How to Evaluate Car Lease Deals

lease value calculatorAs you may already know from visiting this web site, many automakers regularly offer special limited-time car lease deals.

Are these good deals, or just some dealer trick to get you into the store?

Lease deals are more difficult to evaluate than simple purchase deals. When you purchase a car, price is the only factor that makes it a good deal or not — unless you finance the purchase with a loan, in which case loan interest rate is also important.

However, when you lease, price is also important but so are lease money factor (finance rate), lease-end residual value, and fees. Many car lease ads and TV commercials don’t reveal all these important numbers.  With the combination of these factors and the fact that you don’t even know what some of the factors are, it’s almost impossible to evaluate such deals — almost.

We have created a unique new calculator, the Real Lease Value Calculator, that allows you to simply plug in a car’s MSRP (sticker price), the lease term (months), any down payment, and monthly payment amount to get a RLV Score that tells you immediately if a lease deal is Outstanding, Excellent, Good, Average, or Poor.

car lease deal calculatorFor example at the time of this writing, Toyota is advertising a special lease for the  Toyota Camry LE Sedan for $23,316 MSRP, $189/month, 39 months, and $2188 due at signing.  Of the $2188, $1999 is down payment and $189 is first month’s payment.

Is this a good deal? How does the deal compare to a similar Honda Accord SE sedan advertised lease deal of $25,450 MSRP, $270/month, 35 months, $0 due at signing ($0 down and $0 first month’s payment)?

We plugged in the numbers for the Toyota deal into the Real Lease Value Calculator and the deals scores at 90, which rates as “Excellent,” just short of  “Outstanding.”

We then plugged in the numbers for the Honda deal and get a RLV Score of 97, which rates as a solid “Outstanding” which, with the higher score,  makes the Honda lease the better deal of the two.

It is fairly common for limited-time promotional lease deals from car manufacturers to be rated “Excellent” or “Outstanding”, especially from such companies as Honda and Toyota. Leases from other companies, particularly American car makers, may not rate as high.

This means that all such deals are worthly of consideration and are not a ruse by dealers to simply drag you into the showroom. However, be aware that not all models and styles are included in these deals. If you don’t like the particular vehicle being promoted you may have to settle for a normal lease deal, which will not rate as high in the Real Lease Value Calculator .


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