Labor Day means special deals for car buyers

Last Updated Aug 29, 2014 10:00 AM EDT

With Labor Day traditionally tolling the end of summer, you may want to take advantage of another tradition: holiday deals on new cars.

"Labor Day marks the time when dealers move inventory for new vehicles, which means you can find some great deals on existing models," says Michelle Naranjo, editor-in-chief of car-shopping website Autobytel.com. From low or zero interest loans to big cash rebates, deals that cut the price of 2014 models are plentiful because 2015 models already have begun arriving at most dealers' lots.

To point consumers in the right direction, Autobytel, in partnership with loan information site GoBankingRates.com, compiled a list of the best Labor Day deals in various categories. Here are five of the most interesting:

Sedans

Hyundai Sonata Reviewers at U.S. News Best Cars like the Sonata as a spacious sedan with strong fuel economy, rated at 24 MPG in city driving and 35 on the highway. The Sonata comes with either a basic four-cylinder engine or a turbocharged four for better boost. Hyundai is offering a $2,000 rebate on the Sonata or zero percent financing for up to six years if your credit rating is high enough to qualify. List price on the Sonata ranges from $21,450 for the base model up to $28,650 for the best-equipped.

Chrysler 300 For drivers who want a large sedan with a little attitude, Chrysler's entry (pictured above) has sleek styling combined with crisp handling. Its V-6 provides plenty of acceleration and is rated at 19 MPG city, 31 highway. Chrysler is offering cash rebates of up to $4,250 on the 300 and loans with low and zero interest. List prices for the 300 ranges very widely from $30,995 up to $48,900.

Sporty Cars

Ford Mustang If you feel a need for speed, the Mustang is one of the most affordable cars to deliver that performance. The base V-6 engine provides quick acceleration and the V-8 version even quicker boost. The base model with the V-6, rated at 19 MPG city, 29 highway, starts at $22,510. The V-8 version, starting at $32,035, is rated at 15 MPG city, 26 highway. Ford is offering zero percent loans for to six years if you qualify. If you opt for the $36,135 GT Premium version, you can get a $4,750 rebate.

SUVs

Mazda CX-9 reviewers praise it as one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs with quick, responsive handling. The V-6 engine, rated for 17 MPG city, 24 highway, provides plenty of power for highway passing. The CX-9 list price ranges from $29,985 to $36,625. For Labor Day, Mazda is offering a $3,500 rebate or zero percent financing for up to five years.

Ford Expedition With gas prices down, big SUVs like the Expedition are selling strongly again. Nonetheless, Ford is offering rebates of up to $6,000 or zero percent financing for five years if you qualify, plus a$2,500 rebate. The Expedition big-ticket list prices range from $41,995 to $58,855.

If you have a choice between low-rate financing and a rebate, the rebate often is the better deal. But to do that, you need pre-approved financing from an outside source like a bank or credit union.

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    View all articles by Jerry Edgerton on CBS MoneyWatch»
    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.

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