2012 Mazda2

When analysts looked at vehicle sales for April 2012, they found that automakers sold 2 percent more vehicles than they did one year ago. Last month, the seasonally adjusted annual rate was 14.4 million vehicles, compared with a SAAR of 13.1 million in April 2011. Edmunds says that increase was driven by “a strong desire by consumers to purchase,” rather than “a lure of rich incentives because they did not exist.”

TrueCar.com says automakers spent $120 less on incentives per light vehicle in April 2012 compared with March 2012. “Incentives continued to decline for most automakers with the exception of Honda and Toyota as both are vying for recapturing their lost market share from last year,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends and insights for TrueCar.com.

With automakers spending less on incentives and high gas prices, though they are declining, shoppers who want to save up front and in the long run may want to consider a fuel-efficient small car. Here are some of the best new car purchase deals on small cars in May:

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid: 0.9% for 24-36 months or 1.9% for 37-60 months

2012 Acura TSX: 0.9% for 36 months

2012 Mazda2: 0% for 60 months

2012 Volkswagen Jetta: 0.9% for 60 months. Excludes TDI models.

2012 Kia Forte: 1.9% for 36 months plus $1,000 bonus cash. Applies to sedan, coupe and hatchback models.

2012 Hyundai Accent: 1.9% for 36 months

2012 Subaru Impreza: 1.9% for limited term. Applies to Impreza and Impreza WRX.

2012 Mini Cooper: 0.9% for 36 months (East, South and West regions) or 1.9% for 72 months (Illinois and Central regions)

2012 Ford Fiesta: 0% for 36 months (Southeast) or 1.9% for 36 months (Northeast, Northwest, West and Southwest)

2012 Suzuki SX4: 0% for 48 months or $1,000 cash back. Applies to sedan, hatchback and crossover models.

Shopping for an affordable small car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. You can also find the best local prices in the area by using our Best Price Program. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.