Best new car discounts on American cars for Memorial Day 2014

Notable discounts on cars, trucks, and SUVs made in the USA

Published: May 21, 2014 02:00 PM

Memorial Day weekend may be known for barbeques, parades, and road trips, but it can also be a great time to buy a new car. The airwaves will be trumpeting big discounts for the holiday weekend, and our analysts have seen that there are real deals to be had on good cars. To help with your shopping, we’re spotlighting the best deals on Consumer Reports’ Recommended, American-made models.

To ensure these picks are good cars, as with all our Best New Car Deals, each meets Consumer Reports' criteria to be recommended. These vehicles scored well in our testing, have average or better reliability in our latest subscriber survey, and performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated. In the spirit of the holiday, we focused the list on just those models that are made in the United States, regardless of brand.

Each vehicle highlighted below is available with at least a 10 percent discount off the retail price in national rebates and hidden dealer incentives. Others may also carry regional incentives, enabling further savings for informed negotiators, especially members of the military. Specific pricing details on these and other trim variations are available on the model pages. The models are ranked by percentage off MSRP.

While all good cars, the profiles below provide our candid insights based on our typically extensive testing. Click through the model names to read the complete road test, and check detailed pricing, reliability, owner costs, owner satisfaction, and other key data.

What is an 'American car'?

Calling a vehicle "American" is becoming increasingly difficult, with the Chrysler 300 built in Canada, the Ford Focus sourced from Mexico, and the Ram pickup truck assembled in Michigan with an engine from Mexico and transmission from Germany. Meanwhile, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and other brands have been manufacturing stateside for years. Making a patriotic car purchase can mean targeting models made in the United States, those offered by domestic brands, or potentially both. If buying "Made in the USA" is a goal, be sure to check the window sticker on the specific model you are considering.

See all current Best New Car Deals, or use our New Car Selector to create your own list of vehicles by sorting and filtering by the factors that matter most to you.

Jeff Bartlett

Build & Buy Car Buying Service

In addition to research and reviews, Consumer Reports offers subscribers access to the Build & Buy Car Buying Service at no additional cost. Through this service, a nationwide network of more than 7,000 participating dealers provide upfront pricing information, as well as a certificate to receive guaranteed savings off MSRP (in most states). The pricing information and guaranteed savings includes eligible incentives. Consumer Reports subscribers have saved an average of $2,919 off MSRP with the Build & Buy Car Buying Service.

Photo: Chevrolet

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

Looking for a serious workhorse, and significant savings? The outgoing 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD is designed for heavy towing and hauling. An all-new version has hit showrooms, meaning remaining last-generation examples have to move. On the popular crew cab, 4WD version, we’re seeing potential savings of more than $6,000. The standard engine is a 6.0-liter V8. Our tested 397-hp, 6.6-liter turbodiesel was rated to produce a whopping 765 lb.-ft. of torque and could carry close to a 2,500-pound payload. Braking and handling capabilities come close to those of the Silverado 1500. Handling is not agile, but it has a modicum of responsiveness that other three-quarter-ton trucks don't provide. An HD truck may be more than most consumers need. Shoppers should note there are also big deals right now on the redesigned 1500.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab 4WD
$49,325 $46,914 6/2 15%+
Photo: Ford

2014 Ford Expedition EL

A full-sized SUV with a full-sized discount, the Ford Expedition is a tool for big jobs. It is offered in standard and EL, for extra length, configurations. The EL stands outs for its hefty discount, and it is capable of seating eight, toting a massive amount of cargo, and generous towing capacity. The roomy third-row seat folds flat into the floor or seats three adults with ease. The coarse-sounding V8 produces 310 hp, and it is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Our tested EL felt sluggish and returned just 13 mpg overall. Handling is relatively responsive for such a large vehicle, but braking distances are long. An updated 2015 Expedition launches in the fall.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Ford Expedition EL XLT 4WD $48,780 $46,641 7/7 15%+
Photo: Acura

2014 Acura TL

Acura is sending off its upscale TL sedan with a notable rebate, as it makes way for the TLX—a slightly smaller model that will supplant the TL and TSX. The Ohio-built TL's high point is its slick and punchy 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic, which returned a good 24 mpg overall. We found the handling taut and the ride compliant and firm, with good isolation from bumps. Steering is rather vague. The well-finished interior is cluttered with buttons, even without the optional navigation system. The front seats are well shaped and supportive, but the rear seat is tight. An AWD model with a 3.7-liter V6 and tauter suspension is also available.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Acura TL
$36,925 $35,023 7/7 15%+
Photo: Ford

2014 Ford Mustang

The smart Mustang money is on the V6 coupe, with a low base price and 305 horsepower on tap, it delivers a lot of bang for the buck—especially with a chunky rebate. With the next-generation Mustang just months away, Ford is already putting a bundle of cash on the hood. The refined and punchy V6 attained an impressive 24 mpg overall in our tests, including 35 mpg on the highway. Despite its old-school, solid-axle rear suspension, the Mustang feels agile and athletic and maintains an even keel winding through twisty turns. Quick, well-weighted steering conveys a decent amount of road feel. A rolling piece of Americana, the Mustang boldly waves the flag and boasts big-time incentives.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Ford Mustang V6 Premium
$27,435 $25,990 7/7 15%+
Photo: Chevrolet

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

The Malibu stands out for offering an attractive discount on an already affordable, and appealing, midsized sedan. Refined for 2014 with suspension tweaks and incrementally increased rear-seat space, the Malibu is a comfortable, very quiet midsized sedan. A new 2.5-liter four-cylinder with a start/stop system is the base engine for 2014. A smooth-shifting six-speed automatic is standard. Compared to firmer peers, the Malibu ride is cushy and handling is sound, although our testers feel it gets soggy at its limits. Controls are simple and straightforward. Reliability has been average for all versions.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT
$24,435 $23,845 6/2 15%+
Photo: Acura

2014 Acura ILX

Acura's entry-level luxury compact—built in Indiana—shares its underpinnings with the Honda Civic. But it has different suspension tuning, as well as fancier features and nicer interior materials. Engine choices include three four-cylinder engines: a 2.0-liter base, 1.5-liter hybrid, and a higher-performance 2.4-liter. The base engine and five-speed automatic work very well. Handling is sound, but the ride is choppy and road noise is pronounced, undermining its "affordable luxury" promise. For 2014 Acura upgraded the interior with more standard gear, including heated front seats, a multi-angle rear camera, and active noise cancellation. A frugal, well-dressed small car, the ILX’s appeal is aided by a significant discount being offered for this shopping holiday.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Acura ILX
$27,795 $26,573 7/7 15%+
Photo: Cadillac

2014 Cadillac ATS

Cadillac has long chased BMW, and the new ATS luxury sedan is as close as an American sedan has come to the 3 Series. The ATS is an absolute blast to drive. Its sharp handling and eager performance give up nothing compared with the best European sports sedans, including the BMW 3 Series. We actually prefer the lively steering in the Cadillac over that in the latest BMW 328i we tested. The ride is taut and controlled without being punishing or harsh. Braking performance is outstanding. Interior fit and finish is impressive, and the front seats are very comfortable. However, the CUE infotainment system, with its flush buttons, is very convoluted and frustrating to use.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Cadillac ATS 3.6
$42,020 $40,376 6/2 10%+
Photo: Buick

2014 Buick Enclave

The corporate cousin of the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, the upscale Buick Enclave uses the same 3.6-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic. Expect 15 mpg in mixed driving on regular fuel. A recent freshening included improvements to the transmission, ride comfort, and interior quality. We like the Enclave's firm, comfortable, and quiet ride, and found its handling agile and secure. The third-row seat is roomy enough for adults, which is a big plus. Fit and finish is excellent. Forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems are available for 2014.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Buick Enclave
$41,815 $40,588 6/2 10%+
Photo: Chevrolet

2014 Chevrolet Suburban

With GM revitalizing its full-sized truck and SUV lineup, last-generation Suburbans have got to go. Consequently, shoppers looking for a massive, versatile truck at the best price could be tempted by this Suburban. Priced under the all-new 2015 version, this body-on-frame SUV carries discounts measured in the thousands. Essentially an extended-length Tahoe, the Suburban seats from seven to nine passengers, depending on the configuration. However, that third row is less comfortable than you might think. Otherwise, the interior is spacious, and its quality impresses. The standard 5.3-liter V8 is merely adequate, delivering a wallet-sapping 14 mpg. But, if you need a rig for big jobs, SUVs don’t get bigger.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Chevrolet Suburban LT 4WD
$53,555 $50,927 6/2 10%+
Photo: Infiniti

2014 Infiniti QX60

Buyers looking for a spacious, quiet, luxurious, and well-finished interior with room for seven without the bulk of a full-size SUV should consider the QX60. Built in Tennessee, the QX60 has a comfortable ride but handling lacks agility. Its 265-hp, 3.5-liter V6 and continuously variable transmission deliver smooth but just adequate acceleration and returned 19 mpg overall on premium fuel. Towing capacity is a low 3,500 pounds. A family-friendly feature is the ability to gain access to the third row even with a child seat installed in the second row. A hybrid version with a 2.5-liter, supercharged four-cylinder is new for 2014. First year reliability has been average.

Make & model MSRP Invoice Incentive expires Potential savings below MSRP
2014 Infiniti QX60 AWD
$44,495 $41,750 5/31 10%+

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