Finding the Best Deal on New Wheels this Memorial Day

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Memorial Day weekend marks the official beginning of summer, as well as a chance for car dealers to use that extra day to try and lure buyers into the showroom. If you have been watching TV, listening to the radio or reading the newspaper, you know there are Memorial Day "blowouts" galore.

More people are in market to buy a new car than even automakers thought would be the case a few months ago. To cope with rising demand, Detroit companies are pulling back on customary summer downtime for workers and telling them they will be needed to turn out more new sheet metal.

Considering their plight a few years ago when General Motors (GM) and Chrysler both filed for bankruptcy, this is a high-class problem to have now.

So, what do you need to know as you scroll shopping sites such as AOL Autos for the your next set of wheels? Here are some of the latest reviews, news and buying tips that will save you money and hopefully make your buying experience the best it can be.
  • Here is our list of the best deals you can get in May based on how much dealers are discounting vehicles off the MSRP. Maybe one of these vehicles is on your wish list: The Best New Car Deals: May 2013
  • While there are plenty of sales and generous lease offers to go with Memorial Day weekend, not every car will be discounted. These are the hardest new vehicles to dicker on because they are so much in demand: The Toughest Cars to Negotiate: May 2013
  • How are you judging quality when you go shopping? It's tough, we know. So many rankings. Hopefully, this gallery of some of the highest ranked vehicles will give you some perspective as you shop: Which Car Companies Make the Highest-Quality Vehicles?
  • Are you a millionaire already? Do you plan to be one soon? Are you interested in making a statement about your success with the car you put in your garage? Perhaps you would like to read Sharon Carty's review of the newest Bentley, the Flying Spur, which she had a chance to test drive in China this month: 2014 Bentley Flying Spur Test Drive
  • Crossovers, what we call compact SUVs these days, have become a popular choice for families as a replacement for the station-wagon. And if you only have one or two kids, you don't really need a minivan. But vehicles such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, while popular, aren't always as safe, according to the ratings, as other vehicles. This story tells you why and gives you some tips and information on why: Safety Can Be Hard to Find Among Small SUVs
  • When you go to negotiate your new car purchase, fees can add a lot of unexpected cost to your final deal. But you don't always have to pay them. You can negotiate them down or away all together. Here is AOL Autos guide to reducing your costs at deal signing time: Don't Pay Car Dealer Fees Without a Fight
  • Are you looking for a reliable high-quality used car? Here is AOL Autos latest list of best deals on used cars under $10,000: Our Favorite Used Cars Under $10,000
The Best And Worst Vehicles For Under $30,000
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Finding the Best Deal on New Wheels this Memorial Day

By Michael Zak | AOL Autos

A recent study looked at the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States to see which median-income households in those respective areas can afford to purchase a new car, the average price of which was $30,550 in 2012, according to TrueCar. The study found that in only one city can residents actually afford a car with this sticker price -- Washington, D.C.

Households with an average income in Washington, D.C. can afford a payment of up to $628, which would allow for purchase of a $31,940 vehicle. The next closest city, San Francisco, can only afford $537 per month, equating to a $26,786.

While it's not news that Americans like to buy things that they can't afford, the data is a little surprising given how many great cars there are out there for well under $30,000. Solid hybrids, CUVs, sedans and sports cars can all be had for less than this.

We've racked our brains and come up with 5 of the best cars that are cheaper than the average car's purchase price. These are affordable, versatile, fun and fuel efficient. Of course, there are some stinkers in this price range, as well, so we've included 5 vehicles we think you should avoid.

Subaru BRZ

MSRP: $25,495 - $27,495
Invoice: $24,327 - $26,112
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg City, 30 mpg Highway

The Subaru BRZ proves that driving bliss doesn't have to cost a fortune. The rear-wheel drive sports coupe is one of the most engaging vehicles on the road today, with utterly superb dynamics and looks. The best part? You can have one for $25,495.

Research the Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ Photos & Information
Subaru BRZ Best Deals
Subaru BRZ Local Dealer Price Quote

Volkswagen Golf

MSRP: $18,095 - $25,200
Invoice: $17,371 - $24,192
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg City, 33 mpg Highway

Although the redesigned 2014 version of this handsome hatch will be on sale in the near future, the current generation is still worth buying. It's fuel efficient, fun and surprisingly versatile. Starting at less than $20,000, the Golf is also quite affordable.

Research the Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen Golf Photos & Information
Volkswagen Golf Best Deals
Volkswagen Golf Local Dealer Price Quote

Toyota Prius v

MSRP: $26,650 - $30,295
Invoice: $24,809 - $28,202
Fuel Economy: 44 mpg City, 40 mpg Highway

The Toyota Pirus v is essentially a bigger version of the popular Prius hybrid. This hatchback acheives stellar fuel economy while allowing for transport of numerous people and all of their stuff. Starting at $26,650, you can have all the benefits of a versatile hybrid for an agreeable price.

Research the Toyota Prius v
Toyota Prius v Photos & Information
Toyota Prius v Best Deals
Toyota Prius v Local Dealer Price Quote

Mazda CX-5

MSRP: $20,995 - $28,595
Invoice: $20,396 - $27,771
Fuel Economy: 26 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway

The Mazda CX-5 is one of our favorite crossovers here at AOL Autos even when taking more expensive ones into account. Remarkably fun to drive, fuel efficient and starting at a low price, there's a lot to love about this agile utility vehicle.

Research the Mazda CX-5
Mazda CX-5 Photos & Information
Mazda CX-5 Best Deals
Mazda CX-5 Local Dealer Price Quote

MSRP: $16,695 - $21,115
Invoice: $16,208 - $20,218
Fuel Economy: 28 mpg City, 38 mpg Highway

This small sedan continue to be the darling of both critics and consumers nationwide. Available with tons of standard features, great looks and sweet fuel economy, the Elantra is one of the best cars on the planet right now.

Research the Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Elantra Photos & Information
Hyundai Elantra Best Deals
Hyundai Elantra Local Dealer Price Quote

MSRP: $18,995 - $32,820
Invoice: $18,770 - $31,334
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg City, 29 mpg Highway

The 200 is a holdover from when Chrysler was owned by Daimler and then private equity-firm Cerberus Capital. It's not that this car is awful, especially since the new Chrysler, managed by Fiat, made a series of improvements. It's that the other cars in this category are so good, and much better designed and engineered.

Research the Chrysler 200
Chrysler 200 Photos & Information
Chrysler 200 Best Deals
Chrysler 200 Local Dealer Price Quote

MSRP: $18,725 - $21,815
Invoice: $17,789 - $20,725
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg City, 31 mpg Highway

The Scion tC is intended to be a sporty coupe. The problem? It's not sporty. At all. In fact, the tC finds itself on the Consumer Reports list of the least fun cars to drive and we're inclined to agree with that assessment.

Research the Scion tC
Scion tC Photos & Information
Scion tC Specs
Scion tC Local Dealer Price Quote

MSRP: $18,995 - $30,795
Invoice: $18,800 - $29,276
Fuel Economy: 19 mpg City, 26 mpg Highway

Short on features and with pretty poor driving dynamics, the Dodge Journey is one you should skip if you're shopping for a sub-$30,000 crossover. We're looking forward to Dodge's next attempt.

Research the Dodge Journey
Dodge Journey Photos & Information
Dodge Journey Best Deals
Dodge Journey Local Dealer Price Quote

MSRP: $25,900 - $29,200
Invoice: $24,452 - $27,507
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway

Don't be fooled by the badge. This is not really a luxury car. With uninspired driving dynamics and a lackluster interior, you should pass on the ILX even though its low sticker price seems very tempting.

Research the Acura ILX
Acura ILX Photos & Information
Acura ILX Best Deals
Acura ILX Local Dealer Price Quote

MSRP: $12,490 - $17,890
Invoice: $11,616 - $16,638
Fuel Economy: 34 mpg City, 38 mpg Highway

The idea of the smart fortwo is great. It's the execution that's the problem. The fortwo is loud, terrible to drive and really isn't all that fuel efficient, considering its size. There are way better options between $10,000 and $20,000.

Research the smart fortwo
smart fortwo Photos & Information
smart fortwo Specs
smart fortwo Local Dealer Price Quote

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