Cheap lease deals from manufacturers come, naturally, on the cheapest vehicles they build. However, there’s no guarantee that these are the absolute lowest-priced lease deals out there. Maybe your credit union is offering stupid cheap leases this month. Or there may have been one we overlooked during our survey of manufacturer websites. Don’t use this as the final word. Instead, think of it as a good start toward researching the very best lease for your life’s needs.
Keep some simple things in mind: There’s no substitute for the hard work of research when it comes to getting the best deal. And getting the best deal means negotiating well.
Elements of Negotiation
The cost of a lease is rather straightforward. You (the lessee) pay for the depreciation of the vehicle over the lease term and the cost of the money the lessor is using to purchase the vehicle, plus fees such as security deposits, acquisition fees, disposition charges, and anything else the creative accountants can come up with. Basically, you pay some of the capital costs and fees up front in the form of your initial payment and then a monthly charge that varies with expense and depreciation.
Every element of a lease is negotiable. Purchase price, money factor (interest rate), rarely but sometimes depreciation, and all those additional charges that get tacked on in the normal course of screwing the customers. Always shop for the money first, don’t negotiate on the basis of monthly payments, and never be afraid to ask for a little more sugar to sweeten the deal.
2019 Nissan Sentra SV — $129 per Month, 21 Cents per Mile
Okay, this is for last year’s Sentra. It’s a leftover and, honestly, not as good as the new-for-2020 Sentra. But that in mind, in some regions this remnant is dirt cheap.
In the New York City area, Nissan is offering the 2019 Sentra SV on a three-year/36,000-mile lease for just $129 per month. You’ll need $2626 at signing to inaugurate the lease, which is a lot for a car at this price. But with such low monthly payments, it still works out to only 21 cents per mile. Other regions are offering similar deals and close to these terms. It’s a $139-per-month offer in Chicago, for example. So shop around.
And if you really want the 2020 edition, Nissan is offering it along keen terms as well. A 2020 Sentra SV is available at $169 per month on a three-year/36,000-mile lease after only $1619 at signing. That’s only 22 cents per mile, a mere $393 premium compared to the 2019 over the life of the lease. These deals are good through March 31.
2019 Honda Fit LX — $169 per Month, 22 Cents per Mile
Don’t get hung up with model years on lease cars. After all, what matters is how long you’ll be using it and what the lease contract says it will be worth at the end of its term. Except in cases of major redesign, the nominal year of the car doesn’t necessarily matter. Take this deal from Honda for the leftover 2019 Fits still in stock.
For all intents identical to the 2020 model, the 2019 Honda Fit LX with the CVT is available for $169 per month after $1999 at signing on a three-year/36,000-mile deal. That’s only 22 cents per mile, with additional miles at 15 cents each. Honda is committed to this deal in most regions through March 31.
2020 Kia Forte LXS — $159 per Month, 23 Cents per Mile
No longer a bottom-feeding bargain brand, Kia’s sweet-natured Forte sedan is being featured at $159 per month after $2249 at signing on a three-year/36,000-mile lease. That in mind, while this lease is a solid deal, it may be a better buy in light of Kia’s super-long 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That is, if you’d like to keep a small car for 10 years or 100,000 miles.
Kia also offers the Forte with the same terms and same money at signing on a two-year/24,000-mile term. That, however, raises the cost per mile up to 26 cents. Like the others, Kia has committed to these deals through March 31.
2020 Subaru Impreza — $175 per Months, 24 Cents per Mile
Subie’s unique engineering, flat-four engine and all-wheel drive, and eccentric character are available on a three-year/36,000-mile lease for only $175 per month after $2169 at signing. Like all leases, this one may not be available in every region but is offered in most. While this is for an Impreza with the CVT, Subaru is also one of the few carmakers that has featured leases on vehicles equipped with manual transmissions. Subaru offers this deal through at least March 31.
2020 Mazda 3 Sedan — $179 per Month, 24 Cents per Mile
One of the very best and most rewarding small sedans available, the Mazda 3 is only $179 per month on a three-year/36,000-mile lease in most areas. It’s hard to think of another car available at such a reasonable price that offers such an excellent experience. Mazda is listing this through at least March 31.
2020 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE — $209 per Month, 26 Cents per Mile
Toyota’s lease deals are highly regionalized, so be aware that this one is a Southern California offer and the deal will be different in other regions. Also watch out in the fine print for charges that may not be included in the advertised price—as in New York, where a $650 “acquisition fee” isn’t mentioned until you squint—and watch how the length of the leases vary.
That said, the current Corolla hatch is a pleasant car built like an anvil. And in SoCal it can be had for $209 per month after $1999 at signing. It’s a three-year/36,000-mile lease with no disposition fees at its end—but watch for disposition fees on Toyota leases in other regions. March 31 is the day Toyota will end this offer. Or not. Who knows?
2020 Kia Optima LX — $189 per Month, 26 Cents per Mile
While most of the cars on this list are compacts, Kia’s Optima competes against larger fare like the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. An all-new Optima is on the way, so Kia is blowing out its current-generation car for only $189 per month on a three-year/36,000-mile lease after a reasonable $2499 at signing. That’s a lot of Kia for the money. Offer goes to March 31.
2020 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 — $199 per Month, 28 Cents per Mile
The Mirage is a car that’s easy to loathe, a three-cylinder misery machine that is best avoided like mold on cheese and bootleg moonshine. But Mitsubishi is offering the G4 sedan version at $199 per month on a three-year/36,000-mile lease after a brutal $2999 at signing. Go ahead if you like, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. Offer good through March 31.
2020 Honda Civic Si Sedan — $229 per Month, 28 Cents per Mile
In contrast to the lousy car preceding it on this list, the Civic Si is one of our favorites. Available only with a six-speed manual transmission and a 205-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter engine, it’s a true sporting machine for the cost of plebeian appliances. The monthly $229 chit is relatively high, but it only takes $2099 at signing to light off the three-year/36,000-mile lease. That makes it about as affordable on a per-mile basis as the Mitsubishi Mirage G4. Honda runs even better lease deals on other Civics, but this was a chance to mention the Si and we took it. All Civics are good lease choices.
2020 Mazda CX-30 — $215 per Month, 29 Cents per Mile
Yeah, all the previous entries on this list were for sedans or hatchbacks. In deference to current consumer tastes, here’s a crossover. But in deference to C/D priorities, it’s a Mazda. And it’s only 29 cents per mile. It takes $2999 at signing to get this three-year/36,000-mile deal going, but what you get is a model that’s still new to the market, is earning solid praise, and looks pretty dang good. And your neighbors don’t have one yet. The deal is good through at least March 31.