Brake-O-Rama NJ Auto News For May: 10 best new-car deals for May

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10 best new-car deals for May

By Jim Gorzelany | Forbes.com – Tue, May 7, 2013 7:05 PM EDT
 

It wasn’t that long ago when automakers were slapping several thousand dollars on the hoods of their full-size pickup trucks and SUVs to help bolster sagging sales in the face of a lackluster economy, high fuel costs and changing consumer tastes. It took cash rebates as lofty as $5,000 along with deep dealer discounts to keep sales roughly on a pace with production in either segment.

But that’s no longer the case as big pickup truck sales are booming, due in large part to the nation’s economic comeback. Automotive News reports that big pickup sales rose by an average 27 percent in April and are up by 20 percent so far this year, with Chrysler’s Ram line of trucks seeing a whopping 49 percent increase last month. And with gas prices largely retreating from last year’s record highs, consumers are beginning to take a second look at big SUVs once again. As a result, cash rebates in those segments have shriveled to between $1,000 and $2,500 for most 2013 models.

With industry-wide new-vehicle sales the healthiest they’ve been in years, the average automaker’s incentive was down to $2,466 in April, which the industry research and forecasting company TrueCar says was $137 (-5.3 percent) less than it was in March.

Still, we managed to find a varied assortment of big-money deals for 2013 models across a broad range of automotive segments. While some of the heftiest rebates are for soon-to-be-updated and/or slower-selling models like the Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan and the midsize Dodge Avenger, others are for what many would consider to be highly desirable cars like the BMW 6 Series. Read on for the 10 richest deals for May.

The Fine Print: Additional incentives may apply, such as those often offered to recent college graduates and members of the military and/or owners or lessees trading in same-brand or competing models. Offers may vary by region and are subject to subsequent modification or termination by the manufacturer; cited financing rates are typically open only to qualified buyers with top credit ratings and may vary based on eligibility.

And no matter how great a rebate deal you may be offered, keep in mind that the final transaction price is always open to negotiation. We expect dealer discounts on any of these vehicles will be substantial for hard-nosed hagglers. Be sure to aim for the so-called invoice price as a target, and that’s before deducting any applicable rebate or additional dealer discount.

1. BMW 6 Series

Deal: $5,000 marketing support (plus $2,000 to USAA members) and 1.9 percent financing to 72 months. The hot BMW 6 Series coupe/convertible and the line’s recently added four-door offshoot, the Gran Coupe (pictured here), carry the biggest-money deals this month. Fuel economy fans can choose a 6 Series that comes powered by a 3.0-liter 315-horsepower six-cylinder engine, but the car really comes to life when powered by a 4.4-liter V8 that generates a quicker 445 horses. Handling is sufficiently sporty, with an array of advanced chassis control systems on hand (with all-wheel-drive available on top models) to help the car maintain its poise in even the most demanding situations.

2. Chevrolet Impala

Deal: $4,000 cash (plus $750 to USAA members) or 0.0 percent financing to 72 months. A redesigned 2014 version of the venerable Impala full-size sedan is headed to dealers’ showrooms, but the carryover 2013 model still delivers the most interior room for the money and is the last car in the U.S. to accommodate six passengers via an optional front bench seat. The powertrain is surprisingly modern with a direct-injected 300-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine driving the front wheels . The car’s suspension is tuned on the soft side to favor a smooth ride, though its cornering abilities are leisurely at best.

3. Ford Expedition

Deal: Up to $4,000 cash or 0.0 percent financing to 60 months, 1.9 percent to 72 months. This mammoth full-size SUV is at its best when towing a large boat or trailer while transporting the family to the lake or campsite. A 5.4-liter V8 delivers adequate acceleration with a maximum 9,200-pound tow rating. The Limited and King Ranch versions are the most opulent, with extended-length versions also available for those needing extra third-row seat room and cargo space.

4. Nissan Titan

Deal: $3,500 cash or 0.0 percent financing to 36 months, 0.9 percent to 60 months, 1.9 percent to 72 months. Nissan’s full-size pickup truck never caught on with U.S. buyers who tend to be fiercely loyal to their favorite domestic brands, thus it’s a slow seller even with truck sales booming. While its model line isn’t as diverse or well equipped as the homegrown competition, it still does the job with an adequately muscular 5.6-liter 317-horsepower V8 engine. The PRO-4X model is somewhat appealing as an off-road ready sport truck, albeit one that cuts a wide swath through the wilderness.

5. Infiniti G Convertible

Deal: Up to $3,500 marketing support. Nissan gives its sleek midsize ragtop a marketing boost just in time for sunny summer weather. The G Line is related to the Nissan 370Z, but it’s more luxurious and delivers a slightly smoother ride (though it’s still harsh by luxury-car standards). Performance is plentiful given the car’s lusty 3.7-liter 325-horsepower V6 engine, which can be mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic. The IPL is the sportiest rendition.

6. BMW 7 Series

Deal: $3,000 cash (plus $2,000 to USAA members) and 3.05 percent financing to 72 months. USAA members in particular can avail themselves of a great deal on one of the best big luxury sedans in the industry. The 7 Series continues to deliver ample luxury with energetic overall performance and an exhaustive array of high-tech features in several six-, eight- and 12-cylinder model variations, including a modestly fuel-efficient – though costly – hybrid version.

7. Cadillac ATS

Deal: $3,000 cash (for models built before 11/30/2012) and 0.0 percent financing to 36 months, 0.9 percent to 48 months, 1.9 percent to 60 months, 2.9 percent to 72 months. Cadillac’s answer to the BMW 3 Series is arguably one of the best new cars of 2013. It’s entertaining to drive and is sufficiently luxurious with a sense of style that makes the Beemer seem bland looking. Choose the 3.6-liter 312-horsepower V6 engine for top acceleration, though you’ll have to find one that was built before the end of last November to qualify for the rebate.

8. Dodge Avenger

Deal: $3,000 cash (plus $1,000 to loyalty or conquest buyers) or 0.0 percent financing to 72 months. The midsize Avenger shares platforms, powertrains and most components with theChrysler 200 sedan, but it features exterior styling cues borrowed from the larger Dodge Charger. It’s sportier than the 200, but not dramatically so. Ignore the lackluster base powertrain in favor of the available 3.6-liter 283-horsepower “Pentastar” V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission.

9. Volkswagen Touareg

Deal: Up to $3,000 marketing support or $2,500 leasing cash or 0.0 percent financing to 66 months, 1.9 percent to 72 months. VW’s midsize crossover SUV shares much of its engineering with the Porsche Cayenne, including its turbodiesel and hybrid powertrains, though it lacks that model’s V8 engine offerings. The Touareg handles better than most midsize SUVs and treats its occupants to a roomy, comfortable and nicely cast interior, though its premium priced.

10. Dodge Durango

Deal: $2,500 cash (plus $1,000 to loyalty or conquest buyers) or 0.0 percent financing to 36 months, 1.9 percent to 48 months, 2.9 percent to 60 months, 4.9 percent to 72 months. The big and burly looking Durango is mechanically related to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, though it carries distinctive styling cues and three rows of seats. It likewise rides on a car-like unibody construction that’s built to be more robust than the typical crossover. Still, it handles well on both highways and curvier roads, with its suspension able to soak up bumps nicely. Engine choices include an efficient 3.7-liter 290-horsepower V6 and a 5.7-liter 360-horsepower “Hemi” V8 that’s well suited to heavier-duty needs.

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