Monthly Round-Up: November 2010

I am hitting the November Round-Up real early this month! I know there are some missing numbers from other manufacturers, but I am planning to be off for the Thanksgiving weekend, so I won’t have time to work on this in the next couple weeks. Besides, the major players are in which makes this a fairly complete list.

One HUGE thing to note this month: 2010 lease rates are hard to find once 2011s are in, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t leasing well. If you are looking to get into say, the IS250, check a 2010 first since there should be some holiday cash available. Do this for every car that still has 2010 models available, because it is CLEARANCE time. Make sure to work numbers for the 2010 and the 2011 to see which is a better deal.

This month’s list is still pretty good, but not as good as last month’s. A lot of cars dropped off the list because their 2011 models don’t lease well right now. We are in a transition period, so as we cross-over to the 2011 model year, 2011s won’t lease well until the 2010 inventory dwindles.

Some of the leases calculations were based on a base models, therefore, the payment estimates are on the “lower” end. This was done to save myself some time as I crunch all numbers manually. Starting the next year, all vehicle estimates will be made at base price, so your payments should go up from that point and up.

Please read over the Ground Rules to get an idea as to how this estimates are calculated. I have also changed the format in order to provide a side-by-side comparison of the numbers using my lease calculator. Enjoy!

If you would like to support the website, please request your auto quotes from Yahoo! Autos. Thank you!

Ground Rules

  • Participating vehicles will be based on the lease rates gathered on this website during the corresponding month.
  • 36-month/15k lease terms will used for all calculations unless a better term is available.
  • A $1500 drive-off fee is assumed for all cars. Since fees and taxes vary from region to region, your drive-off may vary.
  • Sale Price estimates will be based on sales data in the Southern California region, so your numbers may vary.
  • All estimates assume you qualify for the base rate. A minimum FICO® Score of 700 may be required.
  • Sales taxes are not included since different states handle taxes differently. Please refer to “Understanding Sales Tax” to learn how taxes affect your monthly payments.
  • The rating system used is based on RIDE with G’s Lease Calculator. The closer you are to the 100 rating, the better the deal. Anything exceeding a 100 rating is phenomenal.

Top Ten Finalists

click to view chart

First – 2010 Honda Accord CrossTour EX-L (111.1)

The CrossTour shoots to the top of the list this month due to big discounts off the MSRP. The Residual and MF are not half bad, but it’s the fact that it’s an outgoing 2010 model (and because not many people really want one) that makes this such a great lease.

Second – 2010 Infiniti G37 Sport Coupe Manual (107.2)

After finishing Seventh last month on the Round-Up, the G37 Sport Coupe shoots back to a Second place finish by getting a lower MF and more discounts off the MSRP. Not even a lower residual can keep this ride down. I expect to see the 2011 G37 coupe rolling in at the end of the month, so I wouldn’t snooze on this.

Third – 2011 Nissan Sentra S (106.3)

The Sentra only gets a gentle downward shove from it’s older cousin (the G37), dropping it to Third on the list. Make no mistake, this is an econobox, so don’t come in with lofty expectations. It’s basic/practical transportation at it’s cheapest.

Fourth – 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4matic (104.0)

Since MBs lease best at 48-months instead of 36-months, the ML350 becomes a HOT lease right now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well beyond my budget, but it certainly is cheap by luxury SUV standards. If you are in the market for a X3, Q5, FX35, RX350 or even a GLK350, consider the ML350 instead.

Fifth – 2011 Honda Civic LX Sedan (101.8)

The Civic took a nose-dive this month from leading the Round-Up for two consecutive months. There is a good reason however, the 2010s are on their way out and the 2011s are in showrooms now. This is actually a pretty good deal considering how new the 2011s are. Just remember to inquire about any remaining 2010s before jumping on a 2011.

Sixth – 2011 Honda Accord LX Sedan (100.2)

The Accord has always been a very steady lease month-in and month-out. This month is no exception, even on a 2011 model. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend leasing a EX or EX-L at the moment since the residuals are lower and the MF is probably a bit higher than the base models.

Seventh – 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport (97.3)

The C300 made the “Missing the Cut” list last month on a 27-month lease. This month, that residual value tanked, so I had to resort to 48-months, it’s more “ideal” term. As you can see, this proved to be a good idea since the C300 can now be had in the low $400s at 15k miles per year (before taxes), quite comparable to the G25, 328, A4 and IS250.

Eighth – 2011 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 (96.9)

This is NOT a cheap car in terms of payments. However, relative to it’s price tag, its is a smoking good deal. Good enough to snatch the Eighth spot, besting every single Acura, Lexus and BMW.

Ninth – 2011 Nissan Maxima SV Premium (96.8)

Looks like Nissan is picking up where it left off a few months ago and decided to move 2011 Maximas on the cheaper side. If you want a cheaper alternative to the G37, this could be your ride.

Tenth – 2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited (94.9)

Sneaking back into the top ten is the Hyundai Sonata. The payments may be significantly higher than the Accord LX, but this one comes fully loaded. I mean, NAV, backup cams, Bluetooth, the works! Kinda tough to overlook it if you want a family sedan that’s roomie and loaded.

Missing the Cut (90+ rating)

2011 Infiniti G37 Sedan (93.9)
2011 VW Golf S (93.7)
2010 Acura ZDX (93.0)
2011 Lexus RX350 (92)
2011 Audi A3 Premium (91.7)
2011 Infiniti M37 (91.5)
2011 Nissan Rogue SV AWD (91.3)
2011 BMW 328ix (91.2)
2011 Infiniti G25 (91.0)
2011 Hyundai Genesis (90.6)

Parting Shots

If you don’t see any 2011 Acuras, don’t be surprised. That’s because they don’t lease well right now. The 2010 TSX is a border-90 lease, if you can get a lower price than $27,219 then you’ll have yourself a 90+ rating (currently a 89.9 at that price). A good chunk of newly-introduced 2011 models do not lease well right now. If that’s what you are looking for this month, I recommend waiting a few more months or going with any remaining 2010.

17 thoughts on “Monthly Round-Up: November 2010

  1. G,

    We’ve talked about best time of the month to lease and negotiate sales price (always the end of the month).

    But have we talked about when is the best time to negotiate a lease in a calendar year? For example, my wife wants a new car and we are definitely going to lease. But since we are in no hurry or need for a new car, I like to sit back and wait for the best deal (high residual, low MF, incentives) –

    What month do you think you can get the best deal?

    New models generally are released around August – October, so we have to take that into account. Holidays, end of year discounts, clearance models, etc also come into play. However, a lot of times the residual is super low on a year end model. Then we have dealer cash, incentives, etc.


    To me it seems like March, July, August and December are the best months for the various factors that come into play as mentioned above. I read on CNN last year that the day after Thanksgiving is the best time to buy a car if you are looking for heavy price discounts.

    I guess I just want to know when that sweet spot is when the money factor is low and the residual high.


  2. For example, I leased my 2010 Accord V6 EX-L w/ Nav at the end of last July. The 2011 mid-cycle refresh of the Accord was coming out the next month. I got a great MF (.00121) and great sales price ($27,242, MSRP: $31,855) but the residual on a 36/12 lease was 52%.

    Currently, the same 2011 model could be had for $29,373 according to I don’t know what the MF and residual are.

    I also forgot to mention $0 down sign and drive deals. This is become popular with Honda, Acura, Toyota and Volkswagen… even BMW is getting in on that.

  3. If I had to pick a series of months out of the year when leases are best, I would pick May through early September. October was also a pretty good month to lease. This month is so-so. There are some good ones that carried over from last month, but overall, I don’t believe Nov (Thanksgiving) is a good time to lease a car. It may be a good time to buy one since a lot of the incentives out there are for purchases only, but for leasing, I’m going to stick with my Spring/Summer and early Fall. January through March is generally not that great unless there are some models that are being refreshed.

  4. G,

    Great website! I am getting my wife a 2011 ML350 lease based on your numbers this week. So thank you. SoCal dealers are all telling me they don’t have 2,000 factory cash on any models right now except the E. Are they lying? Best offer so far is 2200 below invoice on a 2WD from Riverside but that’s just dipping into the holdback, not the 2000 factory cash. Should I keep fighting or take the deal?

    • Thanks Dean! Glad you are going with the ML. I think it’s a great deal right now for an SUV of this class. I think your $2200 below invoice is actually pretty good. There isn’t any cash other than the conquest cash on the MLs, so that’s actually a fairly aggressive quote you got. You could wait until after Thanksgiving to see if you can squeeze a few hundred more, but I wouldn’t feel too bad doing it now since your quote is probably below dealer cost and the only reason they would even sell it to you at this price is probably because they still have some of that holdback.

  5. G,

    I am about to cross $3k off invoice with two socal dealers. There must be something we’re missing in the profit picture on these 2WDs.

  6. Well, there is 3% holdback on ML350s that have been on the lot less than 30 days, so at that price point, there is a good amount of money to work with. If the MSRP is 57845 then their 3% holdback would be around $1,735. This means that if the invoice $53579 and you are about $3000 under it, the dealer is taking a $1,174 loss in the transaction, assuming a $51753 dealer cost. However, if you factor in the holdback, the dealer should still make around $561 and if you qualify for the conquest cash, add $1000 to that pot. So I guess there’s might still be some room, but it’s not a whole lot of room if you can’t tap into that cash. I also wonder if they get some sort of kickback if they sell a certain volume of cars…

  7. G.

    Thank you so much for this web site and all the info everyone provides. Special thanks to your perfectly timed roundup this month, because yesterday I signed off on a 2011 ML350 4MATIC, with Premium 2 and Lighting packages, metalic paint, heated front seats, running boards, wood leather stearing wheel, and trailer hitch, MSRP $60,350, selling price $55,414, residual 56%, MF .00007, with taxes and fees, zero down, monthly payment of $671, which is less than my current 2007 335xi. I looked at the Q5, but this deal was just too good to pass up and I preferred the ride height and handling of the ML over the Q5. With MF of .00007 it’s almost free money and Mercedes allows you to residualize pre-paid maintenance, so that you only really pay monthly for %44 of the package price, and if they get you out of your lease early near the end, you don’t ever pay for what you don’t use. Great deal this month!!!

    • Your welcome Stephen! I’m glad I made it in time! I’m been trying to get the Round-Up in a bit earlier than the last week of the month so that folks have ample time to shop and negotiate before deals run out. I’m glad you took advantage of the ML’s incredibly low MF. I would personally jump on it too if it was within my budget. Maybe later on. Every year, there’s always one MB that simply has a smoking good deal going on. Last year was the C350, this year is the ML350 and to an extent, the CLS550, for those who can afford one.

  8. It just gets better. Mercedes just threw in free 3 year pre-paid maintanance and mbrace subscription as part of their winter event promotion going on this month.

  9. OK, just got home and the car is in the garage… wife is happy 🙂
    2011 ML350 2WD with premium 1 package, running boards, heated front seats and metallic color option (steel grey). MSRP is $53,675 and Edmunds invoice is $49,822. The dealer invoice was listed at around $50,500 so I am not sure why Edmunds is lower. Payment with tax came out to $599.90 for 36mo 15k mi/yr. Zero drive-off with the exception of 1st payment and CA reg fees. Cap cost would be $46,968 except the dealer insisted on raising the MF to 0.0003 and adding $300 to the $795 acquisition fee – this is all done to make a little commission for the finance dept. Otherwise the internet sales guy gets 0 and they get 0 too because the discount is so deep. This arrangement made our cap cost $46,403. Either way, a great deal considering that we are ~$3,000 behind invoice. For those of you in SoCal, negotiate hard. I had 3 dealers in OC down to this number after 3 days of emails back and forth. One in LA offered $10 less but the dive was too far. Never walk in to negotiate face to face because you lose your entire advantage.

    • Dean,
      that’s one smoking deal. I’m sure the dealership appreciates a little “profit” from you too considering how much of a discount you are getting. Well done! 😀 If Thanks again for keeping everyone in the loop on your deal, I’m sure many SoCal folks appreciate the info you’ve provided! Congrats to you and the wife!

  10. Sorry, I got the invoice wrong from Edmunds – it’s $49,980… and forgot that my car has the $170 prewiring for rear seat entertainment but the MSRP I wrote was correct… I am delirious from 2 hours of paperwork.

  11. G, you mentioned there is a “conquest cash” for the dealer (1K) on the ML. What exactly is that? Does that stack with fleet discount/EAB?

    • Danny,
      Conquest cash is only if you are currently driving like a BMW, Porsche or what not. I believe Edmunds provides details on the requirements to get the cash. Rebates usually stack with discounts since they come from the manufacturer, not the dealer.

  12. G,

    I see with certain cars you don’t use 36 months for the lease. I am curious why you don’t use 39 month lease with Infiniti? I know that using 39 verse 36 you will get a better rate.


    • SoFloD,
      The problem 39 month leases is that it isn’t always a great deal for some people. Take me for instance. I have to pay about $300 bucks in registration fees after the 36th month just so that I can drive the car 3 months and then pay registration fees again for my next car. That isn’t really a great deal in my opinion and isn’t worth the money you save per month compared to a 36mo lease. With MB, the reason a 48 month makes sense is because their MF is still very low compared to most other brands and their warranties will cover you for 4 years. The main thing to be concerned with is the cost of tires since 4 years, but if you where to do a projection over 12 years, leasing on 48-month term will actually be cheaper than leasing at a 36-month term, even with tire costs factored in.

Leave a Reply