February can be a great time to buy a new car thanks to the Presidents Day deals offered by most car brands. These discounts can lower purchase prices, sweeten lease deals, and reduce interest rates.

Though advertised deals can look enticing, shoppers should do their research before getting serious about a purchase. Invariably, there is a reason some models have bigger discounts than others, such as seasonality or an imminent redesign, or perhaps it is a long-running vehicle that has fallen behind fresher competition.

To accelerate the shopping process, our analysts have studied the latest nationwide offers, then calculated the potential savings when factoring in customer rebates, dealer incentives, and dealer holdbacks.


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To narrow the offers, we focused on those models that meet Consumer Reports’ stringent criteria to be recommended. That means these cars have scored well in our testing, have average or better reliability in our latest member survey, and have performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if they've been evaluated.

In other words, these are great cars worthy of a presidential seal of approval.

Below, we list the Bottom Line price indicating the potential savings and the negotiation target. The closer a shopper can get to this ideal price, the better the deal. The cars are in descending order of potential savings, from $7,629 off a Toyota Avalon to $3,636 off the Buick Encore. The savings span from 12 to 18 percent off of the original MSRP.

Beyond these highlighted models, there are many others that can be had for well under the sticker price, including other trim variations of these examples. (See all current Best New Car Deals.)

Armed with this information, shoppers can negotiate a budget-friendly price on these cars, or use a service like Consumer Reports’ Build & Buy to secure a hassle-free deal from participating dealerships.


CR Build & Buy Car Buying Service

When buying a car, in addition to research and reviews, Consumer Reports offers members access to the Build & Buy Car Buying Service at no additional cost. Through this service, a nationwide network of about 15,000 participating dealers provide up-front pricing information and 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.


2018 Toyota Avalon

2018 Toyota Avalon

Spacious, quick, and quiet, the Avalon is a traditional big sedan updated for modern times. 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 version 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 redesign, based on the new Toyota Camry, arrives in early summer.

Toyota Avalon Limited
Incentives Expire:
 2/28/18
MSRP: $42,195
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $7,629
Bottom Line Price: $34,566

See our complete Toyota Avalon road test and pricing.


2018 Ram 1500

2018 Ram 1500

This is the most comfortable-riding full-sized pickup on the market, yet the Ram is also plenty capable of grunt work. Its coil-spring rear suspension helps cushion the ride, and the spacious cab is luxury-car quiet. Our Big Horn Crew Cab, with its smooth 5.7-liter V8 engine, averaged 15 mpg. The base 3.6-liter V6 is no weakling, but it tows less. The powerful 3.0-liter diesel V6 version is expensive but delivers effortless thrust and returns a class-leading 20 mpg overall. Rear-seat room is generous, and the Uconnect 8.4-inch touch-screen infotainment system is easy to use. The top trim Limited is lavishly furnished inside and benefits from air suspension that lends the Ram a comfortable ride. A redesigned Ram goes on sale soon.

Ram 1500 Big Horn 4x4 Regular Cab
Incentives Expire:
 2/28/18
MSRP: $37,290
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $6,344
Bottom Line Price: $30,946

See our complete Ram 1500 road test and pricing.


2018 Hyundai Elantra

2018 Hyundai Elantra

The Elantra is relatively roomy, easy on fuel, and features intuitive controls. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine returned an excellent 33 mpg overall in our tests but delivers only leisurely acceleration and buzzes unpleasantly as the revs increase. The Eco version feels more responsive but comes at a $3,000 price premium. Although its handling is secure, there isn't much driving excitement. The ride is mostly unobjectionable, but sharp bumps noticeably come through. Road noise is elevated as well. Inside, the front seats in our tested SE are short on lumbar support, though the power seat in the Limited is better. Active safety features and a Sport version with a 1.6-liter, turbo four-cylinder are available. New for 2018 is a GT hatchback version with taut, nimble handling.

Hyundai Elantra SEL 2.0L Automatic
Incentives Expire:
 2/28/18
MSRP: $19,735
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $3,123
Bottom Line Price: $16,612

See our complete Hyundai Elantra road test and pricing.


2018 Ford Fusion

2018 Ford Fusion

The Fusion is a delight to drive, with a supple ride and nimble handling reminiscent of a European sports sedan. All trim levels and powertrains feel solid and upscale, with a well-finished, quiet cabin. We found the optional leather seats to be more supportive than the cloth ones; the rear seat is somewhat snug. The 1.5- and 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engines are powerful enough, but neither has competitive fuel economy. A new high-end version, the Sport, is equipped with all-wheel drive and a 325-hp, 2.7-liter V6. It is quick, comfortable, and quiet, but it costs more than $40,000. The Hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid were updated with more-efficient electric motors. A rotary shift dial and Ford's improved Sync 3 infotainment system highlight the updates to the interior.

Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
Incentives Expire:
 4/2/18
MSRP: $27,120
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $3,944
Bottom Line Price: $23,176

See our complete Ford Fusion road test and pricing.


2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

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.

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.4L AWD
Incentives Expire:
 2/28/18
MSRP: $27,450
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $3,926
Bottom Line Price: $23,524

See our complete Hyundai Santa Fe Sport road test and pricing.


2018 Kia Optima

2018 Kia Optima

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.

Kia Optima EX Automatic
Incentives Expire:
 2/28/18
MSRP: $26,595
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $3,670
Bottom Line Price: $22,925

See our complete Kia Optima road test and pricing.


2018 Ford C-Max

2018 Ford C-Max

The five-passenger C-Max hybrid is a clever, quiet, spacious, and practical hatchback that's based on the compact Focus sedan. It rides well and handles capably. The regenerative braking system recharges the battery when slowing the car, helping with fuel economy. That system, though, makes the brake pedal feel very grabby. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder and electric motor deliver adequate acceleration and seamless transitions between gas and electric power, and the C-Max can run in electric mode up to about 40 mph. We measured an excellent 37 mpg overall with the standard hybrid. Ford's easy-to-use Sync 3 infotainment system is available. The Energi plug-in version was dropped for 2018.

Ford C-Max Hybrid
Incentives Expire:
 4/2/18
MSRP: $24,995
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $3,335
Bottom Line Price: $21,660

See our complete Ford C-Max road test and pricing.


2018 Hyundai Sonata

2018 Hyundai Sonata

This competitive sedan was freshened for 2018 and retains its excellent rear-seat room, easy cabin access, and user-friendly controls. Handling is taut and secure, but the ride is on the firm side and is no longer as comfortable as it used to be. The base 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine is coupled to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission that returns 28 mpg overall in our tests. A more powerful 2.0-liter turbo mated to an eight-speed automatic is optional. The Eco uses a 1.6-liter, turbo four-cylinder paired with a seven-speed automated manual. Outward visibility is a strong point. Blind-spot warning is standard, and forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are optional. Plug-in and hybrid versions are available; the latter returned an impressive 39 mpg overall in our tests. The generous interior makes for a very pleasant sedan.

Hyundai Sonata SE 2.4L
Incentives Expire:
 2/28/18
MSRP: $22,935
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $2,909
Bottom Line Price: $20,026

See our complete Hyundai Sonata road test and pricing.


2018 Kia Sorento

2018 Kia Sorento

The Sorento is functional and refined, and its wide price range makes it an alternative to small and 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 has been updated, and a new eight-speed automatic will arrive in early 2018. 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 scores are a plus.

Kia Sorento EX V6 AWD
Incentives Expire:
 2/28/18
MSRP: $36,990
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $4,310
Bottom Line Price: $32,680

See our complete Kia Sorento road test and pricing.


2018 Buick Encore

2018 Buick Encore

This subcompact SUV has a veneer of luxury and is derived from the small Chevrolet Sonic subcompact sedan. It has a well-finished, quiet cabin and a ride that's better than 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 only fair fuel economy. We got just 23 mpg overall in our tests. In addition, the Encore is expensive, making it a questionable value. The Encore's tidy 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.

Buick Encore Preferred II AWD
Incentives Expire:
 2/28/18
MSRP: $29,395
Potential Savings Off MSRP: $3,636
Bottom Line Price: $25,759

See our complete Buick Encore road test and pricing.