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Deals of the week: Nissan Rogue, Nissan 370Z, Jeep Patriot, Toyota Highlander

There it was in a big, bold headline on the Nissan Canada website: The Bottom Line Clearance Event. Nissan is promising up to $10,000 in "factory reductions" or 0.0 per cent financing for up to 84 months.

Now why anyone would want to get locked into a car payment for seven years is beyond me. SEVEN YEARS? Even if the interest rate is zero and the car performs flawlessly, by the time the loan is paid off you will be thoroughly sick of that Nissan.

Of course, the appeal of an 84-month term is obvious - a lower monthly payment. And Nissan is not the first and only auto maker to offer seven-year loans to Canadians. This type of deal is all about lowering the monthly payment.

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But the savvy shopper never buys a monthly payment and auto makers are smart never to offer them. From the car company's perspective, locking a customer into a seven-year payment plan pushes that customer out of the purchase cycle for seven years. Not a good idea for car companies bent on churning the fleet - sales-wise -- every three or four years.

For the consumer, long payment plans usually come with a massive price tag in interest costs. You really do not want to pay for a lower monthly payment.

Here's the telling number: $10,971.36. That's how much more you'll pay for a 2010 Nissan Rogue with all-wheel drive if you opt for the 84-month payment plan over the 48-month term. So you'll fork over the price of a brand new Nissan Versa subcompact in extra interest costs to buy a lower monthly payment.

And really, the payment isn't that much lower. The 84-month payment shuffle makes the monthly payment $502,68, versus $651.12 for the 48-month loan. The key here is that Nissan is offering 0.0 per cent financing on the Rogue over 48 months, but on seven-year terms, the interest rate is 8.99 per cent.

Stretching the payment plan to match what you might say is the life of the car - simply to lower the monthly payment - is a waste of money. If saving money is key to your car-buying game plan, don't buy the payment; buy the car.

Finally, take note that if you are a cash buyer, Nissan Canada has a $3,000 factory-to-dealer cash incentive on the table for Rogue buyers. Nissan has $3,000 on the 370Z sports car, too. Here are details for those two deals, plus two others we like.

As usual, Deals obtained most pricing information from, though for this week other sources were also used. Here's a look.

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2010 Nissan Rogue S AWD

MSRP: $25,998

Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $1,660

Dealer discount (estimated): $800

Factory discount: $3,000 (factory-to-dealer rebate; cash only)

Taxable subtotal: $23,858

Total price (with 13 per cent tax) : $26,959.54

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2010 Nissan 370Z Touring coupe

MSRP: $40,498

Freight, dealer prep: $1,650

Dealer discount: $1,500

Factory rebate: $3,000 (non-stackable factory-to-dealer rebate)

Taxable subtotal: $37,648

Total price (with 13 per cent tax): $42,542.24

2010 Jeep Patriot Sport 4WD

MSRP: $19,995

Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax: $1,500

Dealer discount (estimated): $500

Factory discount: $3,000 (stackable Consumer Cash rebate)

Taxable subtotal: $17,995

Total price (with 13 per cent tax): $20,334.35

Factory rebate: $500 (Cash for Clunkers)

Government rebate: $300 (Retire Your Ride)

Final price: $19,534.00

2010 Toyota Highlander V6

MSRP: $37,870

Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax: $1,660

Dealer discount (estimated): $1,500

Factory discount: $3,000 (factory-to-dealer)

Taxable subtotal: $35,030

Total price (with 13 per cent tax): $39583.90

Pricing information source: Calculations based on Ontario customers. Please note that while the information above is accurate at the time of publication, incentives are given at the discretion of individual dealers, and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Dealer discounts are negotiated with the customer on a case-by-case basis.

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