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General Questions about Leasing Vehicles



  • I know everyone says not to do cap cost reduction on a lease if you can help it due to the risk of losing your down payment if you total the car. But what about a single payment lease? Is there any risk associated with that for the same reasons?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,807
    Single-payment leases work differently..

    For purposes of calculating the lease balance, a single-payment lease is considered to be a payment in escrow, from which the monthly payments are then taken, each month..

    In event of an involuntary termination, then you'd receive the balance of the payments in return.


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • Thanks for the answer.
  • hamm3rhamm3r Posts: 55
    I am looking at leasing my first car & want to make as little a down payment as I am allowed. I have a car to trade in that I will probably get around $9,000 for, but I'd like to pocket the cash instead of putting it toward the lease. Having never leased before I do not know if this is common, rare, or unheard of. My best guess is that it is rare but that it depends on the dealer, but I'm hoping that those of you with more experience will tell me that it happens all the time & I should go for it. Thanks for any advice.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,103
    edited December 2012
    perfectly normal. they will just cut you a check.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    A reporter would like to speak to someone who is going to be in the market for a new car in the next few months because their lease is expiring. If you fit this description, please email your daytime contact info to by Friday, January 25, 2013 at noon PT/3 p.m. ET.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    A reporter is looking for new car lessees. If you leased a new car in the past few months, and would like to share your story, please email your daytime contact information to
  • My husband and I are senior's (72/66). We leased our (2) Chevy Equinox's in 2011 through Ally and they will be turned in in May/June (respectively) 2014. We have very low mileage on them (14000 and 10000) and they are in perfect condition so extra fees are not a concern.

    We have been looking at other vehicles that we think we might be interested in when we surrender our current vehicles. We are going to have just (1) vehicle next time as we don't drive them enough to justify the cost of insurance, gas, and lease payment.

    Since we are retired, would it be cost effective for us to lease another vehicle since we put on so few miles or should we buy a vehicle? We do not want a payment (leased or bought) over $550/mo. How can we get the most bang for our buck? Thanks
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    What other vehicles are you interested in?

    You sound like perfect candidates for leasing again, since you drive so few miles, and your driving circumstances aren't likely to change (e.g., you aren't going to get transferred to a new job). That's the downside for some younger lessees - they lease a vehicle, and then they move house or job, or have a baby, and the vehicle or the lease mileage limit is a problem.

    If by "get the most bang for our buck" you mean you want the nicest vehicle you can get that fits in your budget, then again, my opinion is that you're a great candidate for leasing. Leasing generally allows you to have a lower payment on a nicer vehicle, since you are only paying for part of the vehicle's depreciation.

    Let us know what vehicles interest you, and members can offer more advice.


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  • Thanks for your reply so quickly :)

    We have been thinking about "upgrading" to a Buick Enclave or Nissan Pathfinder or something in that range. We want another SUV because we need the extra space. When we looked at the Enclave my husband had sticker shock..haha

    We had a 2006 Pathfinder LE (loaded!) that we traded for one of the Equinox's and although the Equinox is a nice certainly isn't the Pathfinder :)

    We've looked at the Ford Escape and taken it for a spin. It's in the same size and price range as our Equinox and has a couple more bells and whistles but we weren't overly thrilled with it. I think we're leaning more to a more nicer vehicle. I was tempted to look at the Edge while we there but they haven't had much of a rating.

    We have always owned our own vehicles and we have excellent credit (we've worked all our lives for it!).

    I'm trying to do research on vehicles that we might be interested in before we turn ours in next year. What I'm most concerned with is what the Residual will be.

    We're NOT interested in Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Kia or the like.

    Any advice would be helpful. Thanks
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    OK, so it sounds like you're looking for something in the mid-size SUV range. That will be helpful. I'm not an expert on leasing, but we'll see if others have ideas for you in that range. I will say the Buick Enclave is one NICE vehicle, so you might want to keep an eye on lease specials closer to the time you're ready to make the change (2014). You never know when a manufacturer will offer an irresistible lease special.

    Excellent credit is just one more factor that makes you a great candidate for leasing. The worse your credit, the harder it is to get a vehicle lease. This is partially due to the fact that if you don't take care of your credit, you might not take great care of your "rented" vehicle, and who knows if you would be able to pay for damages or excess mileage at the end?

    In today's world, not owning, but instead leasing, a vehicle can be a smarter financial move for those with good credit than owning, particularly if you are in the RIGHT situation wherein a lease fits your driving patterns and lifestyle. Seniors (and I hate to use that term, as you are around my incredibly NOT senior parents' age) with good credit, who drive few miles and may like to change vehicles every 3 years or so, and like to have a nice vehicle, are very good leasing candidates - it makes a lot of sense. No worries about out-of-warranty breakdowns or non-fixed depreciation.


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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    Also, in your "not interested" category - It seems that you aren't interested in very standard vehicles with no touch of luxury. Would you consider the "upgraded" brands of some of those manufacturers? Toyota & Honda specifically, who offer Lexus and Acura models, respectively. Not a push to get you to commit to anything, just trying to understand what you're ruling out and why.

    Have you considered BMW at all? The X5, which is a small-ish to midsize SUV is showing a $489/month payment in my area. One advantage to BMW leases is that they tend to include all scheduled maintenance, like oil changes, at no extra cost.


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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,807
    I'm going to take another side of this debate... If you are only driving 5K-7K miles per year, then you should really be buying rather than leasing... It's just not cost effective to give away all of those unused miles, when swapping out.

    I might change my mind, if you thought you would drive at least 10K mi/yr, since you are switching to one vehicle.

    If you like the Equinox, have you considered buying one of your vehicles, instead of turning it in? You'll be getting a very low mileage vehicle for the residual price of one with higher miles.

    Assuming you stick with leasing a domestic make SUV, please note that the Enclave is a pretty big vehicle that seats 7-8 people. It might be overkill for your needs. In domestics, I'd suggest the Equinox, Escape or Edge. If imports are under consideration, then you can get a lot of bang for the buck with the Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe..

    The Acura RDX is a really nice vehicle that is similar in size to your Equinox, but maybe a little more luxurious. Stick with the base model (which is still nicely outfitted), and you should be able to stay under $500/mo.


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,143
    I'm thinking the same way as kyfdx regarding purchase vs lease. Paying for miles you don't use on a lease seems to be a slight issue. That said, a lease payment is going to be less than a purchase payment, generally speaking (unless you have a chunk to put down to get your purchase payment in line).

    However, I think Kirstie has a good point, you don't like base or stripper vehicles. If you're trending to more feature rich, luxury vehicles, the afore mentioned Acura RDX or MDX (which was totally redesigned for the 2014 model year) is a good choice, as is a BMW X3 or X5. Both should be available for the monthly payment you've stipulated.

    Good luck and let us know how your shopping goes.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • Thanks for the feedback.

    I'm not sure you and kyfdx read my posts but we are NOT interested in Honda's, which makes the Acura crossed off our list.

    That being said, we've decided to take another lease because we don't drive that much any more and we can realistically keep the mileage down. Why not drive a luxury car for far less a month for 2- 3 1/2 years, depending on the lease, and get a new car again after the lease is up? Why spend $700/mo. for 5 years to buy a vehicle that we still don't put any miles on?

    Next week we're going to test drive a Lincoln MKX and the Enclave. I'm most interested in the Residual for any car that we're interested in.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    edited August 2013
    I have to agree with the others who have suggested that you BUY rather than lease your next vehicle.

    As you get older do you really want to be on the lease treadmill anymore?

    Do you want to face these same decisions three years from now?

    Aren't you better off BUYING something and maybe pay it off in four or five years and at that point OWN it?

    Just my thoughts...
  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 19,380
    If you like the Enclave but don't want to pay that much the Chev Traverse is a very similar model. Keep in mind these are huge vehicles and you may not want to navigate such a big beast especially in town.

    Here is the Edmunds review about the Traverse;

    2017 MB E400 , 2015 MB GLK350, 2014 MB C250

  • Yes, we've decided to look at the Traverse and test drive one. We had a Nissan Pathfinder LE from 2006-2011 and it was similar in size to the Enclave and Traverse. Besides, we had a Dodge dually 1 ton for a few years when we hauled a fifth-wheel, so I'm use to bigger vehicles..haha. We have also had X-terra's and they are a little bigger also.

    Actually, the Traverse's are very nice and can be upgraded a little and would be even more reasonably priced then the Enclave.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Don't forget the other twin...Acadia. It's a nice mix of the Traverse/Enclave. like the GM twins although the FWD version didn't impress with traction on wet roads. I spent two weeks in a rental Traverse awhile back and with nearly new Goodyear Forteras it was tough to accelerate without spinning tires. I'm so used to RWD or AWD these days that was quite annoying!
  • We test drove a 2014 Pathfinder SL with Tech Package yesterday and was so impressed with several features. It's going to be difficult to top it in it's class for the price. We owned a 2006 Pathfinder LE until we leased the 2 Equinox's in 2011. We loved the Pathfinder and really missed the luxury part of it.

    We live where AWD or 4x4 is really a must for the winter's so anything else is non-negotiable.

    We're going to take a look at the Traverse's but I'd be surprised if they will compare to the Pathfinder. The Acadia is a little more pricy than what we want as is the Enclave.

    Surprisingly, the Residual on the Pathfinder is 56%. I don't think the Traverse, Enclave or Acadia is that high. We could have gotten a 2013 Pathfinder Platinum for .09% (.00038) for 36 months and the 2014 was 4.2% (.00175) for 36 months and $1500 down and also rebates.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    My normal daily driver is an '08 Pathfinder so I'm familiar. The new pathfinder is a totally different vehicle now that it's built on a car chassis...but that seems to be what most folks want these days. Those of us that need 4x4 and towing capacity are quickly running out of options that aren't full-size trucks! Sounds like a pretty good lease deal on the '13.
  • Yes, it is a different Pathfinder from what our '06 was. The '14 had a much smoother ride. Not the stiffness of the older ones that were on a truck chassis (I think), but they also have 5,000 towability. Not sure what you need but that's sufficient for a small trailer.

    The other thing we really liked was the ability of every day driving in 2WD, which helps gas mileage and then there's the 4x4 option to switch to and then you can lock the 4x4 in if needed.

    I think if we didn't have 8 more months left on our current leases, we would have driven home a new one yesterday. :)

    Don't go look at them because you'll love them!!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,380
    just curious, but if you are fine with a Nissan, why so adamant about no Honda? And other than being owned by Honda, the Acura SUVs are definitely not Hondas. The RDX (I have a 2013) is much different, and nicer, than a CRV (same size). And from what I have been reading about the new design MDX, it sounds very nice, and certainly competitive to a pathy (though I have no idea how leases will compare!)

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    The new 2014 MDX is in a whole new ballpark compared to any other midsize to large crossover out there, from fuel economy, to performance, to incredible fuel economy and luxury. We had a customer with an Infiniti FX last week looking at the Pathfinder next door, roamed over to us at Acura while still looking and went home in a new 2014 MDX.

    These start at $45185 with AWD, are rated at 27mpg highway with AWD, and as an all new 2014 model, the residuals right now are still incredible in the 66%, etc range depending on how many miles per year you choose. Worth a look.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Since you're low on miles, you can probably trade out just fine now. No need to wait until the end of the lease if the equity is there.

    I go off-road on a regular basis for work and car based SUV's don't work out well. We used to run a lot of Explorers for our engineers and they held up quite well. We bought one of the new Explorers in '11 which is the new crossover style and it has not worked out well. It was demoted to courier duty after about six months.
  • jake26jake26 Posts: 3
    We just received a letter from the dealership stating that we owe a balance of $733 on the down payment for the leased car... (45 days after we got the car) I remember the sales manager even told us not to bring our checkbook as it would be no need...

    we never agreed to pay any down.. in fact we made sure we qualify for the zero drive off and zero down payment before we agreed with the monthly payment of $349. We drove off the lot without paying a dime.

    It is stated though on the Lease Agreement "Amount to be paid in cash" $733

    Weird thing Finance Manager never talked about how are we making this payment and never asked us for the money. isn't it supposed to be amount "due at lease signing" well it was 45 days ago

    What should we say when I call the dealership?

    Any advice would be great and appreciated.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Sounds like you signed a contract stating you owe $733. Unless you have other documentation from the dealership showing this was paid somehow (on the deal write-up perhaps?) you owe the money.
  • jake26jake26 Posts: 3
    If we are obligated to pay this balance then I really do feel that we were mis led and at the same time the dealership is committing fraud for not honoring their advetised deal. I am really considering hiring a small claims attny...
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Have you tried discussing it with them? Do you have anything proving the salesman/whomever promised zero out of pocket? Once you lawyer-up they will no longer discuss this at all so that should be your last resort.

    But in the end, you signed the contract apparently without reading it. Not a good situation to defend really and "I didn't read the contract" doesn't go over well in court. Now if they changed the contract after you signed it....that's more in the realm of fraud.
  • Sebring95 can you expand on this comment a little more: No need to wait until the end of the lease if the equity is there.

    How is there "equity" in a lease vehicle?

    We don't have any particular "dislike" about the Honda's, but they just do not appeal to us even though they have a high residual. Residual is important, but if you don't like the vehicle you're driving it's not worth anything.
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