Car Deals: March 2012
While SUVs and crossovers continue to gain popularity, there are still some great car choices for drivers who don't need to sit up high, carry a ton of stuff, drive through mud or tow heavy loads. And while it's hard to beat the ruggedness of an SUV or the functionality of a minivan, there's no denying that a traditional car still offers plenty of versatility, typically at a lower cost and with better fuel economy. Best of all, many automakers are advertising impressive deals on cars this month to help boost sales and clear out inventory. We've listed some of the most compelling offers to make it as easy as possible to find a great car at a low price in March.
As the midsize Chevrolet Malibu sedan is nearing replacement, now is a great time to get a real deal on the outgoing model. Through the end of April, shoppers interested in purchasing a 2012 Malibu can get zero percent interest rates for up to 60 months or up to $3,000 cash back. For buyers who would rather lease a Malibu, Chevy is offering 24-month lease with just $1,559 due at signing and payments starting as low as $179 per month. Although an all-new Malibu is on the way, we think the current car is still a very competent vehicle, and these deals make it even more appealing.
Although Honda is touting several special offers on the 2012 Accord, we're most taken with the attractive lease rate. The base-level Honda Accord LX can be had for just $199 per month with $1,999 due at signing - that's only slightly higher than the monthly lease payment on the least expensive Honda Civic. Of course buyers who would prefer to purchase their Accord sedan can also get a great deal in March, with interest rates as low as 0.9 percent for 36 months or 1.9 percent for up to 60 months.
The Lincoln MKZ is a luxury car available at a mainstream car price thanks to some special offers from Lincoln. Through the end of March, qualified car shoppers looking to purchase an MKZ can get zero percent interest rates for up to 60 months plus up to $1,500 cash back on all 2012 models. Shoppers with cash in hand (or a loan from their own bank or credit union) can get up to $3,000 cash back. Lincoln is also offering a special lease deal on the MKZ, touting a monthly payment of just $309 per month for 36 months with $2,200 due at signing.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster offers a special blend of sporty handling, fuel efficiency and top-down fun, and through the end of March, it's also available with two enticing lease deals. While we're impressed by the MX-5's $349 per month lease rate with $3,444 due at lease signing for the PRHT removable hardtop model, we're even more taken by the $289 per month lease deal with $3,384 due at signing for the base-level MX-5 Sport. That's because the MX-5 Sport features all the key components needed to enjoy the Mazda MX-5 Miata: a folding roof, a manual transmission, and a surprisingly peppy 167-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder. After more than 20 years, the MX-5 Miata remains one of the best sports cars available at any price.
The latest Volkswagen Jetta sedan may have grown, but the price has shrunk. Through the end of March, the base-level 2012 Jetta S with a standard 5-speed manual transmission can be leased for just $159 per month after $1,999 due at signing, which strikes us a great deal if you can drive a manual transmission. For consumers who would rather purchase their Jetta, VW is offering interest rates as low as 0.9 percent for up to 60 months on nearly all versions of the sedan - an impressive rate that the automaker hopes will inspire many buyers to abandon more popular compact cars like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic in favor of German engineering.
What it means to you: Although SUVs are gaining popularity with consumers, many great cars - and great deals - are still available in today's market.