Up to $8,000 cash back and 0% financing are among September's best deals

Front ends of line of cars

The big push is on to move 2006 models off dealer lots with some truly giant rebates and lots of low-cost financing deals being announced this week.

Most manufacturers are offering car buyers a choice of either cash back or cheap loans. Some manufacturers are still offering 0% financing on some 2006 models.

Of course the best deals are on pickups, minivans and sport-utility vehicles that have not sold well since gas rose to $3 a gallon.

But a deal's a deal if you're in the market for a new car or truck, there are a lot of money-saving opportunities out there.

Chrysler is offering 0% financing for 36 months on most of its 2006 models, and up to 60 months of 0% interest payments on Town & Country minivan and Pacifica crossover. Or, you can get cash allowances from $750 to $1,250 on the popular 300 Sedans and up to a $4,000 discount on some minivans.

Jeep is also offering cash allowances of up to $3,500 on the Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs, or 0% financing for 60 months. The Jeep Liberty and Wrangler come with lower cash allowances, but the Liberty also has the 0% for 60 months.

We found a few other deals that are intriguing:

Saab is offering 0% financing for its 2006 9-3, 9-5 and 97X models, and $5,000 cash back plus a $500 bonus on the 9-2X.

Lincoln is offering $7,000 cash back on the Town Car and $8,000 cash back on the Lincoln LS, or you can choose 0% financing for 60 months on either model, or 2.9% financing for 72 months. The Navigator SUV comes with $5,500 cash back or 0%-5.9% financing from 36-72 months.

Kia has 3.9% to 5.9% financing or cash back on many of its models, with others combining a low APR with a cash bonus. But the best deal from Kia is on the 2006 Sorrento, which features 0% financing for up to 60 months or 2.9% for 72 months or a $4,000 rebate.

In spite of a 17% increase in sales for August, Toyota still has 2006 models it wants to unload. The best deal is on the Sequoia full-size SUV, which is available with 0%, 1.9% and 2.9% financing for 36, 48 or 60 months, respectively, or up to $3,000 cash back.

Similarly, the Sienna minivan offers 1.9%-3.9% financing with up to $2,000 cash back. The Highlander and the 4Runner, both SUVs, have low APR financing or up to $2,000 rebates. The Camry Solara offers $500 cash back.

Chevrolet was the first in the GM stable to come out with its September incentive package for 2006 models. Most cars have the option of 4.9% financing or a cash allowance that ranges from $500 to $1,500, depending on the model.

The best deals are on Impala, Malibu Maxx and the Malibu that does not have the L61 engine. You can get a $1500 cash rebate on these cars or 0% financing on a limited contract. On the other hand, there are no rebates available on the 2006 Aveo, but you can get up to 4.9% financing on these hatchbacks.

As you might suspect, we are big fans of low-cost loans. Typical manufacturers' offers are based on the length of the payments, such as 0% for 24 months, 2.9% for 36 months, 3.9% for 48 months, or 4.9% for 60 months.

These rates are far less than what you'd pay for the typical auto loan and they can save you a ton of money.

Let's say you were borrowing $20,000 for 60 months at 7.94%, which is national average in our most recent survey. You'd be paying $405 a month and $4,314 in interest over the life of the loan.

But at 4.99% your payment drops to $377 a month and you only pay $2,640 in interest or 38% less.

Mazda doesn't have 0% financing, but it is offering up to $3,500 in customer cash plus either a $500 or $1,000 MAC bonus.

And even Jaguar is jumping in, offering its 2006 X-Type 3.0 and X-Type Sportwagon at 1.9% for up to 60 months.

That's why you should know about all the incentives available before you go shopping and absolutely before you begin bargaining.

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