Great Lease Hack? Or Just a Cheap Deal for Distressed Merchandise?

Maybe it happened after reading about the umpteenth e-tron lease hack, or perhaps it was yet another MDX thread that prompted it, or maybe it was just seeing the latest Grand Cherokee figures someone posted…but it all got me to thinking…when is a great lease hack really a great lease hack? Does the fact that the great deal someone got was largely due to the fact that the vehicle in question is “distressed merchandise” factor into the equation at all? Does it change the way you view the deal? Or can both scenarios (great deal and distressed merchandise) simply be true at the same time and oh well?

To be a little more specific, If I lease a two year old e-tron that everyone from Costco to government entities to dealerships is throwing money at to look “green” and/or to simply get rid of them…did I accomplish a great lease hack or did I really just end up getting something that nobody really wants and was really overvalued to begin with at a price that reflects those issues? If I get a great deal on a 2020 Grand Cherokee (current generation came out in 2011!) or 2020 MDX (current generation came out in 2014) shouldn’t that be a given considering both vehicles have been around for ages and are slated to finally be replaced with all-new versions for 2021? (Maybe later now for the Grand Cherokee from what I’ve read) I know they both still sell very well, but Acura and Jeep and their dealerships are putting thousands and thousands of dollars on the table to help make that continue to happen. I’m not trying to disparage these vehicles, since honestly I wouldn’t mind having any one of them. But I do admit to kind of shrugging my shoulders when I see people post/brag about the awesome deals they got on these three SUV’s.

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You can have a great deal on a vehicle they’re pushing hard. I think the e-tron deals are fantastic. If I was in the market now, I’d totally be in one.

It’s definitely up to the buyer to evaluate the value of the vehicle. A cheap car doesn’t necessarily mean a good value. This is a great reason where comparing deals on % of MSRP doesn’t make sense. A mediocre deal on an mdx is cheap on the % of MSRP basis, but that’s mainly just because the MSRP is very high for what you get for your dollar.

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Your right, the inventory that is subsidized and everyone and their brother is throwing support at to make them go away. EV is whole other topic because the state throwing the most incentive, has energy blackout issues which I think is hilarious. “ we encourage EV cars, wait don’t charge them “ . Many of the most scrutinized deals in here are vehicles a true car lover would drive and for that have terrible “LH” scores. Caveat occasionally you get lucky ie $500 dollar hellcats, or that rare $500 dollar M3.


Would you really want an e-tron if it wasn’t for what you perceive to be the great deals available for them? And again, is it a great lease hack (not just great deal) if it’s easy to accomplish? And further, is it even a great deal at all if the e-tron is drastically overpriced to begin with? I know it’s all subjective (kind of like the thread addressing whether Tesla is a luxury vehicle that I found so interesting) and we’re all just exchanging our opinions, but to me your knock on the MDX (which is valid) is also true for the e-tron. Here is a quote from a recent Jalopnik article:

When Roger Penske said that the E-Tron was too expensive in November, Audi pretty much brushed it off, saying that it was happy with E-Tron sales for a car that starts at $74,800. Except today it said that it was lowering the price of the base 2021 E-Tron by several thousand dollars.

The 2021 also has more range, or 18 miles more range to be exact, or a total of EPA-estimated 222 miles, and 218 miles on the sportback version. All through various optimizations, according to Audi.

The price was the bigger shocker, as Audi said it would be slashing the E-Tron’s base price by $8,900, a move you almost never see from automakers, and especially by that much. The new base price of $65,900 undercuts both Tesla Models S and X pretty significantly while being a few thousand more than the performance version of the Model Y.

When I got my last vehicle, the e-tron was something I was considering as an option, but opted against because it was too expensive. At the current prices, I would have been all over it.


It’s important to understand that they did this by adding a lower trim level, to fall in line with the trim levels offered on all their other vehicles. They didn’t just drop the msrp by thousands.


There’s a reason people are driving around in free bolts and it ain’t that they are popular cars.


Yes, but I think they are also realizing that the perceived value of an e-tron just isn’t there at $75K to $85K either.

What is the internal moral dilemma you are hoping Internet strangers can solve for you?

Distressed merchandise is the 40,000 (old body style) Dodge minivans that were built for the rental car companies before they stopped buying. 2019s and 2020s that don’t have CarPlay, Android Auto, or Bluetooth

Audi took a swing on a new model with the eTron, sold plenty at MSRP out of the gate, people who are happy with them leased early at $800-$900/mo. The same exact ones people are hacking leases at half or less on because 1) they built too many 2019s 2) the content and pricing was slightly off and adjusted for 2020. I wouldn’t call it distressed if they have no plans to stop selling it. Whether or not Roger Penske was right, VWAG is one of the largest auto companies in the world, and they wanted to test the market for a premium Electric SUV. They collected the data and made adjustments, and frankly the adjustment was pretty small.

You’re the one who brought up Tesla, how about those price adjustments? Start with the Model X across it’s life, and then take the month of adjustments March-April 2019.

Same here. If I was leasing this summer instead of last, I’d have an eTron instead of an XC60.

The Bolt is being refreshed for 2021, and Chevy is clearing out the 2020s. At the current prices, even outside CA and NJ where it’s free (those programs have been around, they aren’t specific to those models, they just happen to make the Bolt extra attractive), it’s a great value. But maybe you don’t want an EV, or the styling isn’t for you.

Back to your original question: It doesn’t matter if cat food is onsale if you don’t have a cat, move on to what you want/need. If you are shopping for something that is currently a hack, no need to justify wanting it. Plenty of people who got insanely cheap BMWs during the last firesale swapped out in the first year because they over-shopped the deal vs the car.

But don’t worry about Chevy and Audi’s product mix and pricing, they pay plenty of people, with more information that anyone here has access to, to worry about that for them.


To start off with one of your go-to questions (I’ve seen you use it more than once) “what is the internal moral dilemma you are hoping internet strangers can solve for you” by responding the way you do when people are simply asking for a little feedback about a lease-related subject? I’ve noticed that the majority of your comments on people’s threads and posts are pretty condescending and rude. It kind of negates the actual leasing knowledge you bring to the forum. An easy example is a recent comment of yours that I saw where you were telling the guy who was really enthusiastic about buying a Tesla Model Y that it’s a mom car and you’ve only seen one guy driving one. Very constructive. Not sure what going to the trouble of making a comment like that on someone’s thread accomplishes.

Now, back to the subject. In my case, I already leased a new vehicle a month and a half ago. So I was simply asking a question. I thought it was interesting. Maybe you didn’t. Sometimes people just ask the community questions (like the one about whether Teslas are a luxury car that I mentioned in response to another comment on this thread) to get some feedback about what other folks think. Simple as that. It’s cool to see how people feel about lease deals and the automotive market and about cars in general, especially on a site like this that has such a unique mission. Most people manage to provide their thoughts in a positive way. Some don’t. To be blunt (since you seem to understand blunt) I was trying to ask if it’s really a great lease hack when someone gets a cheap payment for something that nobody wants (e-tron), or is overpriced (e-tron), and/or has so much money being thrown at it (e-tron and MDX and to some degree Grand Cherokee) that anyone can get a great deal. In the “About Leasehackr” section of this site, it says: “Leasehackr is the web’s largest community dedicated to the art of hacking a car lease deal.” So my question really is, is there any art involved in hacking a great deal on the three SUV’s I mentioned?

Also, a comment that you seemed to be attributing to me was actually from the article I referenced that was on the Jalopnik site: “The price was the bigger shocker, as Audi said it would be slashing the E-Tron’s base price by $8,900, a move you almost never see from automakers, and especially by that much.” But I agree with it. I do think the folks at Audi realize the price of the e-tron is just too high. And whether it’s via a new trim level or whatever other reasoning they want to use to justify it, I think it helps validate the argument that e-trons are too expensive. It seems as though you’re an e-tron fan (or just an e-tron deal fan?) so I can understand your getting a little defensive about the product and the pricing.

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I suppose this all comes down to how you determine what a great deal is. The manufacturer may be throwing a ton of money at a car, but if you go in and get a lease deal with a pre-incentive discount that’s worse than everyone else is getting, you may have a cheap lease that’s still a bad deal compared to what is possible. The mean may shift, but I still want to be a few sigma to the right.

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That makes sense. I appreciate your comments.