Never leased a car but I could image the feeling, like a rental "its not my car".
Back to lease in eternal, I would always have a dark cloud over me saying its not my car, I can't modify to my liking. I only purchase with cash or will finance on occasion if they are offering one of those ridiculously low 0.9% or less type deals where their cash back alternative isn't there.
I reached a point where I don’t want to mod a car beyond floor mats and a license plate frame, radar detector mount. Just buy one that is well set up, enjoy it as the original designers choose. Even if I wanted to track again, I’d go to Hethel and ask them to make me a turn key car.
And I came to realize that we never really own anything in this life. We just take care of things for a while.
Downside is that no matter what lease you get, it’s like ordering food in a nice restaurant. As soon as the order is placed, the waiter walks by with something that looks better.
Right after leasing the Lexus, Aston came out with mind blowing lease deals on the Vantage. Same monthly, 0 down. Of course tax and insurance etc would be a lot more, and the Lexus is nice, carefree. But still....
As a 'drive it until the wheels fall off' guy, I think the best thing about leases is that two year old low mileage cars come off lease after being under a specified care regime having depreciated and been burn-in tested under someone else's watch.
Further, a two-year-old car is unlikely to develop mysterious design flaws - you've had two years for bad things to show up in the population.
Lease returns are a great choice for a wife/kid/family car if they meet your requirements.
When someone turns in a lease prematurely, the leasing company has that car on their hands. It’s possible to get some real deals if you pick up that lease. The companies that are holding the cars are motivated, often even offer cash incentives.
Some of the cars offered for the “release” are pricey cars, maybe the original lease holder just could not afford them?
Gotta be some downside, maybe they ran hell out of them before turning them in. Or left a dead fish in it.
If cost is your main concern, buying is always better than leasing. This assumes you are buying something that doesn't have a catastrophic weakness.
If cost is no object, then yeah, leasing a new car every 3 years is solid. You get something new all the time. You rarely have to deal with maintenance. My biggest issue with leasing is the mileage limits. For my primary car, we put about 18K-20K a year. That really makes lease prices unattractive, and also the process is also annoying. You essentially are trying to predict how many miles you need before you need it, and the penalties are unattractive. Also at those mileages, you can't get away having to do tires & brakes in the lease period.
Like shakham, leasing is a tough option for me as well. I drive just about 15-20k miles a year and the mileage limits would put me in a not very cost effective position. With that said, I love owning my cars, too. Usually, when I pay off my daily, I keep it for a couple years with no monthly payments. And if I decide to upgrade, I can still use my car as a trade-in and start the process over. I truly prefer the feeling of owning than "renting".
Leasing never works for me. I buy things without an end game. If I love it, I will keep it 5-10 yrs. If I hate it and want to unload it, a lease is entrapment. I always want to be able to do what I want with MY vehicle, be it tune, mod, sound, etc.
Many folks that lease thru their businesses are not REALLY playing by the rules. Lease mileage is supposed to exclude to/from work driving. Supposed to be inter day driving required by the job. HELOC deductions have gone away, I see the lease coming to an end soon as it is also abused. In life, home ownership means you stop paying rent. Why rent a car, your second biggest financial expense usually??
It is the old accountant financial assessment. People that lease say they beat the buying system. No accountant I have spoken to supports that. Many states consider a lease a liability. A purchase is an asset.
Mileage is not the issue anymore, as it gets spread out over the 5 vehicles. I usually drive ~30k/yr
As far as the depreciation hit on luxury vehicle, those of us that know the game know ways to avoid that. If you buy big ticket new....YOU KEEP IT and spread that hit out over more years.
I gave up playing keeping up with the Jones, a prime motivator in the leasing game, years ago. Within the year, all 5 vehicles will have a title in my possession in the SDB. It took years to climb the ladder away from the financial climb, but now I am in control, not the leasing company.