A wide selection of low lease rates and cash rebates on vehicles ranging from luxury to family-sized SUVs are among the top deals of the month compiled by Kelley Blue Book. While manufacturers have been slowly reining in incentive programs, there are still plenty of great deals available on individual models in highly competitive segments as well as models that just aren’t moving.

Ford is big on the rebate bandwagon and has two models with a lot of cash on them. The 2018 Ford Focus, which starts at $20,120 is currently offering $4,000 cash back. The 2018 Ford Explorer, with room for seven, has $5,000. Both deals are good through the end of the year. Also offering cash rebates is Jeep, which has $4,500 on the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

On the lease front, Acura is pushing out the last of the 2018 ILX models with a $199 per month 3-year lease requiring $2,499. A new, facelifted 2019 ILX has just gone on the market. Hyundai also has a pair of lease offers including $199 per month for 3 years on its 2018 Tucson with $1,899 due at signing. The all-new 2019 Hyundai Veloster can be leased for just $189 per month for 3 years with $2,299 down.

Toyota is offering two lease deals, including a Lexus one. The 2018 Toyota RAV4, which will soon be replaced by an all-new 2019 model, is available on a 3-year $239 per month contract with $1,999 up front. The 2018 Lexus IS sport sedan has a $299 per month 3-year lease with $3,999 down. Meanwhile Subaru has the lowest monthly payment with its $145 per month for 3 years on the 2018 Impreza with $1,975 due at signing. Finally, Mazda has a low $215 per month, 3-year lease on the 2018 CX-5. The deal requires $2,489 cash.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature bows

Speaking of the CX-5, Mazda took the wraps off an upscale Signature version of the vehicle patterned after a similar trim level on the Mazda6. The 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature uses premium materials like Nappa leather, multi-layered wood accents, a 7.0-inch configurable driver display in the instrument cluster as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The new Signature model also boasts heated and ventilated front seats, a premium Bose 10-speaker sound system, head-up display and an all-around view camera. The new Signature model is priced from $36,890, nearly $2,000 more than the former range topping Grand Touring Reserve, which starts at $34,870. The CX-5 is also available in Sport trim from $24,350 and Grand Touring at $30,045.

SUVs still king, but pickups close in

According to Kelley Blue Book’s Brand Watch shopper perception study, SUVs remain tops in consideration among new vehicle buyers, but that trend is showing a slow decline. Meanwhile, those looking at pickup trucks have gone up by 3 percent, which is attributed to the introduction of the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500. Also, buzz surrounding the all-new 2019 Ford Ranger may also be giving a lift to consideration, particularly in the hot midsize truck market.

The study concludes that the SUV trend may be losing some steam because of increased competition. Not only have new trucks been launched, but also significant redesigned cars like the 2019 Nissan Altima, VW Jetta and Hyundai Veloster may be luring some buyers back to this declining segment. Also, new SUV consideration may have an unlikely competitor, off-lease used SUV and crossover models. Because of rising prices, more buyers may be looking at Certified Pre-Owned models instead of getting a new one.

Of note is that even though traditional car sales have dropped significantly, two of the top five most considered vehicles are sedans—the Honda Accord and Honda Civic. Still, the Honda CR-V remains at the top when it comes to vehicle consideration.

Mini on the move?

A report in Automotive News indicates that BMW may allow its Mini dealers to combine some operations with their BMW stores. Dropping sales and high overhead costs associated with maintaining stand-alone showrooms with service bays is said to be behind the move to let Mini dealers share backroom operations

The trade paper said the brand’s growth has stagnated. Originally projected to hit 100,000 annual sales by last year, Mini saw peak sales of 66,500 in 2013. So far this year they’ve retailed only 37,359 units.

"As a dealer and a manufacturer, you have a vision of where the brand is going, and you have to prepare for it," Jason Willis, a member of the Mini National Dealer Council, told Automotive News. "In this case, the vision now isn't what it was when some of these stores were built."

Beyond just sharing service operations, there is also speculation BMW could allow Mini sales from the floor of its main showrooms.

The rundown

Toyota is joining the trend to offering cars with black exterior accents. The 2019 Toyota Highlander and 2019 Toyota Camry Nightshade editions bow at the LA Auto Show.

Speaking of the Los Angeles show, get the latest updates and news by visiting our Los Angeles Auto Show homepage.

How much is enough? Deciding on a down payment can be tricky. We have some tips on determining the right amount to put down on that new car here.

In the market for a new car? Explore these useful tips on how to get the best deal: 

Top 10 deals of the month

Kelley Blue Book’s Complete Guide to Incentives

All you need to know about leasing

Which dealer services are right for you

What you need to know about conditional rebates

New Car Spotlight


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