.
My Outback was a TANK in the snow. So, so awesome. There was nothing I couldn't get through in that sucker and boy was some gnarly stuff thrown at it. The winter driving confidence I had in my Outback is why I nixed the Honda Pilot for the Ascent. I know Subaru makes an "Alaska tough" car, so why mess with something that isn't broken. We also now live seven miles back in a mountain valley and have a 900' long switch-backed gravel driveway; I have no doubt the Ascent will keep me safe on that twisty, turny, narrow, sometimes-icy road and shuffle right on up the driveway without issue. Once we moved to our current house, I was not happy with the Outback's visibility and lower seating position so got rid of it and bought a glorious F-150. The truck has been comfy, fun, and practical for a lot of things, but we already have another truck in our family and I'm tired of not being able to do u-turns, having to park in the back of lots, and just dealing with VERY large vehicle probz. The Ascent seems like a great way to square the circle. I have no doubt I'll love it.

Question for folks with Touring trims in wintery climates - does the front-facing EyeSight system work well in active snow? What about the rear-view camera? Since both are inside the vehicle, they shouldn't get gummed up with moisture like the front sensor on my truck periodically does. Do the front and back wipers adequately clear debris from them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Black or white colors are boring or muted color. A color that's between black and white w/ metallic (i.e. silver) is almost boring or muted.

p.s. I own a white Limited ... lol
Although it's not my favorite color (that would be the blue), I would kill for a white Touring with the Java Brown leather. When clean, which is never in my life TBH, that thing would be absolutely heavenly.

Totally agree about the silver. Whyyyyyy is it a color option, whyyyyy. Anything else would be better!!
 

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In exchange for living in the most beautiful place on earth, Alaskans must accept being held hostage by the most arrogant, entitled, and, frankly, lazy car dealers you can imagine. Since I'm seeing basically no wiggle room on Ascent pricing - correct me if I'm wrong, but you're paying MSRP for these these cars AND waiting for them regardless of where you are in the US - I need to bite the bullet and just pick from what our TWO statewide Subaru dealers have on order. I'd need a few (up to 6) grand off MSRP to cover shipping from the L48 and just don't see that happening in this environment. At this point, I consider myself lucky that these cars are still going for "only" MSRP here given what I'm hearing about Kia and Hyundai SUV pricing. Subaru staying classy, I suppose.
I'm in California (SF Bay Area). I just bought a Premium off the lot for $2000 under MSRP. (There were multiple dealerships that rejected that offer and were insisting on MSRP or just $500ish off MSRP, but I did finally find one who would accept my offer.) Downtown Oakland Subaru currently has a touring listed on TrueCar for $4810 below MSRP (though it's not the color you want). (Heads up: Downtown Oakland WILL try to add on $5000 in dealer options.) And a few dealerships in our area are willing to do VIP pricing on special orders if you can wait 8-12 weeks.

This is just to say that it is still possible to get some discounts if you shop around, though they're not as high as they once were (and you might need to be willing to compromise on some options like exterior color).
 
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