Newbie - getting overwhelmed with the choices available



I’m a complete newbie and a bit overwhelmed. I’m trying to figure out my first step.

I’ve been reading the 101 articles and going through the forums so I think I generally get the idea of how to work with getting a lease. I have leased cars in the long ago in the past so I’m not totally unfamiliar with it. The calculator is a great help and I know if I study it more, I’ll get it down.

I’ve usually bought used Maximas, I leased a Mazda 626 (20 years ago), and now I have a 14-year-old Avalon that I really like, but will give to my daughter for school. I think the best route for me is to lease a car, since I don’t do much driving.

Here’s where I get overwhelmed… I don’t know exactly where to begin in choosing a car. I think I’d stick with the Avalon, but looking quickly at Toyota’s site they are $349 for 36 months with $2,999 at signing. I’d like the monthly to be $300 or under and a lot less down. When I go through the Leasehackr’s site (which is really helpful) there are some deals (like the Lexus UX 250h Hybrid SUV for $283/Month - which I know expired April 30th, and I didn’t read the fine print) and others. Since I am not particularly set on a specific car, if I saw a great deal like that, even though I never drove a Lexus UX, I’d probably run to the dealership, try it out to be sure and then work on getting that deal. The same goes for any great deal.

So where do I start? Do I start by finding the great deal or by knowing the car(s) I want? At the risk of sounding like a whiner, and someone who doesn’t want to put in the time/work to get a good deal, I don’t think I have time to try every single car out there.

Also, my understanding so far is that if I know the car or have narrowed them down to a few choices that I’d be happy with, then it is that better if I decide to work with a broker? If that is how brokers work - I’m still reading about using a broker, so pardon my ignorance.

Thank you for the help.

It will be much easier to just use a broker. Go to the northeast section of the marketplace and select a broker who is offering the car you might want. Follow their instructions and either text or direct message them.

Maybe see what cars are leasing well, then figure out which one of those you would like. The only reason to go to a dealer is to test drive the car. Do not talk numbers in person at the dealer.

Based on what you said, I would point you directly to the Marketplace section of the forums, filter by the tri-state area, and see what options are out there. From there you can select a broker you like.
If you are looking for the cheapest possible lease, you’re probably going to have to do your own legwork. If you are just looking for a new car with minimal effort, definitely hit up a broker!

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Check the Share Deals & Marketplace sections. You will see what people are getting for your target price. See if you qualify for those incentives and rebates, if you do start contacting dealers and get your own deal.

Cheap - go for Tacoma’s from Jim Rouleau on the Marketplace. Everything else needs legwork…

What are you interested in, are you a NJ or NY resident? Would you travel for a car? For legal reasons NY dealers can’t offer security deposits, so you’re out of luck there. Traveling to PA / NJ will definitely help.

What’s cars are you interested in? Only Lexus? Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, and Mazda are great tristate choices.

Choices, choices, choices. A car purchase can be overwhelming, you are not alone.

Based on your post, you would be using your time inefficiently if you twist your mind around a Lexus UX lease deal now without the confidence you would actually lease the car. Most people here will tell you “shop the car before you shop the deal”.

First, you need to decide what kind of car you want. In the same breadth you mention a Toyota Avalon and a Lexus UX - those are two very different vehicles. This tells me you are open to a wide range of car configurations and I suggest you spend the initial phase of your car search deciding what you want to drive. Large or midsize sedan? Compact? SUV? Compact SUV? I suggest you go to a Honda or Toyota dealer (or any local dealer of your choice) and test drive any car that looks appealing with the goal of deciding what “kind” of car you want.

Lets say you drive a Honda CR-V (compact SUV), Passport (2 row midsize SUV), Accord (midsize sedan), Civic (compact). In one trip to the Honda dealership you will walk away with a better idea of the type of car you will enjoy.

Let’s say you leave Honda and decide a compact SUV is what you like. Now you move to phase two of your search and identify the best-in-class cars within your preferred vehicle class. A google search will help you identify a list of of well-reviewed compact SUVs: Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Volkswagon Tiguan (Car & Drivers list, not mine). Research the specific cars online and go test drive each one. Your goal is to get down to a preferred rank of the 5 vehicles you drove.

Note, before you finalize your test-drive list of 5-ish best-of-breed vehicles take a quick look at the lease deals for each vehicle. On this site you will find many reputable brokers that post their current deal on a wide range of vehicles. Spend 5-10 minutes per vehicle and familiarize your self with their relative costs so you can test drive them and form a “value” opinion. An idea of a good lease deal can be a spreadsheet click away.

After your test drives, go research the deals and pencil out a deal for each vehicle you would be open to leasing.

Happy hunting.


TBH you may be happier purchasing.

Will you be happy or frustrated to go thru this process every 2-3 years? To have a payment in perpetuity? To pay for miles you don’t use?

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Are you a Costco member? The Volvo sedans would be perfect for what you’re looking for.

No Costco in sedans only wagons and suvs, wagons get the most (cash and Costco wise).


I really appreciate the lengthy reply. What you said makes a lot of sense and I was kinda thinking that direction.

Now it is just finding the time and energy to do that, but I’m sure it will be worth it.

Thanks so much.

I am a Costco member. I didn’t know about the Volvo sedans. I’ll have to take a look.


I live in NY, but I’m on the border of NJ. So going there isn’t an issue.

I’m happy to travel if it is the right deal.

Honestly, I don’t know what I’m interested in. My first thoughts are to look at the Camry, Avalon, Mazda 6, Accord and Chrysler 300. Possibly the Genesis as well.
I’d look at Volvos, but I’ve never driven them. Also BMW and Mercedes I think start to get out of my price range.

I think I need to narrow the cars I would be happy with first before really looking into the deals available.

I see what you are saying, and I have most owned in the past. But I think at this point in my life and with a kid in college and other factors, leasing might be better for me now.

I definitely appreciate the advice. I think it was pretty insightful.

Thank you for the advice. I really appreciate it. I’m going to look closely at it.

I am getting that feeling that, for me, a broker would be better.

You are right, I should definitely not talk to the dealer about numbers. I don’t get a new car often and for each time I did, I have a story… I’m sure you and everyone here has even better ones that I do.


After reading through your responses it seems to me like you are somewhat like my father. He drives an old clunker because he can’t make a decision on what car he wants, and after being burned by deals in the past (mostly disastrous maintenance) he’s paranoid to commit.
Him and I both feel like the deal matters more than the car, we get more of a kick out of saying hey my car is $200/month rather than driving a certain car.
As previously mentioned you’ll want to look at Tacoma’s and the Volvo’s (especially the wagons.) Hiring a broker will probably be the best decision you can make, they’ll do the work and get you a deal you will feel happy about for the duration of the lease.
I’d also like to recommend looking at loaner/demo cars and you’ll save some cash! Many of the brokers have spreadsheets on here or will post deals, so you can check out pricing with no commitment.
P.s. make sure you have your exit strategy when going to a dealer to test drive. I hate wasting time with a salesman who thinks he can pressure me into a deal today.

I am actually very happy with my old clunker. I only have to get another car because of my daughter and I think I should get the new car, not her. I’m selfish that way. :wink:

The thing is, my old clunker is a 2004 Avalon that my elderly uncle just gave me a few years ago because he couldn’t drive anymore. He lived in NYC and barely drove it. When I got it, around 2014, it only had 29,000 miles on it. Now it has about 80,000. I’ll never get a deal like that!

Here’s, some more questions I have:

I think I have it narrowed down to a Camry or an Accord (nice but not luxury). I just need a commuter car (that I won’t even drive every day). My next step is to figure out which trim level and there seems to be so many levels it is hard to get a handle on it. I saw that Edmunds compares car, but you need to know which trim level. Do you know of a website that easily compares/shows the trim levels on different cars?

My second question is, let’s say I’m looking at a fully loaded Camry — that goes for nearly 34k MSRP. But a base Avalon is almost 36k. If I could squeeze out a few more thousand (about $56 a month), would it be worth it for the “upgrade”? My guess is that the answer would be, “is that what you want?”

Lastly, is there such a thing as a used-car lease? Am I just asking for trouble by asking that question? I saw some 2019 Avalons between 24,900 - 26,500 and that is a more comfortable financial range for me, yet I like the Avalons.

Thank you for all the help!

Have you tried the manufacturer’s website?

A fully loaded Camry is closer to $40k, not $34k. Besides that, you do not compare leasing payments on different models like that. You need to look at the leasing program, not just based on MSRP.