Leasing a new car can seem appealing, with lower monthly payments compared to purchasing. But not every vehicle is a smart choice when it comes to leasing. Certain models may carry hidden costs and headaches that can make your lease experience anything but smooth sailing.
We spoke to auto experts about specific new cars you may want to steer clear of when considering a lease. We also got their input on general factors to avoid when shopping for a leased vehicle.
The Jeep Wrangler is an off-roading legend, but its reputation for dependability issues makes it a questionable lease choice according to Robert Walden, experienced mechanic and founder of VehicleFreak.
“In spite of being a beloved and legendary vehicle among off-road fans, the 2023 Jeep Wrangler has a subpar dependability rating,” Walden said. “Prospective lessees should carefully consider this model before signing a lease because they may have unforeseen mechanical problems.”
Given the Wrangler’s spotty reliability track record, you run the risk of encountering problems during your lease period, which could lead to unwelcome repair bills and headaches.
While typically regarded as an easygoing daily commute car, the 2022 Nissan Sentra has concerningly low reliability scores according to Walden.
“This car has a low reliability score,” he said. “Those thinking about [the] 2022 Nissan Sentra may just want to hold their horses a bit. This car has a low reliability score.”
Like the Wrangler, the Sentra’s potential dependability issues could leave you saddled with frustrating mechanical problems during your lease. This could dig into your wallet for repairs while diminishing the value of the vehicle come lease-end.
Luxury often comes at a premium when leasing, and the Maserati Ghibli is no exception according to auto expert John Lin of JB Motor Works.
“It’s a luxury piece that loses its value faster than others. This triggers an increased leasing cost to make up for its depreciation,” shared Lin. “Unless your pockets are very deep, this might be a car to steer clear of.”
The rapid depreciation of this high-end sports sedan means you’ll likely pay inflated lease rates accounting for its precipitous loss of value over your term.
Nissan Titan XD
Also on Lin’s lease avoidance list is Nissan’s heavy duty Titan XD pickup.
“The heavy-duty truck has fabulous features, but leasing it would be quite expensive, given its high MSRP and steep depreciation rates,” he explained.
With a lofty starting price and similarly rapid depreciation, leasing this capable but luxurious truck can carry a heavy financial burden in lease payments.
This larger variant of the cute Fiat 500 hatchback is another model to approach with caution according to Shaan Yusuf, mechanical engineer and auto expert.
“The Fiat 500L has faced its fair share of reliability issues including mechanical and electrical faults,” Yusuf said. “These problems might translate into unexpected repair costs during your lease period.”
Ongoing reliability problems make the 500L a risk for expensive mechanical headaches during your lease term.
Yusuf also advises steering clear of the now discontinued Chrysler 200 midsize sedan.
“Its performance was lackluster, and reliability concerns plagued this model,” he shared. “This combination could make leasing the Chrysler 200 less attractive, as you want worry-free transportation when leasing.”
With unimpressive driving dynamics and subpar dependability, the 200 may not hold up well over the course of your lease.
What Else To Consider When Leasing
Beyond specific models, what other factors should give you pause when considering a leased vehicle? Joe Giranda, Director of Sales and Marketing of CFR Classic, provides his expert insights:
Avoid High-End Luxury Vehicles
Giranda advises being cautious when eyeing top-tier luxury cars. “Leasing a brand new luxury vehicle might seem appealing due to lower upfront costs compared to buying. However, they can be deceptively expensive,” he said.
In addition to rapid depreciation that can inflate lease rates, high-end brands often hit lessees with stiff penalties for excessive wear and tear or customizations when returning the car.
Watch Out for Vehicles With Poor Resale Value
“Vehicles that depreciate rapidly, such as certain compact cars, might not be the best to lease,” noted Giranda. “Depreciation is a key factor in lease calculations, and cars with a poor resale value can result in surprisingly high lease costs.”
Avoid Models With Reliability Issues
Per Giranda, it also pays to consider a model’s reputation for mechanical problems. “Some cars are notorious for frequent and costly repairs. Models with a track record of issues can mean more trips to the dealership and potential disputes over warranty coverage and lease-end conditions.”
Factor In High Insurance Costs
“Cars that are expensive to insure can add to your monthly costs significantly,” Giranda said. “This doesn’t just affect your wallet directly, but can also impact the lease terms, as insurers may charge more for leased vehicles.”
Be Wary of Quickly Advancing EV Technology
Regarding EVs, Giranda advises caution with models that may become outdated soon. “Vehicles with rapidly advancing technology, like certain early EVs, can be a risky lease choice. What’s cutting-edge today may be outdated in a few years, significantly reducing the car’s value.”
Avoid Trucks Built For Heavy Use
Finally, Giranda suggests those planning to utilize trucks for rugged work think twice about leasing. “If you’re planning heavy usage, such as certain models of the Chevrolet Silverado or Ford F-Series, leased vehicles often have strict mileage and wear policies that heavy usage can violate, leading to costly penalties.”
Leasing a new car involves more than just comparing monthly payments. Carefully assess factors like depreciation, reliability, and insurance costs to avoid options that may carry hidden expenses and headaches down the road. And steer clear of specific models with histories of issues. Following this expert advice can help you choose a worry-free and cost-effective leased vehicle.
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