Kia offers free financing and rebates

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Kia is providing zero-interest loans and and modest rebates on two of its most popular models this month.

You can apply for free financing for as long as 60 months on the 2014 Optima midsize sedan or Forte compact and receive $1,000 cash back with the Optima or $500 cash back with the Forte.

The average cost of five-year auto loans for new cars and trucks is 4.03% APR, according to our most recent survey of major auto lenders.

That's why the significant savings you can pocket often makes 0% financing the best discount you can get from a carmaker.

The 2014 Kia Optima starts at $22,500 including destination charges, and the $1,000 bonus cash must be applied to the down payment. If you didn’t pay any more money up front, that would leave $21,500 to finance. Borrow at the national average of 4.03% for five years, and you’d pay about $396 a month.

Compare that to a 60-month, 0% interest-free loan for the same amount. Your payment would be $358 a month.

So taking advantage of 0% financing could drop your monthly payment by $38, saving you $2,280 in interest over five years.

Kia also offers bonus cash of $1,500 instead of $1,000 if you choose to go with financing that’s not interest-free. But is that the best deal?

Our rebate vs. low-cost loan calculator can help you make the right choice, and get the most savings, every time.

One of the reasons the Korean auto company is offering cheap loans on current Optimas is that a redesigned 2015 version debuts this fall, making it anxious to clear out this year's models.

But that certainly isn't the case with the Forte, which was fully updated for 2014.

Use our auto loan calculator to help you budget your monthly payment.

Buyers will need excellent credit to qualify for the best loan rates. There’s no set rule for who is eligible for interest-free financing, but those who have a FICO score in the upper 700s or higher have a better chance of getting the best rates.

Terms may vary across the country, so check with your local Kia dealer for details. Interest-free loans are currently available from Kia Motors Finance through Sept. 2, 2014. (If you’re in Massachusetts or the District of Columbia, the lending arm is Hyundai Motor Finance).

You can also search our database of the best auto loan rates from scores of other lenders in your area. If you choose a car that’s not a 2014 Kia Optima or Forte, or you don’t get interest-free financing, you could still find an affordable loan.

If you’re in the hunt for a new auto, use our 5 simple steps to the best deal on a new car or truck. You can learn how to shop smart and drive home a real bargain.