Your next car — Lease or buy?

Maybe you’ve heard someone swooning about how happy they are to have leased their present vehicle. Or maybe you’ve heard car owners who insist they would “never, ever” consider leasing.

There’s no easy answer
Which path is the right path? With a little research, you’ll soon discover that there’s no “one size fits all” solution. The only real answer is: “It depends.”

Lease or buy — it depends entirely on you, your personal preferences, and your circumstances.

Ask yourself

  • Do you like the idea of driving a brand new vehicle every few years?
  • How many miles do you usually drive in a year?
  • Is the monthly payment amount a major consideration?
  • If you use your car for business purposes, is there a tax advantage to leasing?
  • Is coming up with a downpayment for a new car a problem?
  • Will you be able to afford higher insurance rates if they apply?
  • Do you have kids and pets who will add to the ordinary wear and tear on a car?
  • Would you settle for a used car rather than a brand new vehicle?
  • Are you comfortable that the payments you are making aren’t building up equity?
  • Is there any chance you may need to end a lease earlier than you planned on?

See what others think
You’re likely to find fans of both Lease and Buy options in discussions on the popular Car Talk website hosted by “Click and Clack,” National Public Radio’s Tom and Ray Magliozzii. But read closely and you’ll discover the responses actually only reflect the writer’s personal situation, not a universal truth.

Compare the numbers
SmartMoney’s discussion on the topic includes a handy Leasing Calculator that will let you run the numbers.

What industry leaders say
If money is the basic issue, Edmunds.com concludes that buying a car — whether it is new or used — is more economical than leasing.

And if leasing is your final choice, the folks at J.D. Power and Associates suggest that you should be familiar with “leasing terminology” before you sign on the bottom line.

Take this quiz
Lease or buy — still can’t decide? Maybe this quick six-question quiz at Cars.com will help seal the deal!

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