If you want a new car, but worry that high monthly payments won’t fit your budget, now may be the right time to explore your options.
“Credit conditions are making it easier to buy or lease a new car,” says Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. “Shoppers are opting for longer terms at lower interest rates. In other words, they’re able to afford more expensive cars by keeping their monthly payments at or near what they’re used to paying.”
In a statement, Edmunds.com reports that the length of new car loans reached an “all-time high” in the first four months of this year, with shoppers financing their vehicles for an average of 66 months. At the same time, the average interest rate of 4.4 percent on new car loans is very close to the rock-bottom financing rates that car shoppers have seen over the last 24 months.
If that data makes it seem like now is the right time to buy, you’ll find a number of automakers that are offering great financing incentives on new cars, trucks and SUVs. In some cases, you may be able to combine manufacturer rebates with no-interest financing. The 2014 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe are available with interest-free financing for five years plus $1,000 cash back. You’ll find zero percent financing for five years plus $750 cash back on the 2014 Volkswagen Passat, or $500 cash back with the same loan terms on the 2014 Chevy Traverse, Nissan Maxima and Volkswagen Jetta. The 2014 Hyundai Sonata is available with interest-free financing for six years, while models like the Sonata Hybrid, Elantra, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Avalon Hybrid and Venza are all offered with zero percent financing for five years.
Edmunds.com says that a record number of car shoppers have also been leasing in the first four months of 2014, and many automakers are offering attractive lease deals that are good through June 2. Affordable compact SUVs like the 2014 Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Subaru XV Crosstrek are all available for less than $250 per month with less than $2,500 down. Small car lease deals include the 2014 Nissan Versa Note, which is available for $149 per month for 36 months with $1,999 down, while Honda is leasing the 2014 Civic for $159 per month for 36 months with $2,499 due at signing. Midsize car shoppers will find the 2014 Kia Optima for $189 per month for 36 months with $1,850 down, or the 2014 Mazda6 is available with a three-year lease for $199 per month with $1,999 to $2,359 due at signing.
Regardless of which car you’re considering, remember that you can negotiate the vehicle’s price beyond the advertised discount. You can also use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find the best local prices in your area.