Apropos of National Zoo and Aquarium Month, we have some advice on the down payment for your next car: Make sure those coral exhibits are the only thing underwater by plunking down at least 20 percent. This can require a daunting pile of cash, of course, but you can defray that by negotiating a better deal in the first place. Cut the total price on that new ride, and 20 percent of your upfront commitment shrinks, too.
Related: How to Negotiate With a Car Dealer
June has historically offered unremarkable new-car incentives, according to Motor Intelligence data, but the numbers heading into the month may give deal seekers some sign of hope. Amid months of incentives declines, average new-car discounts in May 2019 were roughly flat with year-ago levels. That’s the first month since summer 2018 where incentives didn’t tumble, per Motor Intelligence.
Which cars have big discounts this month? See our picks below.
How much can I save? In some cases, more than 10 percent. The Cruze is now in its final model year before a planned discontinuation by parent company GM, but more than 10,000 new examples still exist on Cars.com as of this writing. That comes as Automotive News estimates Cruze sales collapsed 64.9 percent in May (GM only reports sales by the quarter). That’s unsurprising given 2019 model-year examples averaged just over 90 days on dealer lots last month — well past May’s 62-day weighted average for all model-year 2019 cars. Now through July 1, Chevrolet is offering $2,000 off the 2019 Cruze for all but the base trim level, called the L. Finance at standard rates through GM and you can get another $750. That amounts to some 8 to 14 percent off list price, depending on trim level and options.
What about discount financing? GM didn’t advertise any financing specials on the 2019 Cruze in the markets we surveyed, so you’ll have to contend with standard rates.
Isn’t GM moving away from sedans? Yes, but not for all of its brands. The compact Cruze boasts peppy drivability but stingy safety tech and subpar visibility, so we aren’t too sorry to see it go. Deal seekers might feel the same way if the discontinuation prompts discounts like these.
How much can I save? A lot for an affordable, if flawed, three-row SUV. Outlander sales fell 14.1 percent last month. That’s versus a strong year-ago month, but the mid-size SUV still averaged an interminable 138 days on dealer lots for 2019 models in May. Now through July 1, Mitsubishi is offering $2,250 to $2,750 off the 2019 Outlander, depending on region. The related Outlander Plug-In Hybrid has lower cash discounts, and it’s likely a rare find, accounting for just 14.5 percent of new Outlander inventory on Cars.com.
What about discount financing? Qualified shoppers can get zero percent financing for 48 months plus $250 to $750 off the non-hybrid Outlander, region depending. Like the cash rebate, the financing offer expires July 1.
Does it come with a copy of that Police album with the same name? You’re thinking of Outlandos, as in the band’s 1978 debut album, “Outlandos d’Amour.” And, no. The 2019 Outlander, like many modern cars, doesn’t even have a CD player. Stream the album to your heart’s content through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which are standard on most trims — but please don’t sing along to “Roxanne” with the windows down.
How much can I save? Depending on the region, a lot. Rogue sales, which include the Rogue Sport and Rogue Hybrid, fell 25.5 percent in May — also versus a good year-ago month, but 2019 model-year editions of the popular SUV still averaged 86 days to sell in May. Through July 1, Nissan offers $1,500 to $3,750 off the 2019 Rogue, depending on where. Finance at standard rates through Nissan and you can get another $500 off atop that.
What about discount financing? In most regions we surveyed, qualified shoppers can get zero percent financing for 36 months plus $1,500 to $2,500 off, depending on region. The offer also expires July 1.
But the Rogue placed last in Cars.com’s Compact SUV Challenge. That’s true, mostly due to lackluster drivability and inconsistent interior quality, but Nissan’s popular SUV remains competent, with mostly good crash-test ratings and standard automatic emergency braking. You could do much worse.
Anything off the Rogue, sport? Unless you’re Jay Gatsby, that’s the Rogue Sport. And, yes, there are discounts in most locations, but largely lower ones. This month, Nissan is offering $1,500 to $2,750 off the 2019 Rogue Sport, depending on region. The smaller total was predictable, as the Rogue’s smaller SUV sibling averaged just 47 days to sell last month.
Editor’s Choice: Kia Optima
How much can I save? A good amount on a car that got important updates for 2019, with even more discounts on certain examples. The 2019 Optima needed 96 days to sell on average last month, and sales for the nameplate tumbled 19.9 percent. Now through July 1, Kia is offering $3,000 off the Optima with another $1,000 off select, specially tagged examples on dealer lots. It’s unclear if those tags are easy to find or needles in a haystack, but even without them, the base discount can amount to more than 10 percent off lower trims of the family sedan.
What about discount financing? Qualifying shoppers can get zero percent financing for up to 66 months. Find a specially tagged model and you can get another $1,000 off, as Kia says the tagged discount is compatible with special-rate financing.
What about the Optima Hybrid or Optima Plug-In Hybrid? Kia didn’t list any offers for the 2019 model year as of this writing, but we bet more people liked “Rampage” than care about either variant. Hybrid and plug-in-hybrid examples of the car account for just 1 percent of all Optima inventory on Cars.com.
Hey, I thought “Rampage” was OK. And we can only assume you don’t use automatic climate control correctly, either.
More From Cars.com:
- How to Win the Car Financing Game
- How to Use New-Car Incentives, Rebates and Finance Deals
- Understanding Factory-to-Dealer Incentives
- Glossary of Car Leasing Terms
- We Bought a Genesis G70: Here’s What We Paid
We focus on cars new to the list or ones we haven’t highlighted in the past few months. But a few cars from recent months still have deep discounts in May:
How We Look for Deals
To look for June deals, we considered year-to-date sales among the top 100 best-selling cars, specifically eyeing models whose sales underperformed the market in May. We also looked at days-to-turn data from May, which measures how long it takes on average for dealers to sell a given car. Both factors illustrate May’s slow sellers, cars on which dealers could be more willing to cut a deal.
Finally, we looked at factory cash discounts and low-interest-rate financing offers that are especially high for the price of the car. After all, $3,000 is a lot more on a Ford Escape than a Ford Expedition.
Sales and incentives data come from Automotive News and automakers’ websites, while days-to-turn data come from J.D. Power. Remember, our numbers are current as of publication for the markets we survey (generally Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and New York). They reflect advertised customer discounts, not unadvertised factory-to-dealer cash. Discount financing typically requires qualifying credit, too, and incentives may vary by region and trim level; automakers may also change them later in the month. In sum: Your discounts may vary, so check with your local dealer for specifics.
Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.