To Lease or Not to Lease?

Updated on November 18, 2009
H.D. asks from Worcester, MA
13 answers

Hey Moms,

Just a question.. Do any of you lease your vehicles? I'm currently looking into getting a new car. I just need more space with baby number 2 on the way. I have an '08 Jeep patriot.. which truely is an SUV that is no bigger than some cars! Some cars actually have a larger interior.. particularly the back seat! I just need more room.. Basically a bigger SUV.

I'm looking into two things- either selling my car private party & getting the money and perhaps a bit more to pay off what I still owe & using the pocketed money for a down payment on a larger vehicle. Or of course I can do the trade-in thing but not get enough money to pay off my current loan and who knows what will happen then. Now the question is... Would any of you recommen leasing a vehicle? I've heard so many mixed reviews I'm just not sure what to do.

Also, any suggestions on SUVs.. Who loves their car?! :)

thanks much!

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So What Happened?

I forgot to say I work locally and really only drive locally for the daily necessities. Occassionally, I'll go to Boston for a day trip or to visit friends but I think I would be OK mileage wise.

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answers from Boston on

I love my Subaru Outback Wagon! Plenty of room. I have two kiddos. Fits all sorts of stuff in the back. And the kiddos have plenty of room in the back seat for toy and other things to keep them entertained. Can't beat all wheel drive either! Heated seats and all sorts of perks!

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answers from Boston on

I bought a 2009 Toyota Rav 4 Limited with a V6 engine in June. I absoulety LOVE it! Tons of room, tons of seat and storage configurations, good gas mileage, looks good, plenty of get up and go, etc. etc. (P.S. Don't know much about leasing. It just never seemed like that good a deal to me. I tend to keep my cars forever. My car before this one was a '95 Acura Legend that my 20 year old is now driving. I'm thinking the Rav 4 will go to my 6 year old in 10 years! :-)



answers from Boston on

Hi H.,
The question of to lease or to buy depends on what you want to get out of the vehicle.

Leasing is generally good for people who like to change vehicles every few years, treat their vehicles very well (because they are responsible for returning it very good condition), and use them for short trips because there is a mileage cap per year.

Buying (financing or buying outright in "cash") is generally for people who expect to have the car for many years and put it through "wear and tear."

I can't advise on leasing because I've never done it. I personally shy away from paying for a car that eventually I have to give back, having conditions on how much I get to use it (mileage cap). But some people really like the idea of almost always having a new car. So it really depends on what you like and how much you use the car. If your partner has a car you could use for long distances that would solve that issue. On the other hand, the "mommy" vehicle is also usually the larger family vehicle...

I also don't have an SUV but my sister had a Suburban and loved it except for the gas mileage. She then changed to the Toyota Sequoia and she likes it.

Good luck with your decision.



answers from Boston on

Hi H.

One of my friends with 6 kids (baby and 2 year old) has a Mountaineer from Mercury she loves it.

I think with leasing you have to be very careful with mileage; do you drive for work.

Good luck with the new baby.




answers from Boston on

We lease a Subaru Outback - check it out - there's probably as much room as most mid-sized SUVs but better gas milage, easier to park, etc. And we've had really good luck leasing, because we never know what kind of car we're going to need 3 years down the road. Still, be careful, because sometimes you can get stuck at the end of the lease. Good luck!



answers from Boston on

I love my Toyota 4-Runner. I have owned it for 10 yrs it has 190,000 miles and still looks good & runs well. I have never leased based on the mileage I put on my vehicles, I work full time an hour from home and also have a direct sell business and have to travel for my shows.



answers from Hartford on

We faced the same decision when we were shopping for a safer, more family friendly car before our son was born. We ended up buying for two reasons:

1. We still (like you) owed money on our other car and didn't think we could get enough for it to pay it off (we didn't try private party, like you suggested)
2. We weren't at all worried about mileage (I commute to work via bus), but we were worried about the baby making a mess. We realized this was a non-issue because although he has thrown up in the car several times, it's nothing a good detailing can't fix

There's also the whole leasing is throwing money away argument (same as renting vs mortgage), but because cars retain so little of their value, I don't see that as much of an issue.

I think if we had to do it all over again, we would end up leasing, if we felt we could pay off our old loan first.

As for suggestions for SUVs, I've heard really great things about the Honda Pilot. You can't really go wrong with a Honda or a Toyota.


answers from Boston on

in this economy and the current auto industry, i'd try to sell it private party and pay off your loan first. if you trade it in and get less and have the balance rolled into your new car financing, you'll always be behind and have negative equity in your car.

i'd do all your car research, find the car you want, then put your car on the market, so when you do sell you know exactly what you want and can do a quick turn around.

leasing only works if you drive 12-15K miles a year, your used to getting a new car every 2.5-3 years, and if you are willing to always have a car payment.

personally, when ever we get a car, we always finance it over 60 mos (to get the lowest monthly payment) but do extra payment and pay it off in about 3 years (make sure your loan doesn't have an early payoff fee). this way if one month we have house repair or something big come up we have the option to just pay the actual monthly payment. but normally try to do extra payments each month, or if we have a bonus check come in or something, we do the regular payment every month and then throw the bonus check as a big lump sum to it.

we keep the car for 6 years, and have a payment for 3 years. once the carpayment is done, the other person gets a new car. so we always have 1 carpayment and it alternates every 3 years for who gets the new car.
and we ony have 1 car payment. does that make sense?


answers from Boston on

Hi H.,

I don't think I remember seeing anyone mention insurance. We leased only one vehicle and we don't plan to do it again. We took out the max insurance one does on a new car when you don't own the car, but are making payments. About a month later, we received a letter from our insurance company stating we had to increase the insurance. Why, because the leasing company still legally owns the car and if we were to be in an accident and we were at fault, the other party could also go after the leasing company. It added a sizeable amount to our 6 month premium. Now that my finances are much better, it may be different, however, we vowed never to do it again. Also when it was time to turn the car in, they gave us a drop off point and a year later, we received a bill for a drop off charge of $500. We negoiated and only paid half.

As far as my favorite vehicle, I vowed never to own a Ford. I purchased a Ford Explorer and an older lady one night decided to drive in the wrong lane with NO lights and needless to say we were in a head on collision. My husband (a sheriff deputy), the police at the accident scene and the place where the car was towed, indicated because Ford has an 'X' Frame, it saved my life. My husbands prefers the Tahoe or GMC equivalent. He works on his own cars and says Fords just don't have the room to get around the engine etc.

Good luck in your decision.



answers from Boston on is a great car resource, including info on whether to lease or not.



answers from Boston on

Hey H.,

well I am sure you know that I LOVE my Durango. It's great for 2 kids, just not 3. :) I am not quite sure about Leasing. Todd used to lease his cars and loved the fact that he could trade it in every 3 or so years, however hated the fact that he was suppose to try to stick to a certain mileage every year because he was always over. My sister has a Honda CRV and absolutely loves it but I am not quite sure if it's more room than your jeep or not. Best of luck, if nothing else, car shopping can be fun! :)



answers from New London on

I don't have anything really worth taking advice on leasing-I've never done it. Thought about it and then always bought.
So my advice is on my beloved car. I love when people ask because I do love my car and was brought up in a car family. I've owned 2 cars that I loved. One was a 4 door Acura Integra which isn't what your asking about but I do still miss it.
Now I've always HATED minivans. Swore NEVER to have one, NEVER... But when I just couldn't fit in the SUV we had while pregnant because I either pushed the seat back more for room but couldn't touch the petals or had someone else drive me everywhere. So I finaly roke down and went to a family friend who introduced me to the new (at that time) Toyota Sienna. Looks like a minivan, but has so many great fatures. Can I tell you how my DH was sold instantly who also refused to drive a minivan around. The back windows go down! I still love this feature and have people comment about that all the time and tell me, "This is no minivan." We have the 2006 but you could even get a 2010 at this point. In my opinion and I've had others ask and do research and bought the same car which really impressed my Dad who made us all car people. They love thiers as well. Something my daughter found the other day that I had no idea about was a little compartment under the passanger seat. Which is a feature I like. The middle seat, where you'd place the new little one, comes forward a few inches to help keep them closer and in view better. We love that. We're on our third child right now but princess #2 and its hard thinking on moving princess #1 out of her seat after 4 years but she's more than willing as she calls this "her baby girl."
Best of luck.
Oh and the reason why we bought a Toyota is because after tons of car repairs on our Jimmy I asked my favorite mechanic who at that point was sick of my car as much as I was and he said you can't go wrong with a Toyota or Honda. (the back windows didn't go down in the Honda-DH wasn't having it-lol) My poor mechanic though hasn't seen us in 4 years and wont because we have the free oil changes and a great warrenty package.



answers from Hartford on

Hi H., I leased my first car 6 years ago I also had an option to buy the car at the end of the lease. It was the best choice for me, new car, my mileage was under 12K per year(if you drive more than that leasing might not be a good consideration), any problems were covered under warranty (some limitations)and I wasn't stuck with the car for years if I didn't like it..I had a good experience. I actually chose to buy the car out at the end of the lease and just recently paid it off. It's still worth some decent money that I can use towards the purchase of a new car (like you I am looking to move up to a SUV/crossover for space). For me, leasing was the right thing for me at the time and it worked out great!

As for a car recommendation.. We purchased the Chevy Traverse a few months ago. LOVE IT! Lots of space, third row seating, drives wonderfully and is one of the safer cars on the road, to the best of our research and knowledge. Our friends who are expecting twins loved ours so much that they went out and bought one. Highly recommend it! For myself, I recently test drove the Volvo XC90 and will be purchasing one by the end of the year. Very safe, and still roomy without feeling like you are in a big SUV. Would definitely look at the Traverse though-it's American made too! Good Luck!

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