The Chevy Sonic Is December's Worst Car To Lease

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Senior Pricing Analyst

As CarsDirect’s resident pricing analyst, Alex offers must-know analysis of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured in publications such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and Autoblog.

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, Senior Pricing Analyst - December 26, 2019

While some cars can be great to lease, others can be downright awful. After looking at over 300 leases in December, we've determined that the 2020 Chevy Sonic succeeds at being the absolute worst car to lease. Despite a range of holiday car deals, the Sonic is one car that should be avoided if you're looking to lease.

The Sonic LT hatchback has a nationally-advertised lease starting at $329 for 39 months with $2,389 due at signing. The price includes an allowance of 10,000 miles per year and is based on an MSRP of $19,420. Its effective cost? $390/month. At that price, the Sonic is an exceptionally poor value for the money.

That's $7 more than a 2019 Honda Accord 2.0T Sport. The Accord is listed at $319 for 36 months with $2,299 at signing, or $383/month based on an MSRP of $31,640. For $1 more than that, you could lease a 2020 Buick Envision ($384 based on an MSRP of $34,695, the cheapest lease on a luxury SUV).

The list goes on. For an extra dose of fun, there's the 2019 Kia Stinger Turbo ($380) and 2020 Honda Civic 1.5T Touring ($387). You could even step up to a 2020 Acura TLX ($348 when switching brands, one of the best leases on a luxury car).

Believe it or not, the Sonic actually has the same effective cost as a 2019 Chevy Blazer 1LT despite a difference in MSRP of over $14,000. The Blazer is listed at $289 for 36 months with $3,629 at signing, or $390/month.

So why is the Sonic such a bad car to lease?

First, the Sonic isn't eligible for any sort of discount when leasing. In contrast, those planning to buy will enjoy up to $4,104 in savings based on this month's Employee Pricing sale or an option to take 0% financing for 72 months plus $1,500 in bonus cash.

Second, the Sonic has an interest rate equivalent to 4.6% APR. Finally, the car in question has a residual value of just 36%. Lower residuals typically translate to expensive leases. For reference, the 2019 Honda Fit LX has a residual of 57%. At $240/month, its effective cost is $150 (per month!) cheaper than the Sonic.

Based on our last review, the Sonic features a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that can be fun to drive. While the car lacks the latest driver assistance tech, it does offer desirable features like Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, decent cargo capacity, and steep discounts when buying rather than leasing.

See All This Month's Top Lease Deals »

, Senior Pricing Analyst

As CarsDirect’s resident pricing analyst, Alex offers must-know analysis of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured in publications such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and Autoblog.

Follow On: Twitter

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