Carmaker

Car Deal

Expires

BMW $1,500 to $2,500 "holiday finance credit" available on most models 1/5/10
Buick, GMC,
Cadillac,Chevrolet,
 0% APR financing available on many models
1/4/10
Ford, Lincoln, Mercury "Year End Sales Event" offer 0% APR financing or $1,000 cash back on most models. 1/4/10
Honda 1.9% APR financing for up to 36 months on selected models 1/4/10
Mercedes-Benz 2.9% APR financing for 36 months on selected models 1/4/10
Toyota Toyota deals vary regionally, but 2.9% APR financing is available on most models in most regions.  Cash back offers of up to $2,000 are available on a limited selection of models.  1/4/10

In the auto industry, 2009 has been the year of the discount. Automakers, caught unprepared for the recession, simply built more cars than Americans could buy. In order to move them off the lots of struggling dealerships, they had to discount the cars heavily all year long.

But a great entry price is just one aspect of a great car or truck purchase. Smart buyers know that the car’s overall quality and long-term cost of ownership are just as vital – and may be even more important. No one wants to negotiate a low price on a car that will cost a fortune to own.

Our Best Cars for the Money Awards identify the best long-term values in the automotive market. In each class, we identify the vehicle that offers the best ownership experience. The awards factor in the car’s position in our rankings, which represent the collective opinion of the automotive press, as well as the five-year cost-of-ownership determined by the value experts at IntelliChoice.

The list of award winners includes several cars that are rarely discounted. They’re still worth purchasing -- the numbers show that these cars are such good long-term values, buyers don’t need incentives to be sure they’re getting a lot for their money.

But some of the Best Cars for the Money are actually available at a discount this month. Below, we’ll run through a list of award winners that are offered with low financing rates or cash-back rebates this month, improving the value equation for these already-excellent choices.

Savvy car shoppers should also note that December is often the best time to buy -- historical pricing data show that cars tend to sell at a heavier discount this month than any other time of year.

Check out the full list of Best Cars for the Money award winners for other great values. 

The Best Deals we found this month are listed below:

Best Compact Car for the Money

Hyundai Elantra Image
MSRP: $14,145 - $17,845

Avg. Paid: $14,265 - $17,817

MPG: 25 City / 33 Hwy

2010 Hyundai Elantra: $500 cash back plus $500 cash back with dealer financing

The Elantra is our Best Compact Car for the Money for the second year in a row. It offers a reasonable sticker price, solid fuel efficiency and low long-term cost of ownership. It’s also the most spacious car in the small car class – the government actually classifies it as midsize – making it a practical choice for families looking to downsize their car payments without squeezing into an econobox. This month, it’s available with $500 cash back, and an additional $500 for those who finance their purchase through Hyundai.

Get free, competing  Hyundai Elantra Price Quotes using our new dealer quote tool.

Best Midsize Car for the Money

Toyota Camry Image
MSRP: $19,395 - $29,045

Avg. Paid: $19,194 - $28,267

MPG: 21 City / 31 Hwy


2010 Toyota Camry: O% APR financing for 36 months or $750 cash back

The Camry is a hard value to beat. It’s been the best-selling sedan in America for seven years running because of its spacious, comfortable cabin, bulletproof reliability and fair price. It’s been our Best Midsize Car for the Money for two years running because of its low long-term cost-of-ownership. This month, it’s available interest-free for 36 months, or with a $750 rebate. Hybrid models are excluded from the offer.

Get free, competing Toyota Camry Price Quotes using our new dealer quote tool.

Best Family Sedan for the Money

Ford Taurus Image

MSRP: $25,170 - $33,020

Avg. Paid:  $24,973 - $32,629

MPG: 18 City / 28 Hwy

2010 Ford Taurus: 0% APR financing for 36 months, plus $1,000 cash back

Completely new for 2010, the Taurus recently won the coveted International Car of the Year award. It’s a stunning design, with carefully tailored good looks inside and out. It also has one of the most comfortable cabins in its class, and was one of just 19 cars to win the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Pick” award this year under new, tougher standards. Among our winners, it’s one of the most discounted cars. Ford is offering the Taurus this month with both interest-free financing AND a cash-back rebate – a combination usually reserved for much less-impressive vehicles in need of a sales boost.


Get free, competing Ford Taurus Price Quotes using our new dealer quote tool.

Best Compact Crossover/SUV for the Money

Honda CR-V Image
MSRP: $21,545 - $29,745 

Avg. Paid: $21,575 - $29,619

MPG: 21 City / 28 Hwy


2010 Honda CR-V: 1.9% APR financing for 36 months

Our top small SUV offers a lot of space for a relatively small SUV. It’s known for its outstanding Honda reliability, its abundance of interior storage solutions and its excellent safety scores. This year, it’s also more fuel-efficient than before, meaning it will take a smaller bite out of your wallet. That added economy helped the CR-V win our Best Compact Crossover/SUV for the Money award. All year, Honda has offered few incentives, but this month the CR-V is available at a low interest rate.

Get free, competing Honda CR-V Price Quotes using our new dealer quote tool.

Best Luxury Compact Crossover/SUV for the Money

Infiniti EX Image
MSRP: $33,800 - $37,400

Avg. Paid: $33,090 - $36,816

MPG: 17 (2008) City / 24 (2008) Hwy


2010 Infiniti EX: 0% APR financing for 36 months

The Infiniti EX is unique among luxury crossovers. With its rear-wheel-drive layout and taut steering, this is an SUV for those who love to drive. Its 3.5-liter V6 is the most powerful engine available in a compact crossover, and reviewers love its stylish interior. Yet this month, it’s on sale. As part of Infiniti’s Limited Engagement Winter Event, it’s available interest-free for 36 months.

Get free, competing Infiniti EX Price Quotes using our new dealer quote tool

Best Minivan for the Money

Honda Odyssey Image
MSRP: $26,805 - $40,755

Avg. Paid: $25,987 - $39,174

MPG: 16 City / 23 Hwy


2010 Honda Odyssey: 1.9% APR financing for 36 months 

The Honda Odyssey is the undisputed king of the minivan segment. With spacious seating for eight, flexible storage solutions no rival can match, and a powerful V6 that easily pulls the van’s weight at highway speed, it’s the most well-rounded minivan on the market. It’s also one of the cheapest to own over the long run, thanks to its above-average resale value and relatively low maintenance costs. This month, dealers are offering the Odyssey with a low interest rate – something we don’t often see from Honda.

Get free, competing Honda Odyssey Price Quotes using our new dealer quote tool.

Best Full Size Pickup Truck for the Money

Ford F-150 Image
MSRP: $21,380 - $45,835

Avg. Paid: $20,772 - $43,721

MPG: 15 (Est) City / 19 (Est) Hwy


 

2010 Ford F-150: 0% APR financing for 36 months plus up to $2,000 cash back

The best-selling vehicle in America, the Ford F-150 is one of the best work trucks available. Innovative storage solutions mean the F-150 can handle everything from your power tools to your hanging file folders, all while out-towing most other full-size pickups. It costs less to own than most full-size trucks, too, thanks to low maintenance costs and solid retained value. The F-150 is one of the most heavily-discounted vehicles among our award winners, available with interest-free financing AND a hefty cash-back rebate.

Get free, competing Ford F-150 Price Quotes using our new dealer quote tool.

Best Luxury Sports Car for the Money

Chevrolet Corvette Image
 

MSRP: $48,930 - $106,880

Avg. Paid: $49,534 - $107,330

MPG: 16 City / 26 Hwy

 

2010 Chevrolet Corvette: 0% APR financing for 72 Months

Few vehicles have the pedigree to match the Corvette, but many buyers don’t realize that Chevy’s iconic sports car is actually a solid value as well. Relatively low depreciation means it retains its value better than most sports cars, and the ‘Vette is surprisingly fuel-efficient for a V8-powered beast.  The 2010 Corvette model won our Best Luxury Sports Car for the Money award, but its substantially-similar 2009 cousin should prove an outstanding long-term value as well. Chevrolet has shuffled a few trim items for 2010, but mechanically, the cars are the same. 2009 models are available with six years of interest-free financing.

Get free, competing Chevy Corvette Price Quotes using our new dealer quote tool.

Looking for a used Car?  Check out this months Best Used Car Deals.