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Front Page - Friday, July 10, 2020

Behind the Wheel: Summertime car deals less generous but still solid

With summer in full swing, we typically see car dealerships heavily discounting excess inventory around the Fourth of July holiday. But the novel coronavirus and its effects make this year different from most.

Demand for new cars has rebounded over the last couple of months, but vehicle production lines have not yet returned to full capacity, which means shoppers should not expect to see the jaw-dropping discounts of previous years.

That said, Edmunds has identified five vehicles that are both highly discounted and rated well by the Edmunds editorial staff. We’ll let you know what we like about each one, recommend a trim level, and list the kinds of discounts you can expect. All prices include destination charges.

Compact SUV: 2020 Jeep Cherokee

Average discount: $4,989 (15.2%)

The Jeep Cherokee is possibly the most capable compact crossover on the market. All-wheel drive is available on every trim, and the Cherokee Trailhawk comes with upgrades that give it unparalleled off-road performance.

Even if you stick to the pavement, you’ll enjoy the Cherokee’s spacious interior and comfortable seats. There aren’t many drawbacks, but we’re not enamored with its transmission.

While we prefer the off-road-oriented Trailhawk trim, it’s also one of the most expensive Cherokee models. The Limited is more appropriate for most buyers.

Add the technology package, which includes a long list of driver assistance features. 2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited manufacturer’s suggested retail price with options: $34,690.

Full-size pickup: 2020 Ram 1500

Average discount: $7,850 (14.8%)

The Ram 1500 is our top-rated pickup truck for 2020. It is outfitted with the nicest cabin in the class and delivers an exceptional ride thanks to its unique use of coil springs in the rear suspension.

You won’t be overwhelmed with engine choices, but each of the three motors is strong.

Full-size pickup trucks offer so many combinations that it can be hard to recommend a single configuration. That said, the Laramie trim is a great value and opens the door to many of the Ram’s available features.

Our recommended build – a crew cab with the short bed, four-wheel drive, the V8 engine with eTorque, and the Laramie Level 1 package – is well-rounded and can tackle just about every job you throw at it. 2020 Ram 1500 Laramie MSRP with options: $52,175.

Sedan: 2020 Ford Fusion

Average discount: $3,800 (14.2%)

This Fusion generation has been on sale for the better part of a decade, but Ford has kept its midsize sedan remarkably fresh over the years. Highlights include capable handling, the intuitive Sync 3 infotainment system, and a roomy cabin designed with upscale materials.

On the downside, both the standard and midrange engines provide underwhelming acceleration.

We recommend the SE with the sportier turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and the Co-Pilot 360 Assist package of driving aids. 2020 Ford Fusion SE MSRP with options: $28,940

Three-row SUV: 2020 Kia Sorento

Average discount: $4,056 (12.7%)

Few small crossovers offer a third row of seating, and the Kia Sorento is the best of the bunch. It has more interior room than other small three-row SUVs, but the back row is still best for children.

The Sorento is notable for its excellent ride and strong value, though the driving experience is rather joyless.

The standard four-cylinder engine is underpowered; we recommend going with the V6 instead. It comes standard on the S trim, which starts at around $34,000.

If you have some wiggle room, the pricier EX model adds a wealth of luxury and safety features. 2020 Kia Sorento EX MSRP: $36,610

Midsize pickup: 2020 Chevrolet Colorado

Average discount: $4,396 (12%)

The Chevrolet Colorado is the perfect vehicle for buyers looking for an inexpensive, highly useful pickup. Whether you want a no-frills workhorse or a loaded desert runner, the extensive Colorado lineup ensures there’s something for everyone.

The Colorado makes up for its underwhelming cabin materials with a surprisingly comfortable ride and strong payload and tow ratings.

You should find pretty good discounts on our recommended LT trim. It comes with a solid range of features and is available in a wide range of configurations.

We think the crew cab, four-wheel drive and short bed combo is a good start, and the V6 is a worthy upgrade.

The available Convenience and Luxury packages are nice additions that still keep the price within reason. 2020 Chevrolet Colorado LT MSRP with options: $38,310.

Edmunds says

Though discounts aren’t as steep as in previous years, shoppers can still score a great deal on a new vehicle this month.

Make sure to check for low APR offers since finance rates are the best they’ve been in years.

Cameron Rogers is a news and reviews editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @_crogers.