2011 Chevrolet Cruze

Good deals are still available on smaller, more fuel-efficient models, but that could change if fuel prices stay high or creep up more.

Although incentives in general aren’t as high as just a few months ago due to the improved economy, several automakers are still offering attractive incentives on fuel-efficient cars.

American Honda Motor Co. has a $190 lease deal on its 2011 Honda Civic DX coupe with a manual transmission through May 2, with zero due at signing. The car’s five-speed, four-cylinder engine is rated at 26 city and 34 highway. Honda is clearing out the 2011 models to make way for the new 2012 Civic arriving later this year.

General Motors Co. is offering a $159-per-month lease on the new Chevrolet Cruze small car, with $1,899 due at signing. The base model Cruze LS carries an MSRP of $16,995, with a mileage rating of 26 city and 36 highway. Chevy added the Cruze to its lineup last fall.

GM wants to jump start sales of the Cruze and the automaker has a good opportunity to make inroads in the small-car segment right now, said Jack Nerad, executive market analyst at Kelley Blue Book’s Kbb.com. That’s because Honda is selling down its outgoing 2011 Civic.

Toyota’s 2011 Corolla, with its last major redo in 2008, hasn’t kept pace with the technology and other goodies rivals are adding to their entries in the small-car category. Toyota’s deals on the Corolla vary by region and expire April 4. Depending on where you live, deals range from $500 cash back to $199 monthly leases with $1,999 down for the Corolla S model.

The MSRP on the base Corolla is $16,360, which includes destination charges. The car’s rated miles-per-gallon is 28 city and 35 highway.

Nerad said he expects incentives on small cars to drop if gas prices continue to rise. “So, if you have a small car on your shopping list, it’s probably worthwhile to buy it now before the (current) incentives expire.”

On the other hand, shoppers interested in big trucks should probably wait a bit, he said, predicting incentives in that category will rise.

On less green wheels, there are some good deals on full-size pickups, with Nissan leading the way among all players with an average savings of $4,900 on the 2011 Titan, according to TrueCar.com. The average price paid nationally on the two-wheel-drive King Cab Titan was $23,061 on the MRSP of $27,795.

Toyota has the next-best deal, with an average of $4,550 off the $30,220 sticker price on the 2011 two-wheel drive Tundra, TrueCar.com says.

Buyers of the big-cab, two-wheel-drive versions of Ford’s 2010 F-150 and Chrysler Group’s 2011 Ram 1500 trucks pickups are saving an average of $3,100 off the MSRP, according to TrueCar.com.

Chevrolet’s 2011 Silverado 1500 Hybrid is among TrueCar’s best five weekly deals, with an average savings of $3,920 on the $48,815 sticker.

Also on that list is BMW’s 2010 6 Series, with buyers shaving an average of $9,040 off the car’s $79,325 MSRP.

Buyers looking for more premium models might consider one of KBB’s five great weekly deals- Volvo’s 2011 C30. Volvo is offering $279 leases, with $2,473 down through the end of the month on the two-door hatchback, which has an MSRP of $25,475. The car’s mileage rating is 21 city, 29 highway.

author photo

Jean Halliday is a seasoned journalist with the nation's longest consecutive run covering auto advertising. Her years in the trenches include stints at Automotive News, Adweek and Advertising Age. The native New Yorker now lives outside the Motor City. You can read Jean's blog at AutoAdOpolis.wordpress.com.

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