Lease vs. Buy

Leasing

Leasing, rather than buying a vehicle, can be a good option for some. If you lease, your monthly payments will be smaller than if you financed the purchase. Leasing, however, requires some contractual obligations, limitations, and restrictions so it isn't right for everyone.

Purchasing

If you like to keep your cars as long as possible, than purchasing a vehicle is most likely best option for you. Leases expire and there's generally no option for renewing a lease on the same car. So, if you continually lease, you'll get a new car at the end of the term. Therefore, leasing is not a good option for people who like to keep their cars for many years.

Down Payment

Will you be able to make a down payment on your lease or purchase of a vehicle?

  • No. I have no cash or trade-in that I can use for a down payment.
  • Yes, but I can make only a small down payment in cash.
  • Yes. I think I can make a standard down payment with cash or a trade-in.

When leasing a vehicle, a down payment is usually not required (but is offered as an optional way of reducing the monthly payment). In contrast, financing the purchase of a vehicle generally requires a down payment in the form of cash or a trade-in. If you have no down payment in the form of cash or a trade-in, leasing is the best option for you. Normally leases require very little start up cash.

Monthly Budget

What is your Monthly budget?

  • I want the smallest monthly payments possible.
  • I have a limited budget, but I don't want to drive a clunker.
  • I'll spend what I need to get the car I want.

Leases generally offer lower interest rates than car loans. So, monthly lease payments are significantly less than monthly payments on a car loan. If you want the smallest monthly payments possible, than we strongly suggest leasing.

Mileage

Approximately how many miles do you drive each year?

  • 10,000 or fewer
  • 10,000 to 15,000
  • 15,000 to 20,000
  • 20,000 or more

Lease contracts usually limit the number of miles you can drive to 15,000 per year. If you go over the limit, you'll get hit with "excess mileage" charges at the end of the lease. So, leasing is usually not good for people who drive a lot each year. If you drive more than 20,000 miles per year, than it seems that leasing would not be a good option for you. However, you can check the language in your prospective lease. 15,000 miles is the usual limit before excess mileage charges kick in, but if you might drive only slightly more than that amount, you may be able to negotiate a higher mileage limit. Some leasing agreements will give you a higher limit, but you should expect to pay more for the privilege.

New Car Frequency

How often do you want to get a new car?

  • I really want a new car every 3 years.
  • I like to get a new car every few years.
  • I like to keep my cars as long as possible.

Leases expire after two to four years and there's generally no option for renewing a lease on the same car. So, if you continually lease, you'll get a new car every two to four years. If you really want a new car every 2-4 years, leasing would likely be a very good option for you. (Note: When you buy a new car, the value of the car depreciates dramatically as soon as you drive it off the dealer's lot because it immediately becomes a "used" car. So if you buy a new car every two years, you would regularly incur very big losses on your investment in new cars. By leasing, you avoid this significant loss of value.)

Maintenance

How well do you maintain your cars? (Mazda Capital provides a $1,000 damage waiver on all cases)

When you lease, you are required to provide the car with routine maintenance and return the car at the end of the lease with no more than normal wear-and-tear.

Continuing Payments

With a car loan, you can eventually pay off the loan. But with a lease, you'll always make payments for your car. How do you feel about having continual car payments?

  • I have no problem with making continual payments.
  • I rather not make continual car payments, but I will if leasing seems right for me.
  • I'd really like to pay off my car and have no car payments at some point.

When you purchase a car with a car loan, you can eventually pay off your loan and use your car without monthly payments. But with a lease, you'll always make monthly payments on a continuous basis. If you have no problem with the idea of making continual payments for your car than a lease is a good option for you.

Credit Rating

How is your credit rating?

  • My credit is not so good.
  • I think my credit rating is about average.
  • I think I have a good credit rating.

Leases typically require no down payment and lower monthly payments, which means there is more risk for the lease provider. To compensate for this increased risk, lease providers typically require better credit ratings for people who want to lease rather than finance the purchase of a car. If your credit is not so good, you may not be able to get a lease at this time, however we have a wide variety of programs to finance your new vehicle.

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