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Best New-Car Deals of the Week

Consumer Reports logo Consumer Reports 5/25/2018 Jeff S. Bartlett with Todd Young

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This time of year is famous for barbecues, parades, and road trips. But it’s also a great time to buy a new car.

The annual advertising blitz touting car deals beginning Memorial Day and continuing throughout the week promises dramatic savings through new-car incentives, including low-interest financing rates, customer rebates, and special lease deals (some of which have been sweetened with manufacturer subsidies).

To identify standout deals, Consumer Reports’ analysts studied nationwide new-car incentives and discounts that represent savings below the sticker price. We then focused on CR-recommended models, meaning the vehicles scored well in our testing, have average or better reliability in the latest subscriber survey, and performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated.

Some models that have come up short in Consumer Reports’ testing are being advertised with tempting deals, underscoring the need for you to do your research rather than be swayed by the savings alone.

The cars listed below, all 2018 models, appear in descending order of the potential savings off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. The savings span from 21 to 10 percent off the original MSRP. Specific pricing details on these and other trim variations are available on the model pages, along with complete road tests, reliability, owner satisfaction, and other key information.

Also, check our Best New Car Deals, updated monthly. The more extensive list features the new car incentives on models that earn a Consumer Reports recommendation.

 

CR Build & Buy Car Buying Service

When buying a car, in addition to research and reviews, Consumer Reports offers its members access to the Build & Buy Car Buying Service at no cost. Through this service, a nationwide network of about 15,000 participating dealers provide up-front pricing information. Shoppers get a certificate to receive guaranteed savings off MSRP (in most states).

The pricing information and guaranteed savings include eligible incentives. Consumer Reports members have saved an average of $2,853 off MSRP with the Build & Buy Car Buying Service.

Toyota Avalon

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Spacious, quick, and quiet, the Avalon is a traditional big sedan for modern times. Its power comes from a lively 268-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers punchy performance and a commendable 24 mpg overall. The four-cylinder hybrid delivers an outstanding 36 mpg overall. Easy-to-use controls include a straightforward touch-screen infotainment system. Interior noise is subdued. The ride is plush and comfortable, which makes the Avalon an excellent highway cruiser. Advanced safety features, including forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, are standard. A redesigned Avalon arrives in early summer.  

2018 Toyota Avalon Limited

Incentives expire: June 4, 2018

MSRP: $42,195

Potential savings off MSRP: $7,629

Bottom line price: $34,566

Read the complete Toyota Avalon road test.

Research the Toyota Avalon on MSN Autos | Find a Toyota Avalon near you

Ford F-150

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Ford’s big-selling pickup truck has an all-aluminum body, which is about 700 pounds lighter than its steel-bodied predecessor. Engine choices include a new 3.3-liter V6, 2.7- and 3.5-liter turbo V6s, and a 5.0-liter V8. For 2018, the 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter turbo V6s and the V8 are teamed with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Both turbo V6s are quiet and effortless, lending themselves to towing. Fuel economy is commendable. In our tests the 2.7 got 19 mpg overall. The 2.7 is also surprisingly quick from 0 to 60 mph. The cabin is very quiet, but the ride is stiff and jittery. Handling is ponderous but ultimately secure. We recommend getting the optional Sync 3 infotainment system. The 2018 truck also gets precollision assist with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control. Diesel and hybrid versions are on the horizon.

2018 Ford F-150 XLT 4WD SuperCab 6.5' Bed

Incentives expire: July 9, 2018

MSRP: $41,030

Potential savings off MSRP: $6,525

Bottom line price: $34,505

Read the complete Ford F-150 road test. 

Research the Ford F-150 on MSN Autos | Find a Ford F-150 near you

Audi A6

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Audi’s A6 has a comfortable ride and agile handling, strong performance, very supportive seats, and excellent fit and finish. It’s one of our most highly rated sedans and is a perfect long-distance cruiser with a whisper-quiet, roomy cabin. The 2.0-liter, turbo four-cylinder engine works well but has a raspy, less-than-luxurious engine sound. The 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 we tested is smooth and punchy, and returned a commendable 22 mpg overall. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the rear seat is roomy for three adults. The large truck is an added plus. Although the infotainment system’s center controller and screen take some getting used to, the system ultimately proves logical.

2018 Audi A6 2.0 Premium Plus AWD

Incentives expire: July 2, 2018

MSRP: $52,875

Potential savings off MSRP: $6,132

Bottom line price: $46,743

Read the complete Audi A6 road test.  

Research the Audi A6 on MSN Autos | Find an Audi A6 near you

Kia Optima

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Kia’s midsized sedan packs a lot of substance and value. It drives nicely, with a firm yet absorbent ride and responsive, secure handling. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is pleasant and returned 28 mpg overall in our tests; the uplevel 2.0-liter turbo-four packs more punch. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is also available. Both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are available. The EX trim features comfortable leather seats, automatic climate control, a roomy rear seat, and heating for the seats and steering wheel. The controls are very intuitive to use, but the low-mounted dash vents tend to blow more air on your hands. Blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning are standard. But forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are optional and only on top trims.

2018 Kia Optima EX

Incentives expire: May 31, 2018

MSRP: $26,595

Potential savings off MSRP: $5,670

Bottom line price: $20,925

Read the complete Kia Optima road test.   

Research the Kia Optima on MSN Autos | Find a Kia Optima near you

Kia Sorento

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The Sorento is functional and refined, and its wide price range makes it an alternative to small or midsized SUVs. Three engines are available: the base 185-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder; a 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four; and the smooth and quiet 290-hp, 3.3-liter V6. For 2018, the six-speed automatic transmission has been updated, and a new eight-speed automatic is available. The cabin is quiet, and the ride is comfortable and composed. Handling is responsive and secure. Supportive seats and simple controls help make the Sorento easy to live with. Available safety gear includes forward-collision warning, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as a surround-view monitor. Good crash-test results are a plus.

2018 Kia Sorento EX V6 AWD

Incentives expire: May 31, 2018

MSRP: $36,990

Potential savings off MSRP: $5,060

Bottom line price: $31,930

Read the complete Kia Sorento road test.    

Research the Kia Sorento on MSN Autos | Find a Kia Sorento near you

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

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Hyundai’s five-passenger midsized SUV received a number of updates, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning. It also improved to Good from Marginal in the IIHS small-overlap crash test. This roomy SUV has a comfortable ride and a quiet interior. Power comes from a responsive 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission. We got a decent 23 mpg overall with this drivetrain. A more powerful 2.0-liter, turbo four-cylinder is also available. Handling is sound and secure but not exceptional. The well-finished cabin is packed with a lot of standard features, but rear visibility is so-so.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.4L AWD

Incentives expire: May 31, 2018

MSRP: $27,480

Potential savings off MSRP: $4,676

Bottom line price: $22,804

Read the complete Hyundai Santa Fe Sport road test.     

Research the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport on MSN Autos | Find a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport near you

Hyundai Santa Fe

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The Santa Fe is available with advanced safety features such as a multiview camera, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning. This is still a roomy and comfortable three-row SUV built for family duty. Its 3.3-liter V6 engine is mated to a smooth, responsive six-speed automatic transmission, a combination that attained 20 mpg overall in our tests. Handling is sound and secure. The settled, compliant ride that blunts pavement imperfections is another plus, and it lets the SUV sail smoothly on the highway. The well-finished cabin brings a lot of features for the money. Access to the cramped third row is somewhat difficult. Hyundai’s updated Blue Link system features remote starting via mobile phones.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.3L AWD

Incentives expire: May 31, 2018

MSRP: $33,580

Potential savings off MSRP: $4,575

Bottom line price: $29,005

Read the complete Hyundai Santa Fe road test.      

Research the Hyundai Santa Fe on MSN Autos | Find a Hyundai Santa Fe near you

Toyota Highlander

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The Highlander ranks among the best midsized three-row SUVs, with a desirable balance of an absorbent ride, responsive handling, and generous interior space. A third row allows seating for eight in a pinch—seven with optional second-row captain’s chairs—and folds flat easily to increase cargo space. The punchy 3.5-liter V6 engine is now matched to an eight-speed automatic. While this new transmission isn’t as smooth as the previous six-speed one, it helped improve fuel economy to 22 mpg overall. The hybrid version gets 25 mpg overall. It’s a long reach to some controls, particularly the touch screen. The Entune system includes a larger 8-inch screen. A comprehensive suite of safety technology, including automatic emergency braking, is standard.

2018 Toyota Highlander XLE V6 AWD

Incentives expire: June 4, 2018

MSRP: $41,375

Potential savings off MSRP: $4,512

Bottom line price: $36,863

Read the complete Toyota Highlander road test.       

Research the Toyota Highlander on MSN Autos | Find a Toyota Highlander XLE near you

Buick Encore

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This subcompact SUV has a luxurious veneer, and it has a well-finished, quiet cabin and a ride that’s better than that of a number of larger SUVs. On the downside, the Encore’s little 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission combine to deliver plodding acceleration and just 23 mpg overall in our tests. In addition, the Encore is expensive, making it a questionable value. The Encore’s small size makes it easy to maneuver, and its handling is sound but unexceptional. The interior is narrow and cramped, and the swoopy styling intrudes on the view out of the back. A more powerful Sport Touring version is also available. 

2018 Buick Encore Preferred ll AWD

Incentives expire: May 31, 2018

MSRP: $29,395

Potential savings off MSRP: $4,386

Bottom line price: $25,009

Read the complete Buick Encore road test.        

Research the Buick Encore on MSN Autos | Find a Buick Encore near you

Toyota Tundra

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Despite a freshening that brought improved controls and updates to the exterior and interior, the Tundra still feels outclassed by newer and more refined competitors. It offers a standard two-door regular cab and two sizes of crew cabs. You can choose between a very powerful 5.7-liter V8 and a 4.6-liter V8. The six-speed automatic is very smooth and responsive. Handling is secure, but the ride is jittery, especially with the TRD off-road package. The cabin is very roomy, but it’s a long reach to some controls. Towing performance is extremely capable. The damped rear tailgate is easy to raise and lower. Updates for 2018 include standard forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning.

2018 Toyota Tundra 4WD SR5 CrewMax 5.5' Bed 5.7L

Incentives expire: June 4, 2018

MSRP: $40,865

Potential savings off MSRP: $4,217

Bottom line price: $36,648

Read the complete Toyota Tundra road test.         

Research the Toyota Tundra on MSN Autos | Find a Toyota Tundra near you

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2018, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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