• Automakers tend to offer great deals on new car models headed towards replacement.
  • Several brands are replacing popular models in 2012, leading to great deals on remaining inventory.
  • The best deal is on Ford's compact Escape SUV, which is available with up to $4,000 cash back and zero percent interest for 60 months.

If you're looking for great price on a brand new car, it's no secret that some of the best deals in the auto industry are on models nearing replacement. While many car shoppers want the latest and greatest, consumers who don't mind last year's model often find aging designs offer heavy incentives and low interest rates but include all the benefits of a new car, from full warranty coverage to an odometer that hasn't cracked the double digits. We've compiled a list of some of today's best deals on cars nearing replacement for consumers who don't mind being out of style if it means getting a great deal.

BMW 3 Series

It won't be long before BMW's sixth-generation 3 Series makes its North American debut, which means it's time for the automaker to sell out remaining versions of the current model. According to BMW, qualified buyers interested in nearly all 2011 3 Series models - including the frugal 328i, muscular 335i, miserly diesel-powered 335d and even the model's all-wheel drive versions - can get interest rates of just 0.9 percent for up to 24 months, or 3.9 percent for 25 to 60 months. BMW is also offering attractive lease rates starting at just $299 per month for up to 36 months on the 328i sedan, or $409 per month for the powerful 335i.

Chevrolet Malibu

An all-new Chevrolet Malibu will roll out in 2012, meaning interested buyers can take advantage of some great deals on the current model, which debuted in 2008. According to Chevrolet, qualified car shoppers looking to financing a 2011 Malibu can get zero percent interest rates for up to 72 months, while cash buyers can take $3,000 off the price of the handsome midsize sedan. The automaker is even extending similar offers to its 2012 models, though the cash back deal drops to just $2,500 and the financing rate extends for just 60 months for the newer year. Regardless, each offer is impressive considering the sedan's impressive fuel economy figures of up to 33 miles per gallon, its standard automatic transmission and its long list of features that includes curtain side airbags, automatic headlights and keyless entry.

Dodge Caliber

Dodge's compact Caliber hatchback is scheduled to be replaced early next year by the Dart, which will share architecture with the European-market Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Although the Caliber can't boast the same European roots as its successor, the five-door does offer a great deal to consumers interested in a practical new car capable of nearly 30 miles per gallon in highway driving. According to Chrysler, qualified buyers interested in the hatchback can now get zero percent interest rates for up to 60 months on all remaining 2011 Caliber models or zero percent for 36 months plus $750 cash back on 2012 models - not bad for a car with an already-affordable starting price of less than $18,000.

Ford Escape

With an all-new model recently announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, now is the right time to buy the current version of Ford's compact Escape SUV, which debuted in 2008. According to the automaker, qualified car shoppers interested in financing a 2011 Escape can get zero percent interest for up to 60 months and $2,000 back on the SUV, while cash buyers can take up to $4,000 back. Consumers who prefer a 2012 model can also secure zero percent financing for up to 60 months, though cash back offers drop to $1,000 for buyers who finance and $3,000 for cash buyers due to the newer model year. That strikes us as a great deal for the roomy SUV, which offers a muscular 240-horsepower V6 and an efficient 6-speed automatic transmission.

Nissan Altima

Although Nissan hasn't revealed any official photos of its upcoming fifth-generation Altima, we expect the popular midsize sedan to make its debut sometime next year. To make room for the new Altima on dealer lots, Nissan is already tacking impressive special offers on the current model, including zero percent financing for up to 60 months on all 2012 Altima coupes and sedans. For buyers interested in leasing, Nissan is offering 2012 Altima sedans starting at just $179 per month with $2,999 due at signing, or coupes for just $249 per month with the same money down. That's a great deal on one of America's top-selling new cars.

Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan recently announced it will show an all-new, fourth-generation version of its Pathfinder SUV at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit. That means the automaker is already preparing to sell down inventory of the current model - great news for consumers looking for a robust SUV designed to tow trailers and haul heavy loads. According to Nissan, qualified buyers can get zero percent interest on 2011 Pathfinder models for up to 60 months, while 2012 models are offered with 0.9 percent interest for 36 months or 1.9 percent for up to 60 months. Cash buyers will also benefit from the Pathfinder's impending replacement, as the automaker is offering $2,000 back on remaining 2011 inventory and $1,500 back on all 2012 Pathfinder models.

What it means to you: If you don't mind being slightly out of style, stick with a new car that's headed for replacement.

author photo

Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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