With some cars already selling as 2016 models, auto makers are rolling out special offers that make selected 2015s look like bargains.
As always at this time of year, various brands are offering zero percent financing. Typically, such financing is comes as an either-or choice to a sizable rebate. But this season, if you qualify, you can in some cases get zero percent financing plus a large rebate.
Getting in on the best deals may depend on what kind of vehicle you want. "Incentives will be smaller on small and midsize SUVs because they're in such high demand right now," said Kelley Blue Book analyst Tim Fleming. But other segments, especially sedans, are full of special deals.
For those who want a shopping spree at the mall instead of a discount on their car, Volkswagen has come up with a novel offer. On the gasoline Jetta (pictured above) you can get zero percent financing plus a prepaid Visa card worth $1,000. The diesel and hybrid versions of the Jetta are excluded from the offer.
One word of caution. The zero percent deals are only for those with very strong credit ratings -- usually a FICO score of 720 or more. But even if you don't qualify for the financing, you can still use rebates to reduce the price of your new car. And if it's an either-or deal with financing or rebate, it may make the most sense to get low-rate financing from your bank or credit union and then take the rebate.
We've chosen the most interesting deals in five categories. Three of these models -- the Chevrolet Cruze, the Cadillac CTS and the Buick Enclave -- are also on our list of the best cars Made in the USA.
Click ahead for more details on the best summer deals.
Small car: Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet has already shown the redesigned 2016 Cruze, which will go on sale early next year. For now, the 2015 Cruze comes with rebates of $3,500 on most versions. Or you could choose zero percent financing for three years. In this case, the big rebate is the clear choice.
Reviewers praise the Cruze for its comfortable ride, competent handling and a trunk that's especially roomy for a compact car. Cruze offers a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that has an EPA rating of 26 miles per gallon in city driving and 38 on the highway. The Cruze is the only American brand small car that comes with an optional diesel engine.
The Cruze list price ranges from $16,170 to $25,660.
Midsize sedan: Ford Fusion
With the 2016 Fusion already on sale, Ford is offering the 2015 model with zero percent financing for six years plus $750 cash back. Reviewers praise the 2015 Fusion for its nimble handling, precise steering and powerful brakes.
The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that is rated for 22 MPG is city driving, 34 on the highway. Test drivers found that engine a bit sluggish and preferred the acceleration of the optional turbocharged 1.5-liter choice. The turbo engine also gets better mileage, rated for 25 MPG in the city, 37 on the highway.
Inside, reviewers like the well-appointed, spacious cabin. The Fusion comes standard with a rearview camera, an important safety feature.
List price on the Fusion ranges from $22,500 to $32,780.
Small crossover SUV: Nissan Rogue
Nissan is offering zero percent financing for five years or $500 cash back. That's a better deal than what's available on most competitive small SUVs. Rogue has an unusually good gas mileage rating -- 26 MPG in the city and 33 on the highway.
Reviewers like the Rogue's smooth ride and supportive front seats. Rogue also has a third row of seats -- rare among its competitors. With tight legroom back there, that third row would work well mainly for small children. Standard equipment on the Rogue includes Bluetooth wireless connection and a rearview camera.
List price on the Rogue starts at $23,040 and ranges up to just above $30,000.
Luxury car: Cadillac CTS
The CTS comes with a choice of zero percent financing for five years or a $2,000 rebate. The CTS ranks No. 1 in upscale midsize cars among reviewers followed by U.S. News Best Cars. Test drivers like its agile handling and strong brakes.
They say the base four-cylinder engine, rated at 20 MPG in the city, 30 on the highway, has adequate power. But they especially like the more powerful optional engines. The six-cylinder is ranked at 18 MPG city, 29 highway and a turbocharged six at 16 city, 25 highway. Reviewers also praise the interior as among the most stylish in this class.
List price for the CTS ranges from $45,345 to $69,900.
Full-size SUV: Buick Enclave
Enclave is offering one of the biggest incentive packages available: zero percent financing for five years plus a $2,250 rebate. The 2016 version, with added features like a WiFi hot spot, is ready for sale this fall, and dealers want to clear out their inventory of 2015 models.
The Enclave can carry up to eight people, and reviewers say that even the third row of seats is comfortable for adults -- often not the case in other vehicles. When it comes to hauling, the Enclave has 115 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third row seats folded down.
The Enclave is powered by a V-6, which test drivers say generates sufficient power to go up steep hills. The Enclave has an EPA rating of 17 MPG in city driving and 24 on the highway.
List price for the Enclave ranges from $39,050 to $49,305.