Great deals on high-MPG cars
2012 Ford Fiesta / Ford Motor Co.
(MoneyWatch) With prices at the pump spiking again, car buyers may have a renewed interest in cars that get good gas mileage. Fortunately, great deals are out there for high-MPG cars as manufacturers and dealers try to clear out 2012 models.
After drifting down to under $3.50 a gallon earlier this summer, gas this week is at $3.75 a gallon in the national average calculated by the AAA Fuel Gauge. That is 27 cents higher than just a month ago and 15 cents above the level at this time last year. The end of vacation driving season in September usually eases gas prices. But with Tropical Storm Isaac makings its way through the Gulf of Mexico, damage to offshore oil platforms could disrupt supply and push gas prices up further.
For shoppers, the very highest mileage cars are not selling at big discounts, since hybrids like the Toyota Prius continued to sell strongly even as gas prices were falling. But a Kelley Blue Book list of the best summer clearance deals includes a selection of cars rated at or near 40 MPG in highway driving. As Kelley analysts point out, lease deals are unusually attractive, with offerings like the Ford Fiesta at $139 a month for 24 months. Such deals highlight that at least this season, new cars are a better deal than used ones.
In listing the best summer deals, Kelley calculated car prices beginning with its "fair purchase price" -- what a typical consumer is likely to pay for a given model. Analyst Alec Gutierrez then subtracted any rebates being offered. (Most of the cars on their list also offer 0 percent financing for consumers with strong credit ratings as an alternative to the rebate.)
Here is a look at some of the best deals for buyers:
- Hyundai Accent GLS: The sedan with manual shift is selling for $12,635 even without a cash rebate. Redesigned for 2012 with what has become the sleek, sweeping Hyundai sedan style, the Accent is rated at 30 MPG in city driving and 40 MPG on the highway.
- Fiat 500: A stylish, fun small car, 500 is selling for $14,851 after a $500 rebate. The car is rated at 30 MPG city, 38 MPG highway.
- Toyota Camry: If you are looking for a midsize car with respectable mileage, the Camry is selling at $19,659 after a $1,500 rebate. The redesigned 2012 model has regained its title as the best-selling car in America and is rated at 25 MPG in city driving, 35 MPG on the highway.
- Ford Fiesta: with mileage ratings of 28 MPG city, 38 highway, the Fiesta is now leasing for $139 a month for 24 months, with $2,139 down at signing.
- Ford Focus SE: The Focus leases for $159 a month for 24 months, with $2,378 down. The car is rated at 26 MPG city, 36 highway, but a special high-mileage version is rated at 40 MPG in highway driving.
- Ford Escape: The 2012 Escape -- 23 MPG city, 28 highway -- is leasing for a remarkable $159 a month for 24 months ($2,898 down) given that the selling price for the small SUV is $26,983. Ford is eager to clear the way for the redesigned 2013 Escape.
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