If you're among car shoppers who like leasing, carmakers are offering some exceptionally good deals now. From midsize sedans to luxury cars like the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 (pictured above), manufacturers are backing these low-cost leases.
Leasing, which declined after the 2008 financial crisis, has risen again to 25 percent of new-car transactions. Leases usually offer lower monthly payments than auto loans because you're paying only on the difference between the new-car price and the car's estimated value at the end of the lease after two or three years. With lower payments, you might be able to lease a more expensive car than you can easily buy.
Redesigned for 2015, the Sonata was cited as No. 2 midsize car for the money by U.S. News. Reviewers praise the sedan for its comfortable, quiet ride and interior with high-end materials. Standard equipment includes satellite radio and Bluetooth connection for a smartphone to make calls or stream music. The Sonata's base four-cylinder engine is rated for 25 MPG in the city and 37 on the highway.
Sonata list price begins at $21,150. The lease deal on offer for the Sonata SE is for $199 a month with $1,999 due at signing.
Reviewers praise the Fusion midsize sedan for its nimble handling and quick stopping with strong brakes. They also like the well-appointed interior, ample passenger room and sizable trunk cargo space. The base four-cylinder engine has an EPA rating of 22 MPG in city driving and 34 on the highway.
Fusion list price starts at $22,500. The best lease deal on the Fusion SE version is for $189 per month for 36 months with $2,589 due at signing. You may find some regional variations.
Test drivers like the quick acceleration and nimble handling of the Mazda6. Some found it more fun to drive than its midsize rivals. The four-cylinder engine with automatic transmission is rated at a very strong 26 MPG in the city, 38 on the highway. The base model with automatic has as standard equipment a rearview camera -- an important safety feature to avoid hitting people or objects when backing up.
List price for the Mazda6 starts at $21,190. The lease on the Sport version is for $189 per month for 36 months and $1,999 due at signing.
Consumer Reports named the Forester the best small SUV for a combination of safety, fuel economy and value. In a recent test drive, I found the acceleration quick from a standing start with plenty of power for highway passing from the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. (A more powerful turbocharged engine is an option).
Like all Subarus, the Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive, which typically reduces gas mileage. But the base-engine Forester is rated a more-than respectable 24 MPG city, 32 highway. Inside, the Forester is roomy and comfortable for front- and rear-seat passengers.
List price starts at $22,195. The lease being offered is $249 per month with $1,949 due at signing on the 2.5i 6M version.
Reviewers praise this large SUV for its commodious seating for eight and generous cargo space. They also like the handsome interior design. The Enclave comes with a standard V-6 engine that has enough power to handle steep grades. It's rated for 17 MPG in the city and 24 on the highway -- about average for its class.
List price starts at $39,050. The lease being offered is $349 a month for 39 months with no down payment due at signing.
The CTS ranks No. 1 among midsize luxury cars, according to reviews compiled by U.S. News Best Cars. Reviewers like its handsome lines, powerful engine choices and athletic handling. The base turbocharged four-cylinder engine is rated for 20 MPG city, 30 highway. But a twin-turbo V-6 engine also is an option. Test drivers also like the comfortable and quiet ride in the CTS.
List price starts at $43,805. The lease being offered is for $449 per month for 36 months with $4,349 due at signing.
If you always wanted to drive a Mercedes, here's a chance to consider this sleek model. Reviewers say its turbocharged four-cylinder engine and sporty handling make the CLA250 fun to drive. This engine is rated for 26 MPG city, 38 highway. Test drivers also praise this car's quiet, stylish interior but say room for backseat passengers is tight. The CLA250 comes standard with some important safety features like forward collision assist and drowsy driver alert, which sounds a warning if it detects the driver may be falling asleep.
List price for the CLA250 starts at $31,500. The lease being offered is for $329 per month for 36 months with $3,723 due at signing.