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Best deals on hybrid, electric, fuel-efficient cars for May 2016

A new month brings more deals on hybrid, electric, and fuel-efficient cars.

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    A Toyota Prius Prime is seen during the media preview of the 2016 New York International Auto Show in Manhattan, New York (March 23, 2016). Toyota is offering great incentives on some of its hybrid models during the month of May.
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A new month brings more deals on hybrid, electric, and fuel-efficient cars.

Incentives change from month to month as manufacturers try to boost sales of certain models, clear out inventory, or make them more competitive on price.

So, as always, this month you'll see some models that have appeared in this feature previously, some newcomers, and some offering greater discounts than before.

For more information, head over to CarsDirect.

Hybrids

The 2016 Toyota Prius is an all-new model, but Toyota is already offering significant incentives to sell it.

Toyota doubled its cash-back incentives compared to last month, bringing them to a maximum of $1,000 in most regions.

It also extended a 0-percent APR financing offer from 48 months to 60 months.

Finally, lease payments on its signature hybrid model were cut by $30, bringing a 2016 Prius Two lease down to $229 a month for 36 months.

That's with $1,999 due at signing, and a cap of 12,000 miles per year. The offer expires May 31.

Note that Toyota offers both the standard Prius and the more-efficient Prius Two Eco.

The Eco gets an EPA rating of 56 mpg combined, rather than the 52 mpg combined of the other models, but is reportedly harder to find on dealer lots.

Meanwhile, buyers who can live without a brand-new model should consider the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid mid-size sedan.

The rest of the Optima lineup was redesigned for 2016, but the hybrid carries over unchanged for one more model year.

The best current lease deal for the Optima Hybrid is $193 a month for 24 months.

That requires buyers to put $1,499 down, and adhere to a limit of 12,000 miles per year.

If you're unsure about that offer, you have plenty of time to mull it over, as it stands until July 5.

Plug-in hybrids

Another mid-size sedan is May's best plug-in hybrid deal.

The 2016 Ford Fusion Energi is available to lease for $189 per month for 36 months through July 5.

That's with $1,999 due at signing, and a cap of 10,500 miles per year.

A mildly updated 2017 Fusion Energi will appear later this year with revised exterior and interior styling, and a handful software tweaks.

Ford expects its 19-mile electric range to remain unchanged, but claims the updated model will have a more refined driving experience.

Electric cars

If you can find one, last year's 2015 BMW i3 electric car is a great deal.

Both the monthly lease payment and down payment were slashed by $70 on any 2015 models remaining in inventory.

That means the battery-electric i3 is now available at $159 a month for 30 months, with $4,084 down.

The range-extended i3 REx leases for $189 over the same period, with $4,114 due at signing.

Both lease include a 10,000-mile annual cap, and the offers last through the end of the month.

Another option is the 2016 Nissan Leaf S, the base model of the best-selling electric car.

Through the end of the month, Nissan is cutting the lease payment by $10, and the amount due at signing by $400.

That brings the lease down to $199 per month for 36 months, with $1,999 down and a cap of 10,500 miles per year.

Note that the Leaf S is the only version to use the smaller, 24-kilowatt-hour battery pack, which is rated at 84 miles of range.

A 30-kWh pack that increases range to 107 miles is standard on the pricier Leaf SV and SL trim levels.

Fuel-efficient gasoline cars

Significant incentives continue for the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage even as updated 2017 models go on sale (there was no 2016 model).

Last month's $3,500 cash-back offer was cut to $3,000, but that still represents a discount of up 21 percent off the MSRP.

In contrast, there are no current incentives on the 2017 Mirage, which gets revised styling, suspension tuned specifically for the North American market, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto tech, among other changes.

A Mirage G4 sedan also joins Mitsubishi's U.S. lineup for 2017.

The popular 2016 Honda Fit rarely gets incentives, but Honda is changing its tune this spring.

Certain models of the subcompact hatchback get their lease payments cut by $20, and down payment by $200, through July 5.

The Fit is now available to lease at $159 per month with 36 months, with $1,999 down and 12,000 miles per year.

As the Toyota "youth brand's" time runs out, the 2016 Scion iA—possibly the best-driving subcompact model on the market—remains a notable deal.

Scion continues to offer 0 percent APR financing for 60 months, and a $500 cash bonus on its first (and last) sedan.

After the Scion brand is terminated in August, the iA will live on as the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA beginning with the next model year.

This article first appeared at GreenCarReports.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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