Lease A Nicer Car For Less Than The Price Of A Taco

By

Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

Follow On: Google+ | Website

, Senior Pricing Analyst - October 12, 2018

Leases can enable you to take home a much better vehicle for less than you think. However, quirks in residual values, interest rates and discounts can make some cars much better to lease than others. In some cases, a much nicer car can end up being as little as $1/month more, less than the price of a taco.

It may be hard to believe, but it's even possible to find two vehicles with MSRPs over $9,300 apart that cost the same amount of money to lease. Our findings are based on a comprehensive analysis of over 400 of the latest offers for the month of October. Examples listed here assume a Southern California location.

Ford Fiesta vs. Mazda Mazda3

Mazda Mazda3

The 2018 Fiesta SE (Sedan, MSRP $17,405) is advertised at $189 for 36 months with $1,979 due at signing, an effective cost of $244/month.

That may sound cheap, but what if you could lease one of the most well-reviewed small cars for just $1/month more?

The 2018 Mazda3 Sport (Sedan, MSRP $20,020) is listed at $189 for 36 months with $1,999 at signing, an effective cost of $245/month.

That makes it a much better deal than the Fiesta despite a $2,600 difference in MSRP.

Shoppers should also be aware that Mazda recently began offering free upgrades to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on Touring and Grand Touring trims.

Learn more about the Mazda3 »

Subaru WRX vs. Jaguar XE

Jaguar XE

The 2019 Subaru WRX (MSRP $28,080) benefits from a high residual value of 58% but an interest rate equivalent to 3% APR. There are also no discounts to speak of, resulting in an expensive lease. The base trim (with manual transmission) is listed at $335 for 36 months with $1,810 due at signing, an effective cost of $385/month.

On the other hand, the 2018 Jaguar XE (MSRP $36,720) is over $8,600 more expensive on paper but just $1 more to lease. You can lease the XE 25t from $289 for 36 months with $3,495 at signing. That comes out to an effective cost of $386/month.

To get to that price, Jaguar is including a $3,100 lease discount and an interest rate equivalent to 0% APR. Interestingly, our analysis actually shows that higher-end trims like the XE 35t Portfolio are eligible for as much as $9,375 in factory lease cash.

Here, upgrading to a more prestigious brand ends up being remarkable affordable. Just be aware that advertised offers from Jaguar assume a 10,000 mile annual allowance, while deals from Subaru include 12,000.

Learn more about the XE »

Toyota Prius c vs. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Toyota RAV4

With an MSRP of just $21,749, the 2018 Prius c One is the most affordable hybrid you can buy. However, leasing is a completely different story.

Because of a lack of lease discounts and a poor residual value of 50%, this month's lease starts at $289 for 36 months with $1,999 at signing. Its effective cost? $245/month.

Believe it or not, that's the exact same deal you'll find on the 2018 RAV4 Hybrid, a vehicle with an MSRP of $31,055. The RAV4 benefits from a $1,500 lease discount, a higher residual of 55% plus an interest rate equivalent to 0% APR.

Here, shoppers can end up paying the same amount of money for a vehicle over $9,300 more expensive.

Learn more about the RAV4 Hybrid »

, Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

Follow On: Google+ | Website