With lower monthly payments than typically available when financing a new car, leasing makes sense for a lot of people on a budget. Some lease rates are cheaper than others, though, and down payments can vary from nothing to several thousand dollars. To make sure you’re not missing out on big savings, it’s important to check out the best lease deals before you head to the dealership.
If you’re looking for a sporty compact car, the 2016 Mazda3’s agile handling and sharp steering make it appealing. You can lease the Mazda3 sedan this month for $159 per month for three years with $1,999 due at signing. The hatchback is available at $179 per month for the same term and down payment. If you don’t want to put any money down, Mazda is offering lease rates of $210 per month on the sedan and $230 per month on the hatchback.
Athletic handling and precise steering give the Mazda3 one of the most engaging driving experiences in the class. Its 155-horsepower four-cylinder engine provides sufficient power, but the available 184-horsepower four-cylinder is a worthy upgrade if you want more punch.
Upscale materials, a sleek dash design, and comfortable seating in both rows make the Mazda3’s cabin a great place to spend time. The Mazda3 sedan has 12.4 cubic feet of trunk space, while the hatchback can hold 20.2 cubic feet in the trunk and 47.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, which is great for a small car and about average for a hatchback.
2016 Subaru Impreza
This May, the 2016 Subaru Impreza is available for between $135 and $169 per month for three years with just under $1,800 due at signing, depending on where you live. The Impreza, gives you a roomy cabin and standard all-wheel drive, which isn’t even available on most vehicles in the class.
Under the hood, the Impreza’s 148-horsepower four-cylinder engine is a little noisy and could use more punch for highway passing, but it has sufficient power around town. When moving through turns, the Impreza offers composed handling and precise steering, and the ride is smooth. All-wheel drive systems often lower gas mileage, but the Impreza’s EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway is good for the class.
While the Impreza’s cabin design isn’t showy, the comfortable front seats and a very spacious back row make the Impreza a great choice for buyers who favor practicality over style. In the trunk, the Impreza sedan can hold 12 cubic feet of cargo, which is a little low for a compact car. Additionally, most climate, audio, and infotainment controls are easy to use.
2016 Kia Sportage
With the all-new 2017 Kia Sportage hitting the market, Kia is offering great deals on the outgoing 2016 Sportage. This May, you can lease the 2016 Sportage for between $183 and $229 for two to three years with a couple thousand dollars due at signing, depending on where you live.
The Sportage’s standard 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine has plenty of power for most driving situations. Upgrading to the turbocharged 260-horsepower four-cylinder provides more spirited acceleration, but low monthly lease rates aren’t available on the Sportage with this engine.
On winding roads, the Sportage handles athletically, but its ride quality isn’t as smooth as most rivals’. Inside, the Sportage has easy-to-use technology and attractive styling. Its seats aren’t the roomiest in the class though, and legroom is limited in the back row. Cargo space is also on the small side for a compact SUV at 54.6 cubic feet behind the first row.
2016 Chevrolet Equinox
You can lease a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox this May for $199 per month for two years with $3,279 due at signing. It’s a great choice if space and interior refinement are higher priorities than having fun behind the wheel.
Inside, the Equinox has adult-friendly seating in both rows, and the cabin is handsomely designed and built with soft-touch materials. The second row slides and reclines, which helps with cargo versatility. When both rows are folded down, the Equinox has 63.7 cubic feet of storage space, which is slightly above average for a compact SUV.
On the road, the Equinox isn’t as fun to drive as some rivals like the Mazda CX-5 or Ford Escape, as its steering is imprecise and it can’t corner with any vigor. The Equinox does deliver a smooth and comfortable ride, though. Under the hood, the 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine could use more punch to help the Equinox pass and merge easily on the highway. The available 301-horsepower V6 alleviates the issue, but you can’t lease the V6 at these rates.
2016 GMC Terrain
Like the Equinox, the 2016 GMC Terrain isn’t a standout in terms of performance, but it has lots to offer inside. You can lease a Terrain this month for $199 per month for two years with $2,969 due at signing.
Adults have plenty of space to get comfortable in both rows of the Terrain, and the cabin is handsomely designed and built with top-notch materials. Up front, the infotainment system is user-friendly, and there’s plenty of space for small-item storage throughout the cabin. Maximum cargo space, however, is on the low side for a compact SUV at 63.9 cubic feet.
When filled with people and gear, the Terrain’s 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine feels a little underpowered. The available 301-horsepower V6 improves provides more muscle, but these low lease rates aren’t available if you opt for this engine. Although the Terrain rides smoothly on straight stretches of road, it can feel heavy and cumbersome in corners.
2016 Toyota Camry
If you’re in the market for a midsize car, it’s hard to go wrong with the practical and reliable Toyota Camry. This May, the Camry could be yours for $179 to $199 per month for two to three years with $1,799 to $2,598 due at signing. If you don’t want to pay anything up front, you can pay $259 per month for three years in some regions.
The Camry isn’t as sporty as some rivals like the Mazda6 or Ford Fusion, but it delivers composed handling and a smooth ride. You’ll get plenty of power from the Camry’s base 178-horsepower four-cylinder engine, but the available 268-horsepower V6 provides more desirable muscle. The above lease rates are only available with the base engine, however.
Not much road or wind noise filters into the Camry’s attractive and well-built cabin, and adults have more than enough space to get comfortable in both rows. All climate and audio controls are intuitively located and easy to use, and the infotainment system operates seamlessly.
2016 Hyundai Sonata
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata is available this month for $179 to $199 per month for three years with a little more than a couple thousand dollars due at signing. The Sonata is currently the top-ranked midsize car, as it boasts an upscale and roomy cabin, a smooth ride, and great gas mileage.
Inside, not many competitors can top the Sonata’s top-quality materials and stylish design. Seating space is also tough to beat for the class, as adults will have plenty of space to get comfortable in both rows. Plus, all the Sonata’s technology is easy to use, and the trunk is very large for the class at 16.3 cubic feet.
On the road, the Sonata provides responsive handling and a smooth ride, although it’s not particularly sporty. Its base 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine has adequate strength, and fuel economy is good for the class at 25 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.
2016 Nissan Altima
If you’re looking for a little more athleticism in your next midsize car without sacrificing much interior refinement, the 2016 Nissan Altima is a good choice. You can lease one this May for $159 to $189 per month for three years with two to three thousand dollars due at signing.
Nissan updated the suspension and steering systems for 2016 and the result is an Altima that’s even more engaging to drive than the 2015 model, which was already a good partner on twisty roads. Under the hood, the 2016 Altima has plenty of power from its 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine, and gas mileage is excellent for the class at an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
The Altima’s cabin is built with premium materials and the overall design is aesthetically pleasing. All the tech features are easy to use, and seating space is generous in front and back. Trunk space measures 15.4 cubic feet, which is average for the class, but the wide opening and large rear-seat pass-through make the space more useful.
2016 Ford Fusion
The 2016 Ford Fusion is a fun-to-drive midsize car with an upscale cabin. You can lease one this May for $139 to $189 per month for two to three years with $1,999 to $3,333 due at signing, depending on where you live.
The Fusion’s 175-horsepower four-cylinder engine is a little short on power, but the available turbocharged engines (181 and 231 horsepower) provide plenty of punch. Low lease rates may not be available in your region, however, on Fusions equipped with a turbocharged engine. Regardless of engine choice, the Fusion boasts agile handling, sharp steering, strong brakes, and a smooth ride.
The Fusion offers spacious seating in both rows, and the cabin has a contemporary design and good build quality. It also stays pretty quiet inside. The MyFord Touch infotainment system could be easier to use though, as it can be difficult to master and it’s not always responsive to user inputs.
2016 GMC Acadia
With an all-new 2017 Acadia going on sale later this year, GMC is offering a cheap lease rate on the 2016 Acadia this month. It’s available for $269 per month for three years with $2,939 due at signing. The 2016 Acadia has a roomy and comfortable interior and a smooth ride, but if the latest technology is a priority, you may want to wait for the 2017 model.
On the road, the 2016 Acadia feels more like a car than a large SUV thanks to its compliant ride and composed handling. Its 281-horsepower V6 engine has plenty of muscle in most situations, but it could use some more power when the Acadia is filled with passengers and cargo.
The Acadia has a cavernous interior with 116.1 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, an excellent figure for a large crossover. The seats are also accommodating with adult-friendly space in all three rows, and the sliding second-row seat makes accessing the third row easy. Plus, the cabin’s attractive styling and lots of soft-touch surfaces make upper trims of the Acadia feel almost like a Cadillac inside.
2016 Lexus NX
All-new last year, the upscale and roomy Lexus NX is one of the most affordable options for buyers looking to bring home a luxury SUV. This month you can lease an NX for $329 per month for three years with $2,999 to $3,999 due at signing.
As you’d expect in a Lexus, interior materials are top-notch and the cabin is tastefully designed. The front seats are comfortable and the rear seats are among the most spacious in the class. Cargo space isn’t a strong point though, as the NX’s 54.6 cubic feet of space behind the front row is low for a luxury compact SUV.
The NX’s standard turbocharged 235-horsepower four-cylinder engine has plenty of muscle, but several rivals are available with more potent engines. Around turns, the NX delivers confident handling and precise steering, but some competitors like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 are more engaging to drive overall.
2016 Ford F-150
Depending on where you live, you can get a capable and comfortable 2016 Ford F-150 this month for $229 to $319 per month for two to three years with $4,033 to $4,859 due at signing. Among full size pickup trucks, it is one of the most affordable options.
In most regions, the low lease rates this month apply to F-150s equipped with the twin-turbocharged 325-horsepower EcoBoost V6 engine, which delivers plenty of muscle and spry acceleration for a pickup truck. The F-150 can deftly handle a winding road, and it stays composed even when towing or venturing off-road.
The F-150’s front seats are spacious, comfortable, and supportive, and rear seat passengers won’t be complaining in the SuperCrew model, as leg room is very generous. Up front, the F-150’s new available SYNC 3 infotainment system is easy to use, unlike the old MyFord Touch system. A deployable tailgate step, as well as brackets and tie-down cleats mounted in the bed make loading and hauling a little easier.