Makes sense to lease 1st car for a new driver?

I want to buy a manual transmission 1st car for my daughter. She will turn 16 in August, but she will be practicing soon. Yeah, realistically she can’t work for her first car due to sports and we live in the suburbs without school buses (broken California). Anything without ABS or airbags are vetoed; which makes my 1984 Volvo idea out of the question.

I was going to buy her an older manual transmission (7-10k budget), possibly a Mini or Mazda or Subaru (nothing much old without airbags, side airbags are bonus).

Now does it make sense to lease? 10K for 3 years means $277/mo; or about 150/mo if I lease it for 6 years.

I doubt say a 2013 Mini would last 6 years; maybe the Mazda would.


Maybe I am missing something here but generally speaking, you can only lease a new car and very few banks will consider a 6 year lease.

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In other words, I don’t know of a $10k car that you can lease.

You can definitely try. I’ve seen manual new Kia’s and they fit into your budget.

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Sorry, that was my confused math. I don’t want to lease a 10k car, but a car that costs me <$200/mo any price I don’t care.

I mean, if I lease a brand new car for 3 years for $150-$200/mo; then lease another new car 3 years later, also for the same price; I’d be spending about the same (about 10k) as buying a used car a few years old; without the headaches of a used car running out of warranty (most likely cheap cars have tons of miles anyway.)

Just a thought, but if the right car comes by, perhaps makes sense? IDK

Oh! I’m with you. Well my kid is only 2 years old so I am a long ways away from having this dilemma but I can say if he were driving now, I’d much rather have all the newest and greatest safety features as opposed to a car that was even 5 years old. Most new cars nowadays have some sort of emergency pre-collision avoidance system and blind spot monitor standard.

I will add, if you end up leasing, purchase the “wear and tear” package… save you a lot of headaches if they curb the rims etc. come lease turn in.

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Right? yeah.

I’d certainly go with a lease over buying. First time drivers are more prone to accidents, even if they are minor ones. Just comes with the territory. And if you don’t want to create problems with your insurance by submitting claims, and also having your car devalued by the accidents once you submit the claims, leasing is definitely the way to go. A reliable car with a good warranty and maintenance package for a first time driver is a great idea. If you’re new to leasing, a useful metric to start with, though it doesn’t apply universally to every manufacturer and leasing program, is the 1% rule. In other words if you want a $200 lease payment with zero due at signing (tax, registration, license inc) other than first month, and want maximum value for your money, a 20k-23k car is what you want to be shopping for. For a $150 payment, 15k-18k. These would be aggressive deals but they can be found

I would suggest a car with more safety features than just airbags…but a purcahse might be better.

Jetta S, Impreza, and Accord all have manual transmissions and are decent leases.

Accord is the lone IIHS Top Safety Pick, thanks to Acceptable headlights, good crash results, and effective automatic emergency braking (AEB).

Jetta missed out on Top Safety Pick status due to Poor headlights; otherwise great ratings. Most models are optioned with AEB.

Impreza has good crash ratings, too, but Marginal headlights and no AEB with manual transmission.


From personal experience . Bought to my son 2017 Honda cicvic brand new . Now after 2.5 years 3 collisions and car fax which degrade car value in half. I wish I lease that first car.


The 1% rule is absolutely useless as any sort of metric for leasing. It does nothing to inform the quality of a deal and gives both unreasonable expectations and costs thousands.

The ONLY way to judge the merit of a lease deal is by evaluating the specific deal for the specific person.

Leasing would be a better place if that stupid “rule” had never been uttered.


Ok if you say so :+1:t2:

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I was in your daughters position just two years ago. We ended up going with a lease.

It undoubtedly would have made more financial sense to buy a used car. However, the safety advancements in modern cars convinced my mother.

The difference in prices in your buy vs. lease seem really small. Pay the premium for the safety features.

The safety of your daughter is worth more than $50 a month.

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With the amount of variation in different leasing situations, it shouldn’t be too hard to see why such a rule simply can’t work.

What lease terms does it refer to? 36 months? 24? 39? What about miles per year? 10k? 15k? What about incentives? What if you qualify for loyalty? What if you don’t? What about taxes? Is it before or after taxes? Does it assume sales tax on the payment? What if you’re in Texas where the whole vehicle price is taxed is it the 1.1% rule then? Does it only apply to brands that don’t subvene rates? What about regions? Different regions get drastically different incentives sometimes. Is 1% only applicable in the north west regions? 1.2% for the south, as long as it isn’t Texas or on a BMW?

On some vehicles, 1.2% is an impossible target. On some vehicles, .5% is an absolutely attrocious deal. The ONLY viable metric is to evaluate the specific vehicle to the specific person leasing it.


As I said, it “doesn’t apply to every manufacturer and program,” and by extension every person and situation.

You seem unnecessarily angry or agitated. So how about I just say you’re right about everything so there is no argument,K? :+1:t2:


That suggests that there are situations where it does apply. A broken clock is right twice a day. That doesn’t mean it’s useful for telling time.

This 1% rule nonsense is something that gets spread around like the plague and is something that someone new to leasing should be specifically warned against. We very often get people that come on here and preach it like gospel where it gets picked up by people trying to learn who try to follow it like it means something.

The whole purpose of this site is for everyone to learn as much as possible so they can approach their negotiations from a position of knowledge. Blind “rules” that ignore all of that do no one any good.

If we could get rid of that and the LH score on the calculator, so many headaches for people that try to use them without understanding them would be saved.

Oh boy, that was a long one. You all done?

Obviously you can lease a new and safe car inexpensively for a 16 year old but isn’t the bigger issue insurance? I always thought it was too expensive to insure 16 year olds on a leased car because they require full coverage and it was cheaper to get an older car that can be insured with just PD/PL. I am wrong in my assumption?

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Does it HAVE to be a manual? Is this some kind of deterrent from texting and driving? Or she must have more fun driving her vehicle than others? I’d get her a 6-10 year old Corolla or Civic, liability insurance only. Cheap, safe, reliable.