2016 WRX to a 2017/2018 STI

Hey guys, apologies in advance for what may be a more lengthy post. Just heard about this forum from reddit.
Currently I am leasing what is my first car, a 2016 WRX premium trim. I am about to hit the 2 year mark of my agreement in August on a 3 year deal (12,000 miles a year or 36k in total). The car has been shared between my father and I (long story but I will spare the details) so we have accumulated a lot of miles thus far (~31k) over a number of trips, school, etc. We pay $469 a month (a hell of a lot for a WRX I know).

I am interested in possibly returning the lease early to get myself into a 2017 or 2018 STI (while the interior of the 2018 has been revamped, I am more concerned about getting a better deal to be honest). I am relatively young so my knowledge with this whole process is very limited but this time around I would like to take more of the initiative during the car buying process (since I will be the sole driver this time around) and would like to become more knowledgeable before visiting a dealership.

Now from what I understand and the help I received from Subaru sales related associate on Reddit, my car’s worth at this point may still be higher or close enough to payout amount that the dealership may charge me. Again, if I understand this correctly that would leave me with positive equity or floating in very little negative equity that would be carried over to my new lease. Using the KBB instant cash offer, the car is worth around $20,000 (while the sales guy from reddit said i can possibly get as much as 22-24k).

Please excuse my lack of knowledge, I am trying to learn as much as possible so I do not screw myself over this time around and I greatly appreciate any help that you guys can offer. Thanks!

Little Edit: Been doing some research into some programs Subaru offers that may help. I am a Subaru ambassador so I get the $500 off. They also offer loyalty leasing programs as well as a college graduate program (or soon to be graduate as myself). Can’t seem to find much more on those two programs though.

You can get great deal on 17
How much you owe on car ?
Might want to do it before the 18 comes out

My thoughts exactly. While the 18s look nice, not enough of a refresh to warrant the extra payments.

I don’t have any exact numbers but the car sticker price we paid was around 32k (CVT transmission bumped it up). My next payment will mark the 22nd month of the lease so I would have paid $10,318 leaving me with $6,566 that I would owe ($16,884 is what I would pay if I kept it for the entire 36 month agreement).

You might want to call and check sometimes going by what u pay a month is wrong.

Yeah, I’ll try and give them a call but I also plan on visiting a larger dealership in my area (not the one I initially leased the vehicle from) to discuss the numbers in greater detail. Just trying to get an idea of what to expect and get my head on straight so to speak before going. Fairly new to all of this.

Just found 16 premium with 9k miles for 27 k

Checking the used inventory myself around the New York metropolitan area (sorry I did not mention that in my OP), most premium trims in both manual and automatic around my mileage mark are hovering around 22-26k. A few similiar deals to the one you mentioned though as well.

Oh ok yeah I’m in so cal