Where to find the best car deals

After a tough winter, chances are you can't wait for real spring weather. Car dealers feel the same way. With winter sales cut back by severe weather, dealers are eager to clear unsold vehicles off their lots. And that means good deals for car shoppers.

"Consumers will benefit from auto makers and dealers who are willing to move standing inventory at a steep discount," says chief analyst Jesse Toprak of cars.com. With the aid of manufacturers, who more than ever want to keep inventories under control, dealerships are offering a variety of low-interest loans, rebates and low-payment lease deals if your credit rating qualifies you for these offers.

In addition to these stated deals, you should be able to negotiate down the selling price. Even where a rebate is offered, you can achieve further discounts with determined negotiating.

Here is a closer look at a selection of deals on 2014 models cited as among the best by cars.com.

Low-rate financing

Ram 1500: Chosen recently by Consumer Reports as the best pickup, this RAM comes with an offer of 1.9 percent financing for 36 months. In an unusual combination, dealers also are offering rebates of up to $1,500 along with the low-rate financing.

Toyota Avalon: Toyota's large sedan is praised by critics for its roominess and quiet, comfortable ride. Dealers are offering the Avalon with zero percent financing for 36 months.

Rebates

Buick Enclave: This midsize SUV is family friendly with three rows of seats. Critics like its responsive handling and well-appointed interior. In an attempt to attract new buyers, General Motors is offering a $4,131 rebate to shoppers who currently do not own or lease a GM vehicle.

Toyota Prius: One of the earliest hybrids and still among the top-ranked vehicles for gas mileage (51 MPG in city driving, 48 on the highway), the Prius carries a $1,500 rebate.

Lease deals

Honda Civic: One of the best-selling small cars, the Civic LX models with continuously variable transmission can be leased for $159 a month for 36 months with $1,999 due at signing.

Toyota Prius: As is often the case, Toyota is offering a choice of a lease deal on its hybrid in addition to a rebate for buyers. If you prefer leasing, the Prius is offered at $279 a month for 36 months with $999 down at signing.

  • Jerry Edgerton On Twitter»

    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.

Comments

Market Data

Market News

Stock Watchlist