Lease cost vs Purchase

Good morning everyone. I am hoping the wise car gurus here can help in checking my math on leasing vs purchasing. I currently own a 2007 Honda Ridgeline RTL with roughly 110,000 miles. I am thinking of leasing in the next few months and want to make sure I make the right decision. I have never leased a car so I could be missing important information from my breakdown but this is also just a rough estimate on both sides. I live somewhere with snow most of the year and drive less than 12,000 miles on average. I like to change cars often and I don’t plan on doing any modifications to any vehicle. The math below would be shifted a bit more toward the lease assuming I was trading in often.

I came up with after owning the 2007 Honda Ridgeline since new is $36,350 - $8,000 current value= $28,350. Total cost for a lease across the same 14 years, assuming a monthly payment of $310 or a total of $52,080. Total difference $23,730, monthly difference of $141.25. I have some additional cost built into the Ridgeline cost, repairs, tires, breaks, oil changes and misc with a total of $3,200. The $3,200 is likely on the low end.

I left out insurance, which could also have an impact. I have carried full coverage, even with a paid off vehicle. Lots of snow=lots of people who are not great at driving in the snow. When I see the numbers I feel good about my decision to lease but everyone keeps saying its a bad financial decision. Just looking for opinions from the group here. I know its my decision but looking for someone to bring up something I could be leaving out.

Thank you

If you plan to keep a car for only three years, leasing is usually the better way to go. If you plan to keep it for 14 years, and it is dependable like a Honda/Toyota, buying should be significantly cheaper.

You appear to not have included car registration fees in your comparison. The registration fees would be much higher on a newer car than on an older car.

I am confused by your statement that you like to change cars often. Owning the same car for 14 years does not seem like changing cars often.


I did leave car registration fees off. Thank you for the note on that. I will need to look up the cost for that, recently moved to a new state.
*** registration fees are $200 in my state.

I have not owned the Ridgeline since new, was just using that as a guide for purchase vs lease and cost over long term. I have owned the Ridgeline for just over a year.

Thanks for the input.

That point-of-view typically comes from folks that don’t buy cars often, nor do they usually appreciate what they are trying. There are many references on LH and the web as to when/why leasing makes sense.

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Yeah like most things you find opinions on both sides. It seems most of the POV on it being a poor decision is assuming you are keeping the car for 10+ years. I can afford the extra cost to have a car I enjoy driving and it seems to make sense for me. While I don’t mind the extra cost, I just want to make sure I am not missing any additional cost that I might have overlooked.

Without running the numbers for your own use case, its foolish to make generalizations.
That being said, lets make some foolish generalizations.

Generally speaking if you were to stick with one segment/model vehicle for 10 years, in your case a honda ridgline I’d wager a gazillion $$ that in 10 years, your total lease cost would be significantly higher then had you purchased the ridgeline out right.

Value. If you value numericals soley, then leases are probably not the best decision. If you consider that in 4 years the '25 ridgeline may have self driving, more rigid body structure, safer, under warranty, thats something you have to decide as to much value they offer over purely saving numerically.

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Aside from a few exceptions most vehicles are not leasing well right now.

Im not suggesting lease is cheaper. My post does mention the lease vs purchasing difference for my Ridgeline is 24k ish over the last 14 years. This is assuming my current vehicle being purchased new and maintained over the last 14 years. More looking for input of additional cost on lease and get a general feel for peoples opinions between the two options.

You’re on a forum dedicated to maximizing value while leasing. Needless to say, we’re all pretty convinced on the value of leasing.

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Thats fair and also why I chose to post here. This community obviously has an overall positive view of leases but also a bit more educated on how leases work vs. most. As I mention in my post, just looking for more experienced people that have leased to comment on how a lease was a good decision for them and if any noticeable holes in my logic. Thanks

Some fees people do not talk about here much are the acquisition fees and the large tax amounts due on manufacturer rebates in California. One recent offer that got a lot of attention was the $339 per month deal for a 24 month lease on a 70K plus Audi E-tron. However, when you factor in the acquisition fees and other due at signing costs/fees, the actual price was closer to $500 per month, plus tax. Not a bad deal, but not really $339 per month either.

It seems like most vehicles are not purchasing well either. It’s a sellers market.

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The holes in the logic depend on whether the only vehicle you choose to drive, purchase or lease is based on the honda ridgeline, because the numbers are simple there.

If you vary your vehicle choice in the course of your total vehicle ownership period, things kind of get muddy.

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Pure number wise, hardly any leases can compare to a reliable pickup you own for over 10+ years with 100k+ miles, maybe those Tacos and free Bolt in NJ. Also I personally focus on $/mile, that’s more accurate IMO.

Anything above mainstream, leasing will likely be better except maybe some Lexus and Acura. You also need to factor in the value of driving new cars every 2-3 years, better techs more importantly improvement in safety features. No offense, if one were caught in a serious accident in a XC90 at $400/mo, the chance of survival will be much much higher than that of a old Ridgeline. That’s priceless to me.

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You bring up a good point and something I left off my initial post. My interest in getting a new car has increased with returning back to the office in a month. I have been working from home for the last year and have only put about 2,000 miles on the truck in the last year. My commute will be 42 miles round trip once I return. Fuel cost for the Ridgeline based on just driving to work for a year and gas prices of $2.99 will be about $1,794 assuming an average of 17.5 gas mileage. If I can find a lease with an average of 32ish I can save a bit each year.

The cars I would replace the Ridgeline with would likely be a Toyota, Hybrid Highlander, Rav-4, or Venza. I agree on the cost vs additional safety, its worth it.

I did this exact exercise. I owned a 2008 Infiniti G35 that I bought used and owned from 2010-2018, and saved every single repair and service bill in the years I owned the car. I did not factor in regular oil changes, or gas, or annual registration fees nor insurance. I came up with a total cost of ownership and divided it by the total months I owned the car and came up with $254.

Through this site I found a Tacoma lease, that works out to $280/month over the 36 months. For the difference in monthly payments, I’m happy to have a new car, that I don’t (or shouldn’t) have to worry about spending tons of time in the shop, as the car ages. Leasing is more expensive (especially the annual registration fees), but for me, it’s worth it. This is my first lease, and as long as I can stay around the $280-300/month payment, I’m not sure I want to own a car again.

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Great. Its good to hear from someone that owned for a few years and went to leasing and is still happy with the decision. A new Tacoma for under $300 a month sounds great and I can’t imagine you would run into any repairs. Thanks for the reply.

Since you are in California.
Keep the Ridgeline
Get a Toyota Mirai for $20k with $15k car Hydrogen Credit.
Drive that slow beast to work every day
Keep the Ridgeline for when you need a truck.

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silicon valley this guy fucks GIF by Team Coco

Breaking the numerical curve!

You missed a big part in your calculations - the cost of capital. Think about a return on the equity in your car if you would have invested it in S&P or perhaps Bitcoin:)

It is safe to assume a 6% annual return on investment. $36,350 that you paid for the car will become $82,183 in 14 years. Yes, you could have an extra $45,833 now.

However, I just plugged in your number in the S&P return calculator starting from Jan 2007. The actual rate of return was ~9.44% what would have generated $127,479.68.