Bolt LT Lease vs. Buy

This is a little bit of Apples to Oranges since I’m comparing a 2020 lease to purchasing a 2021. I figured if I was going to buy, the year newer would retain more residual value even though they are essentially the same vehicle. Also, I’m in Oregon. Since there isn’t an option to choose OR from the list, I picked CA. Thanks in advance!

Both cars are configured exactly the same. They are LTs with Comfort Convenience, False Floor Cargo, Confidence Packages 1&2, DC Fast Charge and Tire Inflator.

2020 Lease: reflects all discounts and fees wrapped in. Zero Down. First payment is $271 (includes a bit of tax), followed by 35 payments at $185. 53% residual. We’d just return it.

2021 Purchase: reflects all discounts and fees. $22,922.

Given the rate of change happening in EVs, it seems like the lease is the way to go and for Oregon, those terms are pretty good. The purchase price is good though. It’s close to what it’s residual would be after three years of use.

What’s the best way to think about this, besides going with my gut?


With technology advancing so quick, especially EV technology I would personally not buy. The lease incentives are great and at the end of the term you don’t have to worry about getting rid of an unwanted car, the bolt has a very low resale value compared to the MSRP, although you are getting a good price.
In the end it’s up to you.


You need to compare the same car, lease vs purchase, and take some wild assumption. Most likely the Bolt won’t have the same market value (talking about 17 and 18s) you see today in 3 years. But we do know there are cheap Bolt leases you don’t need to worry in 3 years. Or at least, negotiate the best deals for both cars first then you can compare. I also have a gut feeling your 2020 lease deal isn’t negotiated at its best. $185 for a LT '20 leftover is high. There’s more you can do on that.

Also we don’t know your plan, if you need new car in 3 years probably lease. I don’t know about Oregon but If you can keep rolling that state rebate every 3 years it likely will beat out owning a car for long term.

A side note, most people lease Bolt as a disposal car, just to run errands or get by commute cause why not if it’s dirt cheap. I’m not sure you but after sitting and driving it I don’t think I want to keep the car


You’re assuming that the lease residuals are even remotely accurate on these. During a normal market, I wouldn’t expect that $23k number to be anywhere near what this is worth three years from now.


I would lease it, if You do not like it after first or 2 years You can easily swap it

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I would like to wager all my dogecoin on the under of $23k in 3 years for a Bolt.

If you can sell it for about $16,500 in 3 years, the buy is the way to go. Personally, I would lease a Bolt not buy.

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If Carvana’s offer to me is market accurate, you would be absolutely correct :slight_smile: My brand new 2020 when it had 8 miles on it was worth $19,500 to Carvana.


Yep, lease a Bolt/Leaf, buy a Model 3.


What’s the best way to do this? I’ve seen better deals, but this is still pretty good, especially for Oregon. Do I ask them to discount the MSRP? How do I calculate what discount will result in what payment?

Thanks to everyone!

Exactly why I got it, this car is an incredibly low cost commuting monster! Personally I find it comfortable and incredibly stress free to drive so it is fulfilling its mission well.

The RV of a lease is irrelevant to a purchase. The resale value is unlikely to be anywhere near that high.

We always recommend the following method before you ever contact a dealership. If you do all of the work up front, you’ll have a stress free dealer experience and set yourself for success.

  1. Read Leasing 101 (EDITORIAL | LEASEHACKR) to understand how to calculate a lease payment and the variables. Monthly payment is an output, not an input!!
  2. Pick a specific vehicle that you want to target
  3. Gather the current MF, RV and incentives from Edmunds forums for your zip code
  4. Research the LH marketplace and other deals that have been made recently on your vehicle - what was their pre-incentive discount? How did their lease terms differ?
  5. Plug your numbers into the LH calculator (CALCULATOR | LEASEHACKR), and use a pre-incentive discount similar to what you have seen
  6. Create a target deal, this is what you’re trying to negotiate to. You can try different terms, selling price discount, etc. and see how your monthly payment is affected. It is also possible that different trims of your vehicle may have different MF and RV (i.e. this is very common with GM), so make sure that you look into that. Come up with a set of inputs that give you the output that you want - your desired monthly payment.

With a target price determined, you now have a deal to pursue and compare dealer offers against. More importantly, you have a solid foundation to work from.

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This is the problem. I can’t find any Oregon deals.

They don’t need to be Oregon deals. Local is of course better, but you can start your numbers further out.

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Here’s the actual numbers:

MSRP $39995
Initial Cap Cost: $38,751.68
MF: 0.00012 (APR .29%)
Term: 36 months/10k miles per year
Added Cap Cost (DMV and Disposition): $1668.50
Rebate: $15,250
Adjusted Cap Rate: $25,287.69
Sales Tax: $204.47
Due At Start: $272.67
Monthly Payment: $185.71

I’m trying to figure out how they got to the adjusted cap, since it isn’t a round number. I’d like to get the best deal I can get and wondering what the best approach is. Thanks for helping a newbie out (who did read the Leasing 101 :wink: !

$1200 discount before incentives, there’s your problem.

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That was a health care provider discount, not a dealer reduction, but I left it out. Thanks!

They did a further dealer deduction and got me to $150/mo. That’s $5482.24 all in for a fully equipped LT. One Pay would drop it less than $100 since it’s at 0.29% APR.

Thanks everyone!

Doesn’t make any sense to buy these, the residual is inflated and the money is cheap, just lease it and let GM take the hit in 3 years. Plus if you have an accident/total it, no worries about diminished value etc.


As to your question about how to get the “Best Deal”.

The best approach is to only negotiate based on Dealer discount off MSRP prior to ALL incentives of any kind, (Manufacturer or Government & either pre or post purchase).

Remember, new car dealers don’t lease cars, they just sell them.

They couldn’t care less whether they sell the car to you or a lessor, (normally their captive lender), either way they’re selling the whole car.

Never negotiate based on payment, (it just makes the entire transaction more confusing and allows opacity).

Lease Vs. Purchase is a downstream decision that ONLY you can make, (and this decision should NEVER be based on a monthly payment).

I agree…this car is IMO a cut and dry lease decision.

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