Suggestions for Next Lease?

My current ford lease will be up in August, and I’m deciding what is next. I’ve appreciated reading posts on the forum, especially commentary on lease offers people have received. If you are interested/open, here is a snapshot of my leasing history and generally what I’m looking at. Open to any suggestions/feedback.

Ideal lease terms: new (not a demo or used), leased, 36 months / 45k miles / reasonable variance from my current lease (more awesome car is worth significantly more a month). I drive just a little more than 12k on average (could get away with 12k but not 10k).

Prior leases: 2004 WRX (loved/accident/if Subaru made a 5dr WRX now I’d lease that), 2007 Honda Accord (my 3rd Honda), 2010 Mazda3 5dr (great car), 2013 Maxda CX-5 (early production/factory order/lemon), 2013 Ford CMax Hybrid (ugly but great car for my needs), 2016 VW GTI (lemon), 2016 Ford CMax ($400/mo with tax $0 DAS 36 month/45k lease MSRP $36k) see earlier CMax - in bad accident or I would buy-out). Also worth mentioning that I have traveled for work 25-100% the last 10 years, and when I get rental cars I always tax something new. I can’t say I’ve driven everything, but more than the average CarMax salesperson or Hertz employee.

Currently live in San Diego, CA (7.75% use tax on each lease payment)

Preference (most to least): Wagon > Hatch Back > Convertible > Sedan > Small SUV (largest maybe Ford Edge)
Likes: Safety, great lease deals, Japanese Precision, European Luxury, Apple Car Play, Panoramic Sunroofs, Remote Start, Good Fuel Economy, Ordering exactly what I want and then renting less than 45% of that for 36 months (see earlier “likes lease deals”)
Speaking of Fuel: I like getting 38 MPG on Regular in a Hybrid -> Maybe a Plug-in Hybrid next (HOV access I would use infrequently) but probably not an EV and not an ICE-only (unless it was a convertible). Prefer any gas engine doesn’t require premium (max 91 in CA) but not a deal breaker.
Intangible Desires (not hard requirements): no GM or FCA (bail-outs), ideally this car had final assembly in the US > CA > MX > EU > JP (it’s always noisy in my head), no final assembly in China.

Ford advantage: Waive current lease disposition/double the excess wear and tear allowance. Saves a few bucks. Con: I haven’t seen many conquest deals, but the ones I have don’t list janky Ford as eligible.

Vehicles I’ve considered:

  • Volvo v60 - none on the ground / special order only / ordering is closed. I am a Costco member so I danced with a few dealers this week but the “deal” is on the S60 which I don’t want, the v60 is first choice, xc60 second but I won’t take a Chinese-built one and ordering is closed / on-ground are way overbuilt for me. Run this to ground and I think it’s dead, aside from the fact that even though it was a deal I didn’t feel like $729/mo was a deal for $55k MSRP.
  • Kia Nero - drove at LA and SD auto show, and it’s an excellent copy of the CMax, slightly-slightly less fancy that Ford. With tax it leases for about $400/mo, is a plug-in so HOV eligible, but it’s incredibly unsexy looking and built in Korea (neither deal breaker but not jumping up and down)
  • Ford Fusion Energi (sedan is a -, but it’s essentially my current car, updated), doesn’t lease well at all. Consider dead. I like the Escape and I’d take a 2018 or newer as long as it was loaded, but it doesn’t excite me at all. The Mustang is not my taste (and I live in a military town filled with them), if a loaded one was $299/mo I’d consider it but not for me
  • Honda Clarity - the lease deal is on the basic one, the loaded one has no deals. Lease is about $600/mo with 0 drive-offs, same low residual problem as Fusion Energi (probably distorted by the tax credits)
  • Mazda CX-5 (yes I’d get another one for under $400/mo with tax) or a Mazda3 5dr - both good mixes of what I like Japanese/European, pretty good fuel economy (although no hybrid/phev/green points) and lease for under $400/mo with tax. Miata is a way too small for me.
  • Subaru Outback or Impreza - the loaded impreza is very nice but it’s a neutered WRX. Love the new Forrester but feels too big/slow to me.
  • BMW - LOVE the 3 series wagon, would drive an X1 built to my specs, love the 440 convertible but I’m too cheap (even though I can afford it)
  • MB - E350 wagon is a tad wonky but way too expensive (MSRP, lease, the whole deal), B-Class is odd looking/cheap in wrong places (hubcaps?),
  • Audi - tainted by my VW Lemon/buyback, but the A3 E-Tron is cool (not sold new anymore), the EV SUV is late and months away and no deals, the A5 convertible is nice but I like the 440 better.
  • A USED Ford CMax or Fusion Energi, just off lease - not since I could afford a new car have I thought about a used car, but in this case since the residuals are so bad I’ve considered an off-lease certified plug-in that is a known quantity (it’s what I’m driving) but has not been in a $15k rear-end accident. 16k-18k depending on year and miles, but it’s just on the other side of depreciation chasm (which can only be filled with barrels and barrels of money).

If you have read this far, send me a bill for therapy. Otherwise fire away in the comments, I am curious to see your suggestions! Thanks

Make up your mind first. V60 or Outback?

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Isn’t the Outback like 6-8" longer than the Forester? Unless you get the 3.6R, won’t it have the same problem as the Forester in terms of feeling too big/slow? Just trying to help whittle down the list lol

Good grief. After the first 2 paras, I just skipped the rest. Get out and test drive and figure out what you want.

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For reals. Selecting a car based on the feedback of internet strangers is a dicey proposition.

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You are literally all over the place, buy a dart board, also find some more cars that won’t work and tell us about them.

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