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The best deals on new cars this summer before 2019 models roll out

Best car deals for Summer 2018

Late summer is usually the best time of year to get new-car bargain because next year's models arrive in late September, meaning dealers are looking to clear this year's models off the lot

The result is a kaleidoscope of cash-back rebates, low-interest loans and attractive lease deals. And of course, you may well get discounts beyond the rebate. The best approach is to negotiate a price with the salesperson then apply the rebate -- not the other way around.

To give you a range of choices, we looked at the details on discount purchase deals, plus low-payment lease deals on two SUVs, one pickup, one mainstream sedan and one luxury model. Here are five of the best current deals on new cars:

  1. Buick Encore This subcompact SUV is offering a rare double: zero percent financing plus cash back. Usually you must choose one or the other. The rebate is for $1,750, and the zero percent loan runs for six years. If you prefer leasing, the deal is $159 a month for 24 months with $4,319 due at signing. Reviewers like the Encore for its nimble handling as well as its comfortable cabin and easy-to-use infotainment system. And the Encore has an excellent record of reliability. The original list prices before negotiations and rebate run from $22,900 to $32,100.

  2. Chrysler 300 If a big, flashy, powerful car suits your taste, Chrysler 300 comes with rebates that range from $6,000 to $7,000 depending on where you live. The 300 isn't offering a promotional lease deal just now. Reviewers like the 300 as a comfortable highway cruiser with plenty of punch if you need to pass -- especially with the optional 363-horsepower V-8. The list prices before negotiations and rebates range from $28,995 to $40,995.

  3. Subaru Outback The Outback comes with zero percent financing if your credit rating is good enough to qualify. Perhaps the best deal here is the lease at $269 per month for three years. The $1,769 due at signing is less than half the lease down payment being asked on other models. The Outback falls on the border between wagon and SUV. Whatever you call it, reviewers like its comfortable seats and capacious cargo space. New for 2018, its infotainment system works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto -- enabling you to easily play music from your smartphone through the car speakers. Outback original list prices run from $25,895 to $38,960.

  4. GMC Sierra Despite strong overall pickup sales, General Motors is offering $2,500 cash back on the Sierra. The lease offering is for $199 a month for two years. Reviewers praise the Sierra for its robust towing capability and strong safety rating as well as spacious front seats. As is typical with pickups, Sierra list prices cover an enormous range from $29,000 to $56,300.

  5. Lexus ES If you've always yearned for a luxury car, this may be your chance. With the 2019 ES already at dealerships, Lexus is offering $4,000 cash back on the 2018 midsize sedan. The lease deal is for $329 per month for three years. Reviewers praise the ES for its strong performance and comfortable ride. And it has a sound track record for reliability. The original list price is just one number, $38,950.

Keep in mind that buying in July and August also has some drawbacks. You have to be flexible about what color car you want. And the exact package of options you prefer may not be available. But if you're OK with that, you can get one of the best options of all: bragging to your friends and neighbors about what a great deal you got.

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