Memorial Day signals summer’s imminent arrival and invokes thoughts of road trips, outdoor adventures and quality time spent with family and friends. Once upon a time (aka prior to the inventory shortage), new-car shoppers would look forward to this time of year for a different reason: Automakers offered some of their best incentives leading up to the holiday. While incentives have recently started to bounce back according to J.D. Power’s latest sales report, the good old days of abundant seasonal deals remain in the past.
Related: What’s the Best New-Car Deal for May 2023?
Even so, while fewer models are discounted, shoppers can still have reasons to be optimistic: Inventory is steadily improving, special auto loan offers help with rising financing costs, and trade-in values remain elevated. With improving inventory levels, vehicles are spending more time on dealer lots, too: In April, the average vehicle spent 30 days on the lot compared to 18 days the same time a year prior, estimates J.D. Power. This means finding the right car with the features you want should prove easier as the month draws to a close.
As average auto loan rates continue to rise alongside monthly payments, select automakers are offering special financing deals with lower rates alongside cash incentives. For shoppers who qualify, the savings can add up in the long run, and should be factored into the purchase equation. According to J.D. Power, the average interest rate for new-car loans reached an estimated 6.8% in April — up 2.27% from the same time in 2022. Meanwhile, deals finalists like the Hyundai Elantra and Jeep Compass below offer special rates of 0.9% for 36 months and 1.9% for 36 months, respectively, for qualified shoppers.
Finally, your trade-in may be worth more than you think. Even as used-car prices and trade-in values have started to fall, the average trade-in value in April was estimated at $9,162, which is more than double the pre-pandemic average. As the weather warms up, it’s a good idea to give your current ride a thorough cleaning inside and out as you prepare to sell or trade it in.
Joining our finalists features in the link above, the following cars bring additional savings along with road-trip-ready features just in time for summer.