Leasing a car can be a great alternative to other financing options if you’re not quite ready to buy. It essentially allows you to borrow a vehicle for a short-fixed duration with lower monthly and down payment costs. To avoid spending more money in the long run, it’s important to do your research and pay attention to the fine print. To help you out, we’ve compiled a guide outlining the disadvantages and benefits of leasing a car, as well as the best leasing options that will help you save money on your next vehicle.
A car lease allows you to drive a brand-new vehicle for a fixed period at an agreed monthly rate. Leasing doesn’t require a car loan approval or a hefty payment up front, but unlike typical financing plans, monthly lease payments go toward the use of the vehicle instead of the ownership of the vehicle. In other words, it’s a long-term rental, and once the fixed lease period is over (typically between 2 to 4 years), then the customer must either return the car to the leasing company or purchase it for market value.
Leasing a car requires a down payment and monthly payments comprised of rental charges, interest, taxes, and the depreciation costs of the vehicle over time.
There are plenty of benefits to leasing a car, the main one being lower payments. The reason leasing a vehicle is beneficial is that you only pay for the depreciation of the car. Leasing is also a great option if you’re someone who struggles with commitment issues and can’t decide on a vehicle model? Or what interior to choose? A typical car lease contract only lasts 2 to 4 years and spans the early, problem-free days of a vehicle. Once the contract is over, you can trade in your car for an upgraded model, a new colour, or a different vehicle entirely! This comes with the added perk of always being up to date on car manufacturers’ latest features and technologies and this gives you a shot at a fresh warranty every few years, which may even include free oil changes and servicing.
So long as you can drive within the mileage cap outlined in your contract and avoid any major wear and tear damages to the car, you shouldn’t incur any additional fees outside of your monthly payment, regardless of the vehicle you choose.
Before getting too excited about the low-cost, low-commitment pros of leasing a car, it’s important to understand the cons as well. The obvious downside to leasing a car is the fact that, despite making monthly payments, you never actually own the car that you’re driving. Once the lease term ends, you’re required to return the vehicle and restart the process from scratch, with no equity to use toward the purchase of your next ride.
While it may be tempting to jump on an apparently low price tag at first, be careful because, in the long run, it could actually cost you more. It’s easy to get carried away in the cycle of upgrading your vehicle every 2 to 4 years, but repeatedly leasing cars over time will actually carve a deeper hole in your pocket than a one-time car purchase would, and in the end, you’ll have no vehicle to truly call your own.
Another aspect to carefully consider is the vehicle lease contract. Every car lease contract is embedded with rather restrictive guidelines, and if you fail to follow them, you could face costly penalty fees. These guidelines may include a mileage cap, as mentioned above, which restricts you to an annual kilometre limit (typically around 25,000 km/ year) that you’re expected to stay below. If you have a long commute to work or plan on making a few road trips, then you could face steep charges at the end of your lease term.
You can also expect to be charged penalty fees for dings, damages and considerable wear to the vehicle’s interior, exterior or drive performance. And, should you really have commitment issues and want to quit your contract before the term’s end date, be prepared to fork over whatever cash amount remains on your lease, which could be upwards of a few thousand bucks. Although seldom discussed, these additional charges are always outlined in the contract, so be sure to read it thoroughly and pay close attention to the details!
There are a few car leasing options in Canada, and depending on your personal needs and interests, one may be better suited than the others.
Now, the tricky part: finding the best deal possible. Whether you decide to lease or finance your next vehicle, Canada Drives can direct you to the best deals being offered right now at dealerships across the country.
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