Best Car Deals

New Car Financing and Cash Back Offers

Getting a new car is exciting and finding a great price on one is even better. There are many ways to save money but most require you to spend a lot of time tracking down the deals. Fortunately, the expert journalists and researchers at U.S. News & World Report have your back.

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Last Updated: May 05, 2017

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Not only do we relentlessly survey the market to find the best car, truck, and SUV deals, but we also encourage you to use our Best Price Program, where you can save thousands of dollars in guaranteed savings at local dealers.

Just What Is a Car Deal?

A car deal can be many things, ranging from a great price that you negotiate to a financing plan that gives you below-market interest rates. We focus on the new vehicle deals that manufacturers offer to boost the sales of specific cars. When vehicles aren't moving off the lots quickly enough or a new model is coming, car manufacturers extend incentives to get buyers to sign on the bottom line.

Keep in mind that it’s only a good deal if it’s a good vehicle. The car, truck, SUV, or minivan has to meet your needs, satisfy your car-buying desires, and have the quality to serve you for the long haul.

The two most common buying incentives are cash back offers, which are essentially discounts off the sticker price, and financing offers with below-market interest rates. If you think of interest as the amount you pay to rent the money for your purchase, a zero percent financing offer means that you won’t pay anything in rental fees.

If you prefer to lease, you can see this month's best lease incentives.

Buyers often have a choice between a low interest rate and cash back. If you’re paying cash or have a valuable trade-in vehicle, you’re best bet is usually the cash back deal. All other buyers, however, should do the math to determine the best deal.

Here’s how to do it: We’ll use a $40,000 pickup truck as our example, and say that you have a choice of $2,000 cash back or zero percent financing for five years. If you take the zero percent interest deal, you’ll have payments of $667 for five years (40,000 divided by 60).

You’ll need a financial calculator to figure out the payments on the cash back deal, but in our example, we’ll finance the $38,000 ($40,000 minus the $2,000 cash rebate) at 3.25 percent, which is about the rate that buyers with good credit receive right now. The monthly payments would be $687. Over the five-year loan term, you would pay about $1,200 more for the cash back deal than you would for the zero percent interest deal ($687 minus $667, multiplied by 60 months).

Every offer is different, so you’ll need to run the numbers on your specific deal. Also, note that financing incentives are typically only available to customers with top-tier credit, so you can save some money if you clean up your credit before you start looking for financing.

Where you buy can have an effect on the new car deal that you get. Some offers are only available in certain areas – based on where you live or the location where you buy. Likewise, dealers offer different discounts based on which vehicles are selling in their market. Buying a full-size pickup at an urban dealer might pay off, just as buying an economy car at a rural dealer might save you some money, even if it means you have to travel some distance to get there. Pay careful attention to the dates that the special deals expire, as dealers generally can’t give them to you if you’re not on time.

What Does This Month Look Like?

It’s no secret that interest rates are going up, but don’t panic. Market pressures will likely blunt any huge increase on car loans, and if new car sales start to soften, it’s a sign that incentives will likely get better. Whether you’re looking at cars, minivans, trucks, or SUVs, there are special deals to be found.

This May, incentives continue to be strong, though you might have to look harder to find long-term zero percent offers, as manufacturers direct them to slow sellers and models with replacements on the horizon. There’s a redesigned Ford Expedition coming soon, so there’s a zero percent financing deal with a huge amount of cash back on the 2017 model.

Last month saw one of the biggest cash back deals that we've seen on a midsize sedan, and this month Hyundai tops it with a $6,750 cash back offer on top-trim 2017 Sonatas. Looking for a subcompact SUV with serious inclement weather capability? You can get a great cash back offer on a 2017 Jeep Renegade.

We research incentives based on representative ZIP codes across the country. We strive to keep this list of the best deals up to date, but incentives can change without warning. Some are limited to a certain number of cars or a percentage of dealer stock, and inclusion on our site does not a guarantee that a specific deal will be available at your local outlet. The easiest way to find out if you can take advantage of a car-buying incentive is to click the orange button next to the car that you're interested in, and we’ll search for a great price at a local new car dealer.

Our best car deals include purchase deals for ToyotaNissanFordHondaChevroletHyundaiKiaDodgeRamJeep, MazdaBuickGMCSubaruVolkswagenAcuraCadillacPorsche, Mercedes-BenzAudiBMW, and Lexus vehicles. Our expert researchers and journalists also search the market for this month’s best lease deals and best used car deals. There’s a great car deal out there for you, and we’ve done the research to help you find it.

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