Best deals on hybrid, electric, fuel-efficient cars for September 2018


2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

This month's best deals list includes a newcomer among plug-in hybrids. That could be a great thing for buyers who want the best deal along with the latest technologies.

Our partners at CarsDirect.com, now focus the list of best deals on models that are widely available, not "compliance cars" available only in token quantities in select locations.

Experts expect regulatory changes this year to bring a wider selection of electric and plug-in models to states outside of California. New models are also expected to arrive with longer-range batteries, as well as some electric SUVs. 

Some buyers may be better off waiting for those longer range electric cars and SUVs.

For those who need a car now, or who just want a more efficient hybrid, plug-in, or conventional car, read on.

2018 Nissan Leaf

2018 Nissan Leaf

Electric car

The Nissan Leaf is the granddaddy of modern electric cars. As such, it often offers the best deals among widely available electric models.

This month, lessees interested in a Leaf can drive home a base S model for $219 a month for three years and 36,000 miles, after putting down $3,979 at signing.

That represents a huge $10,025 lease discount (the same as last month). Counting the up-front payment, that amounts to an effective cost of $330 a month, about $70 less than a Chevy Bolt EV.

California buyers and current Leaf owners may be eligible for even steeper discounts.

The deal isn't quite as good on higher trim levels. The Leaf SL gets only an $8,400 discount. The Leaf deals end Oct. 1.

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid drive, Napa Valley, Caifornia, Dec 2017

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid drive, Napa Valley, Caifornia, Dec 2017

Plug-in hybrid

With deals on the Chevy Volt expiring early this month, the best plug-in hybrid lease deal goes to a newcomer, the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid.

Along with the Volt, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid has among the longest electric range of any plug-in hybrid.

For September, lessees in eight Northeastern states that follow California emissions standards can lease a Clarity Plug-in Hybrid for $209 a month for 36 months, with $2,299 due at signing. That gives customers an effective cost of $273 a month.

For those who'd rather buy, Honda is offering 0.9 percent financing for up to 60 months in those states, or for 36 months elsewhere.

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Hybrid

The most affordable hybrid is also a mainstay among hybrid models: The Ford Fusion Hybrid.

The best deal on the Fusion Hybrid is focused on buyers, rather than lessees.

Ford has extended its $3,000 cash back, plus an interest-free financing offer. That financing runs for six years, which is becoming increasingly rare for such a discount. For comparison, the Toyota Prius is only eligible for a $1,000 rebate, with no financing rate discount.

Buyers have to finance through Ford Motor Credit to get the cash back as well as the free financing, so the deal won't work for buyers who pay cash. The good news is, this deal actually makes it cheaper to finance.

2018 Hyundai Elantra

2018 Hyundai Elantra

Fuel-efficient gas car

The Hyundai Elantra takes the prize for the most affordable fuel-efficient car, joining the Fusion Hybrid as one of the few models available with zero percent financing for 72 months along with cash back.

In the Elantra's case, the cash discount is only $1,000, but it's still a rare bargain to come with free financing.

Buyers can also choose a larger $2,500 rebate without the free financing, but Cars Direct's analysis shows that buyers can save $23 and get two extra years to pay off the car by taking Hyundai's financing with the lower discount.

 
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