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Check for new car deals online before you go shopping

2016 Holden Commodore SV6 Black Edition

As we head into the biggest month of the year for new-car sales it's not always easy to pick the real deals.

Not every drive-away price is a bargain.

More importantly, as we discovered by chance this week, some deals on the manufacturer websites are better than those seen on the showroom floor and dealer forecourts. Especially if they haven't updated the signage on the cars in stock.

For example, the Holden SV6 Black Edition sedan is $38,990 drive-away with automatic.

But at least one dealer has numerous older SV6 sedans — without the extra gear of the Black Edition — for the same price.

Chances are there may be a hidden discount on the older model but it pays to know what you're in for before you set foot into a dealership.

Helpfully, all the mainstream brands have a tab on their websites that usually says "special offers" or "offers" or similar.

Be sure to browse online before you take a test drive

There are customarily some super-sharp deals at the top and then, perhaps coincidentally, the deals get less attractive the further you scroll down.

As we've reported before, we prefer car makers publish clear drive-away pricing.

A further warning: "free on-roads" does not always mean drive-away, and low interest rate finance deals often come with hidden costs that effectively eliminate any discount.

We'll be doing a thorough analysis of the best deals once the calendar turns over to June.

Meanwhile, be sure to browse online before you take a test drive.

What tips do you have to ensure you get the best deal on a new car? Let us know in the comments below.