No matter the size of your budget or which car you hope to park in your driveway, the first thing every car shopper should do is decide whether to lease or buy.
There are pros and cons to each option, and the choice depends on a number of factors:
What you want your monthly payments to be, how many miles you drive each year, and how attached you get to your cars. And, from a purely financial perspective, it's important to consider the cost of each option over the entire lifetime of the vehicle.
Buying a vehicle is the more straightforward transaction. Simply put, you're paying for the cost and sales tax for the entire vehicle. If you finance the purchase with a loan, your monthly payments will be determined by the vehicle price, the interest rate on the loan, and the length of the loan. There may also be various finance charges and fees. When you make the last payment on the loan, you'll own your car and can choose to sell it or continue driving it. To get a sense of the monthly payments associated with financing a new Hyundai, visit our Payment Calculator.
When you lease a vehicle, you're only paying for the portion of the vehicle you use over the course of the lease, which usually lasts two or three years. Because you're not making payments based on the entire value of the car, your monthly payments will be lower. There are very specific stipulations about the number of miles you can drive a leased car, the condition the car must be in when it's returned, and penalties associated with ending a lease early, so it's very important to read a lease agreement carefully. As with buying a car, there may also be various finance charges and fees associated with leasing a car.
When you do the calculations, you'll find that you can make some fairly broad generalizations about the cost of leasing versus buying:
- In the short term, the monthly costs of leasing are lower than the monthly costs of buying.
- In the long term, the cost of buying is less than leasing, because the buyer can continue to drive the car after all the payments have been made.
To help you get started in making the decision that's right for you, we've put together a brief list of some of the advantages of each option
- Full ownership at the end of the loan
- No limit on mileage
- Less worry about dents and dings/condition
- Flexibility to customize your vehicle
- Smaller (or no) down payment
- A new car every few years
- You can drive a better car for less money
- No long-term commitment