The Year 2000 Model Cars

Y2K is still more than 100 days away, but Year 2000 is already starting to arrive at your local car dealer.

CBS News Consumer Correspondent Herb Weisbaum checked out some of the new models for the next millennium.

'99 Fire Sale
It's time for dealers to get rid of leftovers, and that means bargains. Some deals found on consumer site Edmund's:
  • A $3,000 rebate on Buick Riviera.
  • A $4,000 rebate on Oldsmobile Aurora.
  • 0% financing for many GM models.
  • From what has been seen so far, it looks like cars for the year 2000 will be quite impressive, with lots of high-tech features from GPS satellite navigation systems to voice-activated stereo systems.

    More models are getting side-impact air bags. And consumers will see lots of station wagons being marketed as alternatives to the popular sport-utility vehicles.

    And from the consumer's view, it's a buyer's market. Despite record sales, competition is very tough right now. Carmakers around the world are cranking out new models.

    They may have to cough up a little cash to get you to buy their vehicle. So you may even see rebates on popular pickups and sport-utility vehicles.

    Just be sure you're a smart shopper. Do your homework. See what's available before you rush in.

    And remember: There are lots of dealer incentives floating around - that's money that the manufacturer gives the dealer to bargain with.

    In some cases, we're talking about an extra $2,000 to $3,000 that the dealer has to play with. And that's on top of any manufacturer's rebate you get.

    Here are some highlights of the 2000 car market thus far.

    Mitsubishi Eclipsesize>
    Mitsubishi Eclipse

    If you want to drive into the 21st century in style, several of the early 2000s offer very bold new designs. The third-generation Eclipse from Mitsubishi has indented stripes on the doors, called "strakes."

    They help make the doors more rigid. And they make the Eclipse look like it's flying even when it's standing still!

    Jaguar 2000 S-Typesize>
    Jaguar 2000 S-Type

    Remember the Jaguar sport sedans of the 1960s? Now under Ford's roof, Jaguar is bringing tem back with the 2000 S-Type sedan.

    The look may be retro, but inside everything is up-to-date, including a GPS navigation system and voice-activated climate, audio and phone controls.

    Audi TT Coupe

    Perhaps the most daring styling statement of this new crop comes from Audi with its long-awaited TT Coupe. Available in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions, the TT combines sports car performance with the latest in safety features, including head and side-impact air bags.

    Lesley Hazleton, automotive writer for the Detroit Free Press, is impressed: "For $30,000, you're getting quite a car. It's turbo-charged, it's a blast to drive in the all-wheel-drive version, and of course in the spring comes the convertible."

    Saturn L-Series

    Saturn Corp. enters the new millennium with its first-ever midsize car. It's the L-series, designed to compete with the likes of the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. It also gives current Saturn owners a bigger car to move up to.

    The L-series includes a station wagon version. The company hopes to cash in on the recent popularity of wagons as an alternative to SUVs.

    Subaru Outback

    The next generation of Subaru's Outback line is just hitting the road. It's also available as a wagon or sedan. The new Outback features bigger windows, more cargo room and a stronger, stiffer body.

    Chevy Impala 2000

    And look what's making a comeback. The Chevy Impala in the 1950s and 1960s was the best-selling car in America. Chevrolet hopes to bring back those glory years with the Impala 2000. It's a full-size sedan with all the bells and whistles and seating for five or six adults.

    Nissan's Xterra

    There are a few trucks in the class of 2000. Nissan's Xterra is a sport-utility vehicle aimed at younger, more active buyers - people who might actually use it for more than a trip to the supermarket. There's even an inside rack for a pair of mountain bikes.

    Nissan has also added a Crew Cab model to its Frontier family, complete with something you don't see much in compact pickups: four doors.

    Toyota Tundra

    The Tundra is the first full-size pickup from a Japanese carmaker. But this new Toyota is built in America, at a brand new plant near Princeton, Ind.

    Chrysler PT Cruiser

    Finally, there's the Chrysler PT Cruiser. Based on classic American cars of the past, it's scheduled to go on sale early next year.