Bank Acquisition Fees. What to Expect.

Here is a partial list of bank acquisition fees. If you have leased with a brand or bank that’s not listed here, please share with the rest of us. Fees marked with a (*) are unconfirmed.

UPDATE (12/10/2012) – Had a very interesting conversation with the Honda finance guy the other day regarding bank acquisition fees. My original understanding of bank fees was that they served as two things: 1) loan processing 2) GAP coverage (for most banks). However, there is another little known reason why the amount is so high…apparently, the bank (which is a separate entity from the manufacturer) uses portions of that fee to pay for an multi-million dollar umbrella policy for their leased vehicles in case the lessee damages property or kills someone. As you know, we live in a very “sue-friend” country and when the plaintiff can’t get money from the defendant, we all know who they sue next.

Acura – $595
Audi – $695
BMW – $725
Buick – $795
Chevrolet – $795
Ford– $595
Honda – $595
Hyundai – $595
Infiniti $595 $700
Jeep $795 (Ally)
Kia $595
Lexus – $695
Lincoln– $595
Mazda – $595 (Chase)
Mercedes-Benz – $795
Nissan – $595
Porsche – $895
Range Rover – $795
Subaru – $595
Toyota – $650
Volkswagen – $595
Volvo – $695

Special thanks to everyone who has contributed to this list!


2011 Orange County Auto Show

I know this post is a bit late since the LA Auto Show is in town and in full swing. I still think it’s a good idea to get some pictures and info out there so you can take a look at what’s new this coming year. The OC Auto Show isn’t exactly the best show in SoCal, but it’s good enough to get a feed for what’s currently out there. Most people hold out for the LA Show because it’s a much more “comprehensive” show than the one in OC. This show seemed more like a giant dealership more than anything. To avoid being repetitive (since I will be posting the LA Auto Show pictures right after this), I will just post the more “unique” photos from this show.


TL – Small revamp in styling, improved, but not quite the “prom queen”.
TSX – Limited Edition is mostly cosmetic changes. A sedan with sport aspirations.


A7 – Great looking sedan. Top notch interior quality and very unique design. Not sure of I like this one more of the CLS. I really dig what Audi has done with the Nav by integrating Google’s Navigation system. If you have ever used Google Nav on Android phones, you will know what I mean. If you haven’t, then you are really missing out.


Cruze – If you haven’t seen the interior of the Cruze, you’ll be surprised. This car was at the show last year too, but I can’t get over how well Chevy has done with this car’s interior. If you have ever rented any Chevy, you’ll notice how terrible GM has been when it comes to interior quality.

Corvette – This is one way to get people to buy American…

CTS-V Coupe – My favorite American car. Just love the way the seats just hold you and never lets you go.


Charger SRT8 – The interior quality has really stepped up significantly. I’m still not crazy about the lines on the doors, but the front and back just looks mean! If I had to pick though, I would probably go with the 300. Less racer boy, more rap mogul.

300 SRT8 – Beats by Dr Dre is truly a sick audio system. It boosts my street cred just sitting in the back seat.

Grand Cherokee – Best looking 5-passenger SUV in my opinion. Quality is still suspect (my friend got one and it has been in the shop twice in less than a year), but it’s not surprising since it’s a first year model.


Veloster – Better looking in person…barely. From what I hear, it also looks much sportier than it drives. I would consider one, but only with a Turbo. The interior is nicely laid out, with good ergonamics. It is also feature loaded which makes it that much more attractive. Clearly targeting the 18-24 year-old crowd.


Camry – I am NOT a huge Toyota fan right now. Their cares are uninspiring and feel like appliances more than anything else. The incoming Camry is slightly less hideous than the outgoing model, but I still don’t see how they will outsell the Sonata.


Beetle – Redesign and less girly. Still not as iconic as the original.

GLI – It’s here and the lease rates on this puppy are decent (not great though). Interior quality is still “bleh”, but the red-stitching helps.

Tiguan – It got a nose job to fall in line with the rest of it’s siblings.

Jetta Star Wars Edition – From a performance perspective, this feels like this….If it were a GLI, it would be more like THIS!


GS350 – I’ve seen enough of the LF-A to last me a while, so only new thing to report here is the newly redesigned GS350. I barely notice the difference except for a more “linear” design and the Audi-wannabe LEDs.


CR-V – If only they would actually sell this concept and give us an optional beefier engine (turbo4 or small displacement 6) then the 2012 would be forgiven. I guess that’s asking for too much innovation.


Leaf – If you were wondering how the Leaf looks like inside, here are the pics. If you were wondering how the interior materials feel; it’s all hard plastic.


JCW Cooper Coupe – One thing is for sure, MINI knows how to milk the living crap out of the MINI brand. I am waiting for the MINI Van (pun intended) to show up any minute now.

Land Rover

Evoque – It looks great for a compact crossover. Not sure how comfortable rear passengers will be with such a low roofline, but it really makes owning a crossover cool. I’m not sold on the 2-door model though. The whole point of getting a crossover is to have more practicality, otherwise, I’d get a coupe.


S60 – This is the first time I’ve been so pumped about a Volvo as a lease. I’m not all that crazy about the schnoz of this sedan, but the rest of the car looks great. It is also a very good lease for those of you who are willing to give Volvo a try. I haven’t always been open to driving a Volvo (my sister has a few of them and they haven’t exactly been reliable), but as a lease, if the car looks good and the numbers look good, any manufacturer is worth a try.


2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the LA Auto Show, courtesy of Audi. This year, unlike the previous one, has been filled with some pleasant surprises. There were some unusual absences from high-end players such as Ferrari and Lamborghini (they were usually found at the Concourse, but I didn’t see any time time around), but I personally felt that many of the mainstream brands plus Lotus did enough in their showcases to make up for it. Concept cars such as Mazda’s Shinari and Nissan’s Ellure provided a nice preview of what’s to come. Overall, I was most impressed with Lotus’s new product line and I really hope that their new direction will result in sustainable success. I know some of the purists out there are disappointed with the company straying from their roots, but I think that given their financial situation, they probably didn’t have much of a choice.

As usual, here is my rundown of what I found interesting at the show this year.

Porsche. Like always, you will find Porsche in that all-familiar room just to the right of the West Hall entrance. Notable rides are the Cayenne Hybrid, Speedster and the Cayman R, to name a few. Overall, strong showing.

Ford. The Explorer reminds me a lot of a Range Rover, which I’m not all that crazy about. The Focus ST is one sweet hatch that should easily smoke most of the competition and give the MS3 a run for it’s money. They were also running a $50 gift car promo for test driving a Ford, which I signed up for. I was planning to test drive the Edge anyway, so why not make $50 bucks out of that experience, right?

Lincoln. Despite Ford’s success with their core brand, Lincoln is in severe need for an overhaul. I did not like ANY of their cars. The marketing, the design, everything…just doesn’t work. The “shark-teeth” grill has to go too. Plus there really isn’t anything original here, just a bunch of pimped-up and re-badged Ford models which some may find difficult to love.

Mitsubishi has not made anything significant in quite some time and this year is no exception. They do have a mini EV, but I can’t see how folks would want something that small when they can opt for something like a Leaf or a Fit EV. Besides that, the Eclipse looks unchanged and there are better crossover options than the Outlander.

Volvo brought in a plug-in electric C30, but besides that, I didn’t see anything new. That isn’t a bad thing, I think Volvo has a very capable line-up with the newly redesign S60 and the XC60. Here is a random fact for you, the actual trunk space of the S60 is 4 cubic inches smaller than my wife’s Jetta Wolfsburg. That is pretty sad considering how much smaller the Jetta is compared to the S60.

Subaru showcased the new Impreza Concept and I love it! If Subaru doesn’t produce this (as is), they are insane. On a side note, I spent some time inside the Forester and I liked it better than the Outback. Afterwards, I went to TrueCar and optioned both vehicles and realize how much cheaper the Forester is compared to the Outback. Anyway, it looks like the Outback will be scratched from my shopping list on Round 3 of “Replacing the G“, which I will probably get to sometime next month or early next year.

Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler seems to have come a bit more prepared this year. As you know, I was pleasantly surprised by the Grand Cherokee’s redesign. I also took a liking to the new Charger which is vastly improved compared to the outgoing model. It seems more polished and it looks better in person than in pictures. I also climbed into the 3rd row seat of a Durango, which was actually adequate for someone around my size (5’10). I don’t think I would want to ride back there for more than a few hours though. For about $30k, you can get a base Durango with a 3rd row and a V6, which is in line with Honda’s Pilot and Toyota’s Highlander. Ironically, the Chryslers were underwhelming; the C300 looked almost unchanged and the 200 appeared underdeveloped, even in it’s sporty S trim.

Fiat brought tall, leggy models…err “product advisers” and the 500 into the show. This micromobile will only appeal to those shopping for a Smart car, which doesn’t apply to most of us. Surprisingly, these 6-foot “product advisers” actually fit inside these cars.

Nissan came ready to play this year and brought in some heavy hitters. The besides the usual fare (GT-R, Z, Rogue, Murano, Altima and Maxima), Nissan brought the Leaf, Juke, the convertible Murano and the Ellure concept, which produced many “oohs and ahhhs” from the crowd. The likelihood of ever getting a Nissan with “suicide” doors is probably zero, but it would be nice to see some of those design elements on future Altimas and Maximas.

Honda brought the FC, which is actually leased in limited quantities right now. Not exactly a new car, but certainly unique. I tried to cozy up with the CrossTour since it’s such a good deal this month, but couldn’t. Somehow, this car has a tendency to attract empty-nesters so I was probably one of the youngest people anywhere near the CrossTour. A new Fit was introduced as a EV, which should compete nicely with the Leaf. I also tried to cozy up with a fully-loaded Pilot and I think I could see myself in one. Sure, its ugly, but the interior is not half bad. Hypothetically, I can imagine my family being a “Honda family”; with the wife rolling in an Accord. Me rolling in a Pilot and a pimped out CR-Z R hiding inside my garage. Aah! I can see it now…

Lotus. I actually had to wait in line to get into their showroom because there were just so many people wanting in. That actually proved to be a good thing because it allowed me to take pictures peacefully without folks walking in front of me, which allowed me to take decent shots of their entire line-up. As I mentioned before, I have high hopes that Lotus will prevail in bringing their brand more mainstream. When that happens, maybe this blog will be worth over $100k, then I will just sell it and buy one of those Esprits! Haahaa, yeah, right.

Hyundai’s newest redesign comes as the Elantra. Like the Sonata, the Elantra got a heavy makeover and the results are pleasing. The interior is redone in a very Sonata-esque fashion which should appeal to most folks. The compact sedan market is suddenly seeing HUGE competition with the Focus, Corolla, Cruze and the Elantra getting significant updates. Here’s hoping Honda doesn’t get left behind because the Civic is starting to look aged. I also got a chance to sit inside a Sonata Hybrid and it feels…exactly the same as the other ones. The Hybrid should be arriving in dealerships sometime in the first quarter of 2011.

Audi sent me a pair of tickets to the show this year via a Twitter promotion, so many thanks to the folks in Audi’s marketing/PR department. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of Audi pictures for two reasons: a) way too crowded. b) nothing I haven’t already seen at the OC Auto Show in October.

Lexus brought the LFA, a re-badged/re-tuned Prius and their usual suspects. The LFA looks unchanged from the prototype pics I took a year or two ago, so seeing it again was anti-climactic. The Lexus “Prius” comes to us as the Lexus 250h, which according to some “First Drive” reports, isn’t all that exciting. Toyota used to hold a special place in my heart (my very first car was a hand-me-down ’80 Toyota Cressida), but not anymore. Cost-cutting has really killed the brand for me and I will not longer consider one, not even in luxury form. Of course, this isn’t really news to you guys.

Mercedes-Benz didn’t bring anything newsworthy to the table. I was hoping they would bring the 2012 ML and CLS, but I didn’t see them. It is very possible that I might have missed them because  I was wrapped up with the latest incarnations of the E-Class (convertible & wagon).

BMW showed off the 6-series concept which I looks sharp and a very solid replacement for the existing 6. I also saw the newly redesign 5 and I feel that they did an admirable job with that one too. Less impressive was the X3 which doesn’t seem to offer anything extraordinary relative to the $700+ per month lease payment some of us have estimated (see discussions in BMW November 2010 lease rates post).

MINI introduced the Countryman, which is essentially a four-seat compact SUV. Yup, a MINI SUV…it’s like an oxymoron.

Buick. The LaCrosse is an excellent Lexus ES killer and the Regal is supposed at least put up a fight in a world dominated by the 3-series. So far reports say otherwise on the CXL, so GM introduces the Regal GS. A 2.0L Turbo four that pumps out 255hp and 295ft of torque. Sounds impressive, but I would much rather have the Pontiac G8 GT’s thundering V8 under my hood even at the expense of lower MPG. As for the fit-and-finish, the Regal looks classy and well-put together inside and out, but still, BMW has no reason to fear anyone not named Infiniti.

Mazda put on a serious show with the Shinari concept. If any of this sweet ride’s design elements ever cross over into the Mazda6 or perhaps the RX8, you will see one in my driveway.

Acura. With the exception of the TSX wagon, Acura did not have anything new to show this time around. Not even a concept. Upon closer inspection, I’ve come to realize I don’t want a TSX wagon. I don’t care for it’s styling, I much prefer the sedan.

Cadillac showed the ULC concept which is probably not likely to hit the streets. Besides that, there isn’t anything else that isn’t already on sale.

Infiniti finally decided to bring the Essence to LA. This concept created a nice buzz around the show, which a big crowd gathering around it to take pictures. If Nissan is as daring as I think they are, they should put this model into production so that it can compete against other high-end performance coupes.

Volkswagen revamped the Eos and the Touareg which brings a sort of “uniformness” to the whole VW line. I personally dig it, so no complaints here. The Jetta SEL with Sports Pkg caught my eye and I found this package to be effective in making the Jetta look less “vanilla”. Unfortunately it doesn’t do much to the simplified interior. One has to wonder why this trim doesn’t come with a DSG.

The Rest. After about 4 and a half hours, I was so tired that I ended up skipping the rest of the manufacturers. Some for good reason (Toyota) and other because I had no choice. I don’t think I missed too much though. Maybe the Range Rover Evoque, but that’s about it.

If you haven’t made it to the show yet, go check it out! If you are in the market for a new car in the next 12 months, even more of a reason to go! Should you be on the fence about it or simple don’t live anywhere near downtown LA, here are some pics to wet your appetite. Enjoy!


Replacing the G – Round Two

I’m not quite sure how many rounds I will need in order to narrow the list down to my “top five” choices, but I can tell you that I have come much closer thanks in part to the 2010 OC Auto show and the test drives I have done so far. Here is an update of my “Wish List” along with some extra comments:

The Large SUV Group

  • Honda Pilot – This is barely making the cut right now.  Not overly impressed nor extremely disappointed.
  • Mazda CX-9 – It’s nice, it’s roomy and depending on the test drive, it could really be a contender.
  • Chevy Traverse – This car is relatively new, but it feels aged compared to Chevy’s newer offering. Even the GMC Acadia, which is practically the same SUV feels newer.
  • Toyota Highlander – Cheapness, is it’s weakness. Even a newly redesigned exterior can’t overcome the cheapness.
  • Ford Explorer – Much uglier in person, but I didn’t get to see the interior since they didn’t have a display model on the floor for people play with. Either way, I don’t think the lease will be attractive enough for it to warrant any consideration at this point. I may consider revisiting it down the road if an attractive lease pops up.

Overall, this group is starting to look really bad. I suspect the Pilot might get booted due to it’s styling and less-than-exciting interior, leaving the CX-9 as the top choice in this category.

The Compact SUV Group

  • Toyota RAV4 – Cost-cutting has really made this SUV hard to love. The hard plastics reeks of cheapness and the interior dash is uninspiring. Even if its inexpensive to lease, I don’t think I want one since Toyota’s lease program leaves much to be desired.
  • Ford Edge – This is a well-built SUV with a better-than-average interior. I haven’t seen any special leases on it, but it’s still early in the model year.
  • Infiniti EX35 – Test drove it a few weekends ago and my impression is that it’s a  solid crossover. It’s smooth over bumps, powerful, quiet and it drives like a G with higher ground clearance. There is also a lot of dealer cash on this car right now, which potentially knocks off a lot off the MSRP, making it a really good lease. Unfortunately I think it falls really short in two areas, cargo and MPG. It is still fairly practical since folding down the rear seats exposes quite a bit of cargo room, but I think of this car as a hatchback with poor MPG more than a true crossover.
  • VW Tiguan – Saw it at the show and I’ve driven it before; my folks also own one. Cargo wise its slightly better than the EX, but not by much. No Wolfsburg edition planned just for 2011 (yet) so my only choices would be the S and the SE trims.
  • Acura RDX – Test drove this as well and found it to be a serviceable crossover. I will not wow you, but it is all you should expect from Acura; Roomy and reliable with above average performance. The 4-banger turbo does not have a very noticeable lag which is impressive. Comes well-equipped, but it doesn’t have it all unless you go with the Tech. In my case, I can’t justify the cost. The exterior styling doesn’t really impress me much, but I think having an excellent lease program does.
  • Subaru Forester – I think it has a slight edge against the Outback. After looking at them side by side, I like it a little better.

If I had to guess, the Forester, Tiguan and the RDX will end up battling it in the payment department. I just don’t think Ford provides enough lease incentives to make the Edge a contender.

The Wagon Group

  • Audi A3 – I am a big fan of  TDI model, but I am willing to settle for a FrontTrak Premium. It’s driving dynamics shouldn’t be too different than my wife’s Jetta so I think it will end up coming down to a price war between the other finalists.
  • VW Jetta Sportwagen – Saw the TDI version at the show, love the Pano sunroof. Thankfully, it retains the nicer interior of the older Jettas, which is a plus. I did see the “new Jetta” and if you have seen “older” models, you will notice a difference. The interior materials haven’t been downgraded much, but the cabin certainly feels more “simplified”. The exterior styling isn’t too bad, but it feels more “vanilla” compared to the outgoing model.
  • VW Golf TDI – As nice as expected, looks like a more civilized version of the GTI and gets crazy gas mileage. Big fan, hopefully the lease rates will look good when the time comes.
  • VW GTI – I have to say, I am not a big fan of those cloth seats, but I love everything else.
  • Subaru Outback – I like it, but I have to admit that there are better cars. AWD certainly helps it’s case.

The Wagon group shows a lot more promise due to the more reasonable payments, practicality and fuel economy. My first choice would be the A3, but at this point any of these are a possibility.

The Sedan Group

  • Acura TSX – Acuras hold a special place in my heart, so this is a no brainer. I will likely opt for the Tech, but it all depends on the price.
  • Acura TL – Ditto on the TL. If a TSX with Tech were to be around the same as a TL base, I’d take the TL.
  • Hyundai Sonata – Saw the 2.0 Turbo and the Hybrid at the show, lovely inside and out. I got around to test drive the Limited model and I came away impressed. Quiet, smooth and with ample power. It’s no G37, but I didn’t expect it to be. Inexpensive, well-built and easy on the eyes. The closest thing to a win-win situation if there was one.
  • Infiniti G37 – I’ve been plagued with battery issues on my G37 this past year, with yesterday being the latest incident (I couldn’t get my car started for the 3rd time this year and I didn’t even leave any of my lights on). I think I will be skipping Infinitis this time around.
  • Nissan Maxima – Being the G37’s cousin dooms it’s chances. See above.

This is the “fall-back” category. I don’t think I would pick a sedan over the other categories due to my need for “room”. However, money talks and sedans have better lease programs than anything out there right now. The Sonata is a perennial favorite here, with the 2.0T being my top choice. My fall back would be the TSX, with the TL close behind.


2010 OC Auto Show

Sorry for the delay in posting the photos. I’ve been busy this past week with work, nursing a sports related injury and spending time with family over the weekend. Anyway, the OC Auto Show was great and I got to spend a good four hours taking photos and “sampling” the goods. As far as concepts are concern, there weren’t many in this show. Then again, this show is a much small event than the LA, Detroit or NY Auto Show, so most of the cars on display were either models in production or soon to be released. Of all of the major manufacturers, only a few didn’t make the show (Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi); Not a huge loss if you ask me.

Here are some of my initial reactions about each manufacturer that showed up:

Acura – The TL’s “beak” really needs to go. The TSX wagon is hideous. The rest of the line-up gets a thumbs up.

Audi – Nothing new. I am personally targeting the A3 as a my possible “Next Ride”.

BMW – Nothing new. I didn’t spend much time there because it’s not different than last year with the exception of the new IS models.

Buick – The Regal looks nice and it’s cheap. A bit smaller than what I thought it would be, though.

Chevy – The Cruze was actually impressive. I think it should compete well against cars in it’s class.

Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep – JGC was probably the best looking offering they had (No surprise there). It’s a good looking SUV inside and out.

GMC – Probably the only brand that offered a “Concept”, the Granite. Interesting take on box-shaped transportation. Certainly better looking than the Cube or the xB.

Ford – I liked the Edge Sport and the Fusion. Not sore I would get the Fusion personally, but I would consider the Edge…as a matter of fact, I am.

Honda – They really did something funky to the tail lights of the Accord coupe; It flares out to the side. Really weird looking, not a fan of it.

KIA/Hyundai – Love the Sonata and the Optima. The 2.0T and the Hybrid look sharp. I’m highly considering the Sonata as my next car because of it’s combination of features and price.

Saab – Yawn.

Volvo – XC60 is freaking awesome. It’s too expensive, otherwise I would seriously consider getting one even if the quality/durability may be questionable (it is a lease after all).

Subaru – Nothing really new except a really pimped out STi. From a styling perspective, it doesn’t look any different than the one from last year.

Toyota – Cheap plastic all over the freaking place. It’s like Toyota took a page out of GMC and Ford’s “how to build a cheap car” manual. This is like Bizarro World. Seriously.

Supercars – I don’t keep up with the Maseratis, Ferraris and Lambos of the world so I didn’t know what to look for. I do know the Sesto Elemento wasn’t there. Not that ride is impressive.

Jaguar – New XJ looks pimping. It’s elegant and loaded with tech. I like how the dash and console look so clean and elegant.

Volkswagen –  VW is changing the way they package their vehicles, which will be similar to what Honda/Acura does (which shoud simplify the shopping process).  2011 Jetta gets mixed feelings from me due to the simplified,  “downgraded” interior.  My wife wasn’t a big fan of the new exterior either (compared to her Wolfsburg) and I have to agree with her. I think the Jetta lost a lot of it’s “personality” in the redesign. I think of it as a jogger wearing a suit, not exactly the sporty/playful image I’ve come to love about the Jetta.

Mazda – Nothing new on this show, but I do know Mazda has a sweet new concept called the Shinari, which looks insanely good. I’m hoping they bring it in for the LA Auto Show next month. That would be spectacular.

Lexus – The IS gets a “F” option package which mimics the ISF in style but not in performance. It’s like the M package that’s offered on the 3-series.

Cadillac – Caddy has a good number of cars in the show and the best one of them all is the CTS-V coupe. I don’t know what C&D was talking about when they said the interior was “gimmicky”. Whatever, I think its a fabulous car if you have $500-$600 bucks to burn per month (or so).

Without further delay, here are some pictures from the show! Enjoy!


Replacing the G – Round One

I know I am jumping the gun by doing a write-up about my “next ride” considering I have another 10 months left on my lease. However, my wife has began dropping hints about what my next ride should be. “Something practical, something bigger…something that will keep your paws off my Jetta” she says.  Sadly, it looks like my G37 has become rather impractical and the wife has finally put me on notice.

I can’t say I blame her because in recent months, her car has become the designated “airport shuttle”. If that wasn’t bad enough, we have also been using her car to haul some furniture from Office Depot and weekly trips to Costco. Unfortunately, it seems that life has finally caught up with me and I can no longer ignore the other “needs” in life.

So now I am faced with a dilemma….what exactly can I get that will fulfill the following requirements…

  • seating for at least five people
  • practical cargo space
  • above average performance
  • similar or better MPG than the 18/24 I am getting now
  • costs no more than what I currently pay ($1300/$424 per month), preferably, less!

After careful consideration over the past month, I’ve come up with a general “Wish List” of potential cars/SUVs that may satisfy my needs.

The Large SUV Group

Honda Pilot
Mazda CX-9
Chevy Traverse
Toyota Highlander
Ford Explorer

The Compact SUV Group

Toyota RAV4
Ford Edge
Infiniti EX35
VW Tiguan
Acura RDX

The Wagon Group

Audi A3
VW Jetta Sportwagen
Subaru Outback

The Sedan Group

Acura TSX
Acura TL
Hyundai Sonata
Infiniti G37
Nissan Maxima

For the next few months, I will take the time to do some test drives in order to narrow down the list some more. Keeping in mind the requirements listed above, I would love to hear your opinions and any recommendations you may have.


Monthly Round-Up: July 2010

Welcome to the “Monthly Round-Up”!!! Starting this month, I will begin examining the Top Ten Deals of the month based on the information I have collected throughout the month. Since this segment is meant for those who enjoy cutting deals last minute (in order to get in on those last-minute deals), expect these series to be posted sometime during the last week of each month.

But before I kick start this month’s Round-Up, here are some ground rules:

  1. Participating vehicles will be based on the lease rates gathered on this website throughout the corresponding month (and limited to a price range of $20,000 to $50,000 range). I encourage you to share the information you’ve gathered during your research so we can make The Round-Up more robust down the road.
  2. Only 36-month/15k lease terms will be examined.
  3. A $1650 drive-off fee will be assumed for all cars. Remember, this is ONLY an estimate, the drive-off could be lower or higher depending on the car.
  4. Estimates will be based on the Southern California region, so your numbers may vary.
  5. All estimates assume you qualify for the base rate.
  6. Sales taxes not included in order to keep things simple. Please refer to “Understanding Sales Tax” to learn how taxes affect your monthly payments.
  7. The rating system used is based on my Lease Calculator, which assumes that 1.00 or a monthly payment of 1% off the MSRP is a GREAT lease deal. Anything lower than 1.00 is even better.

Before we begin, I’d like to ask that you consider using Yahoo! Autos to obtain your free online quotes. Since they are an affiliate, each quote request helps pay for this website’s operating costs. Thank you for your support!!!

So without further ado, lets get this list rolling!!

2010 Infiniti G37 Sport Coupe
36-month | 15k miles | residual 63% | .00131 base money factor

MSRP $44,595
Sale Price $39,500
Monthly $405 + tax

(0.91) This month’s biggest winner is the G37 Sport Coupe. I mean, this deal simply rocks your socks off! In order to get in on this, you need to qualify for the Conquest or Loyalty cash that’s available on both the Sedan and the Coupe. Since the residuals and money factors are really strong this month, I think we can all agree that this ride gives you the best bang for the buck.

2010 Nissan Maxima SV
36-month | 15k miles | residual 52% | .00047 base money factor

MSRP $39,230
Sale Price $32,746
Monthly $367 + tax

(0.94) There may be some discrepancies with this estimate due to the fact that I included almost all of the incentives going on right now. This shouldn’t change the fact that the Maxima is still a fantastic lease deal right now.  You will need to contact your local dealer and have him/her clarify which rebates are applicable. Regardless, I think that there are enough rebates available so you will definitely get a decent deal out of this. Don’t forget the 0% financing that’s also available should you choose to buy instead.

2010 Infiniti G37 Sport Sedan
36-month | 15k miles | residual 59% | .00107 base money factor

MSRP $40,065
Sale Price $35,300
Monthly $387 + tax

(0.97) A bit higher than the Coupe, but still a very good deal. Again, this deal is dependent on the cash rebate and your ability to secure a low sale price. The rebates will be around until September, but there is no guarantee that the residuals won’t drop next month.

2010 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport
36-month | 15k miles | residual 56% | .00106 base money factor

MSRP $22,690
Sale Price $19,500
Monthly $222 + tax

(0.98) Expect your payments to be more since the model I picked is bare bones. Nevertheless, this car has an excellent residual and money factor so if you negotiate a competitive sale price, you will drive off with a great car at a great price.

2010 Honda Accord Sedan 4-cylinder EX-L
36-month | 15k miles | residual 54% | .00121 base money factor

MSRP $27,580
Sale Price $22,800
Monthly $279 + tax

(1.01) With or without Navi, the Accord Sedan in both the 4 cyl and V6 trim are a solid deal this month. Keep in mind that Honda’s doing this promo were you pay nothing up front (gets rolled into payments) and they lower your MF, so your payment will probably be a bit higher that what I just estimated, but still a good deal.

2010 Acura TSX
36-month | 15k miles | residual 58% | .00100 base money factor

MSRP $30170
Sale Price $27,500
Monthly $322 + tax

(1.07) There is $750 dealer cash that is applicable to leases so be sure to take advantage of that during your negotiations. Since production of the 2010s should be pretty much over, availability may be spotty. Still, one of the finest entry level sedans out there with one of the best lease programs in the country. Can’t go wrong with that.

2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited
36-month | 15k miles | residual 56% | .00050 base money factor

MSRP $28,200
Sale Price $26,000
Monthly $304 + tax

(1.08) I would personally choose the GLS due to it’s lower price-point and monthly payments. However, if you can fit slightly higher payments into your budget, go with the better equipped Limited trim because it’s still a great deal.

2010 Acura TL

36-month | 15k miles | residual 55% | .00097 base money factor

MSRP $35,965
Sale Price $31,900
Monthly $386 + tax

(1.08) The cheapest of the TL line up also boasts the best residual value. There is $1750 dealer cash that is applicable to leases. Folks in the Midwest may be out of luck on the low money factor. Remember that Acura is currently offering a “special” MF that you can only get if you opt for the $0 drive-off deal (this will make your monthly payments a bit higher than my estimate).

2010 Audi A3 2.0T Premium
36-month | 15k miles | residual 50% | .00012 base money factor

MSRP $30,715
Sale Price $27,200
Monthly $332 + tax

(1.08) This ride barely makes the cut because it’s got the highest residual and lowest money factor of all A3 2.0Ts. In most cases, Audi does not offer great lease deals because their residual values are very low and they aren’t to be heavy discounters. Despite this, I think you can still walk away with an excellent deal on an A3 if you can negotiate a low sale price before the month ends.

2010 Volkswagen CC DSG Sport
36-month | 15k miles | residual 47% | .00021 base money factor

(1.16) I know, I know. What’s a car with just a “Good” rating doing on this list? Well, this is my “Sentimental” choice. There are many factors that simply can’t be measured on a lease calculator. For starters, VW offers a three year maintenance program when most brands don’t. Yes, BMW has been offering it for years and their 1-series are probably just as deserving to be on this list. Unfortunately, BMW does not offer 0% financing for up to 60 months on their vehicles, VW does.

Parting Shots

As we wrap up the Monthly Round-Up, I’d like to add that there are many cars listed on this website that get a “Good” lease rating as well, so be sure to do some research on those. I would also like to point out that Toyota would probably dominate much of this list had I bothered to post any of their lease numbers (specially the Camry and Prius). But when it’s all said and done, Toyota is still reeling from some safety issues and bad PR, so I don’t want to openly recommend them at the moment. Of course, that will change as time goes by. Lastly, keep an eye out on the new Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf. Both cars will get a lot of government and state rebates which will bring down the cost of their leases well below what was recently advertised, making them fantastic leases.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed the first edition of the Monthly Round-Up. Feel free to chime in with your opinions on what you think this month’s Top Ten should be.

2010 Toyota Prius Lease Rates – February 2010

logo_toyotaUpdate: I finally got a quote on the Prius and I got some bad news to report. On a Prius IV, the residual value is NOT 70% for 15k miles on a 36-month lease. Instead, you are looking at 61%. The money factor is 0.00145 if you have a credit score of 720 and above. If it’s slightly below that, your rate would be somewhere around 0.00155, which is listed here. In terms of sale price, the best offer they could come up with was $1500 off the MSRP. Which is pretty lame. I would never pay over invoice even without the problems Toyota is facing, so why would I do it now when all these recalls are happening? In their defense though, they did mention that due to the availability of the model with the “solar panel”, their ability to discount any further is limited. If I were to look at a model without the solar panel, then invoice would easily be attainable. Fair enough, but still doesn’t motivate me enough. Final numbers are $0 drive-off and about $410 a month, and of course, you have to pony up for that GAP which is around $500 bucks. If you live in the Southeast, these numbers probably don’t apply to you since your market is different.

For those looking for a Toyota…

My Take: Wow, the residual/money factors are pretty dang good right now. Lets take a Prius V with a MSRP of $29,040. Then let us assume with the problems Toyota is facing, the dealer is willing to unload it for invoice plus 1% of the holdback. That would set you at about $27,055 minus $290 or $26,760. Assuming you pay all of your inception fees at signing, your payments would come down to about $251 per month + tax. Should you decide to roll in all of your fees, and have a $0 drive-off, my best guess would be a $290 per month, plus tax. Not too shabby huh? Remember that Toyota doesn’t have GAP, therefore you have to buy it. I am making assumptions here,so I am in no way shape or form claiming that a Prius V goes for $26,760. Depending on your negotiation skills and the region you live in, you may or may not hit that sweet spot. But regardless, even if you were to get invoice or slightly above it, you would still be looking at a payments around high $200 to mid $300s, which isn’t all that bad.

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2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius I
24-month | 15k miles | residual 77% | .00155 base money factor
36-month | 15k miles | residual 70% | .00155 base money factor
48-month | 15k miles | residual 62% | .00245 base money factor
60-month | 15k miles | residual 53% | .00245 base money factor

2010 Toyota Prius II
24-month | 15k miles | residual 77% | .00155 base money factor
36-month | 15k miles | residual 70% | .00155 base money factor
48-month | 15k miles | residual 62% | .00245 base money factor
60-month | 15k miles | residual 53% | .00245 base money factor

2010 Toyota Prius III
24-month | 15k miles | residual 77% | .00155 base money factor
36-month | 15k miles | residual 70% | .00155 base money factor
48-month | 15k miles | residual 62% | .00245 base money factor
60-month | 15k miles | residual 53% | .00245 base money factor

2010 Toyota Prius IV
24-month | 15k miles | residual 77% | .00155 base money factor
36-month | 15k miles | residual 70% | .00155 base money factor
48-month | 15k miles | residual 62% | .00245 base money factor
60-month | 15k miles | residual 53% | .00245 base money factor

2010 Toyota Prius V
24-month | 15k miles | residual 77% | .00155 base money factor
36-month | 15k miles | residual 70% | .00155 base money factor
48-month | 15k miles | residual 62% | .00245 base money factor
60-month | 15k miles | residual 53% | .00245 base money factor

Lease rates provided by LeaseCompare.com