Compare car leasing

Discover how car leasing can get you behind the wheel of a new car without the commitment of buying.

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Car leasing can be a smart way to drive a new car without the long-term commitment of buying. It offers flexibility, lower monthly payments, and the chance to upgrade to the latest models regularly. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about car leasing, from understanding the basics to finding the best deals. We’ll explain key terms, compare different leasing options, and provide tips to save money. Whether you’re new to leasing or looking for a refresher, you’ll find all the information you need right here.

What is car leasing?

Car leasing is a way to drive a new car without paying for it all upfront. Instead, you pay a fixed monthly amount over a set period, usually between 2 to 4 years. At the end of the lease, you return the car and have the option to lease a new one. Leasing can be an attractive option if you like driving the latest models and want to avoid the hassle of selling a used car. It’s also a great way to enjoy a higher-end car for a lower monthly payment compared to financing a purchase.

Car leasing jargon explained

  • Lease term. The length of your lease, typically 24-48 months.
  • Monthly payment. The amount you pay each month.
  • Initial payment. The upfront amount you pay at the start of the lease.
  • Mileage allowance. The number of miles you’re allowed to drive each year without extra charges.
  • Excess mileage Charges. Fees for driving more than your mileage allowance.
  • Residual value. The car’s value at the end of the lease.

How does car leasing work?

Car leasing provides a flexible and cost-effective way to enjoy driving a new car without the commitment of ownership. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how it works:

  1. Choose your car. Select the make, model, and specifications of the car you want to lease.
  2. Agree on terms. Negotiate the lease terms, including the duration (typically 2-4 years), annual mileage limit, and initial payment (often equivalent to several monthly payments).
  3. Monthly payments. You’ll make fixed monthly payments throughout the lease term. These payments cover the car’s depreciation value during the lease period, plus any finance charges.
  4. Drive the car. Once the paperwork is complete and initial payments are made, you can drive the car as if it were your own.
  5. Maintain and insure. You’re responsible for regular maintenance and servicing as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. You also need to insure the car comprehensively.

How to compare car leasing

Finding the best car lease deal means knowing what to look for. Here’s how to compare leasing options:

  • Monthly payments. Look for a payment that fits your budget. Compare different deals to find the most affordable option. Make sure you can comfortably afford the monthly cost without stretching your finances too thin.
  • Initial payment. Consider how much you can pay upfront. A higher initial payment can reduce your monthly payments. However, make sure you have enough savings to cover this upfront cost without impacting your financial stability.
  • Mileage allowance. Ensure it matches your driving habits. Estimate your annual mileage accurately to avoid excess mileage charges. If you drive a lot, consider a lease with a higher mileage limit.
  • Lease term. Choose a term that suits your needs. Typical lease terms range from 24 to 48 months. A longer lease can mean lower monthly payments, but you’ll be committed to the car for a longer period.
  • Additional fees. Check for any hidden costs. Look out for fees such as excess mileage charges, wear and tear penalties, and early termination fees. Understanding all potential costs will help you avoid unexpected expenses.

Compare car leasing by popular car makes

How can I save money on my car lease

Car leasing can be more affordable if you know where to look for savings. Here are some tips to help you save:

  • Negotiate. Don’t be afraid to haggle on price. Dealerships often have some flexibility in their pricing. You might be able to get a better deal if you’re willing to negotiate.
  • Shop around. Compare deals from multiple dealerships and leasing companies. Different providers can offer different incentives and terms. Taking the time to explore various options can help you find the best deal available.
  • Consider a longer lease. A longer lease can mean lower monthly payments. This is because the cost is spread out over a longer period. However, make sure you’re comfortable with the longer commitment.
  • Limit extras. Avoid unnecessary add-ons that increase costs. While extras like extended warranties or maintenance packages can be tempting, they can quickly add up. Focus on what you really need to keep your lease affordable.
  • Stay within mileage Limits. Stick to your mileage allowance to avoid extra charges. Exceeding your mileage limit can result in costly penalties. Keep track of your mileage regularly to ensure you stay within the agreed limits.

What types of car leasing is available?

There are two main types of car leases, each with its own benefits. Understanding these can help you choose the right one:

  • Personal Contract Hire (PCH). You rent the car for a set period and return it at the end of the lease.
  • Personal Contract Purchase (PCP). You have the option to buy the car at the end of the lease by paying a final ‘balloon’ payment.

What are my car leasing options

Car leasing offers a variety of options to suit different needs and preferences. Here’s a closer look at what you can choose from:

  • Brand new car. Lease a new model with the latest features. Perfect if you want the newest technology and safety features.
  • Nearly new car. Lease a used car that’s a few years old to save on costs. This can be a more budget-friendly option while still offering reliability.
  • Business lease. Lease a car for business use with potential tax benefits. Ideal for business owners or employees who need a reliable vehicle for work.
  • Electric car lease. Opt for an electric vehicle to save on fuel costs and reduce your environmental footprint. Increasingly popular as more models become available.
  • Luxury car lease. Drive a high-end vehicle without the high upfront cost. Great for those who want to experience luxury driving without committing to a purchase.

Car leasing versus buying

Chris Lilly
Finder expert Chris Lilly answers

Choosing between buying and leasing a car involves weighing several factors based on financial circumstances and personal preferences. Buying a car provides immediate ownership with the freedom to customize and modify the vehicle. However, it requires a larger upfront payment and higher monthly financing costs if not paid in full.

Leasing, on the other hand, offers lower monthly payments since you’re essentially paying for the vehicle’s depreciation over the lease term. It allows for driving newer models without concerns about long-term maintenance costs and depreciation. However, leasing typically comes with mileage restrictions and fees for excessive wear and tear.

The decision hinges on usage patterns; buying is more economical for long-term ownership and high mileage, while leasing suits those who prefer driving new cars every few years with lower initial costs and tax benefits for businesses. Ultimately, the choice should align with your financial goals and lifestyle preferences regarding vehicle ownership.

Is car leasing worth it?

Car leasing can be a great option if you like driving a new car every few years, don’t want to worry about the car’s resale value, and prefer lower monthly payments compared to buying. However, if you drive a lot or prefer owning a car, leasing might not be the best choice. Consider your driving habits and financial situation to decide if leasing is right for you.

Pros and cons of car leasing


  • Lower monthly payments compared to buying
  • Drive a new car every few years
  • Avoid the hassle of selling your car
  • Warranty usually covers most repairs
  • Lower upfront costs and down payments


  • No ownership at the end of the lease term
  • Potential for excess mileage charges
  • Possible penalties for wear and tear
  • Lease agreements can be complex
  • May cost more in the long run if you continuously lease

Bottom line

Car leasing provides a flexible alternative to car ownership in the UK, offering lower monthly payments and the opportunity to drive new vehicles regularly. Understanding lease terms, negotiating effectively, and staying within mileage limits are key to maximising savings and enjoying the benefits of leasing.

Frequently asked questions

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Written by

Senior associate publisher

Connor is a senior associate publisher at Finder, specialising in insurance and investing. He's been sourcing and analysing data in both subjects for around 4 years, supporting Finder's publishing team. Connor holds a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Sussex and when he's not at work, you can find him at his local gym keeping fit. See full bio

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