Optimism reigns, and a new year is welcomed with the smell of vaccines in the air. As we shun the stench of 2020 and embrace the flower of 2021, thoughts turn to leasing a new vehicle.This month, all the featured leases are on 2021 models. These factory-backed leases are a great start to getting a great lease. But they’re only a start. You’ll need to work to save some bucks.So, calm down and get ready to do some research. Maybe your bank, your credit union, or some leasing company has a better deal available. Maybe your accountant has some not-at-all-shady tax strategy to write off the expense. Do the work and you will be rewarded.

Remember, a lease is a financial transaction and should be treated as such. It’s a bottom-line judgment made by a customer to enter into a legal contract. Don’t just assume a lease is the right thing to do. Know if the lease works to your best advantage.Keep in mind that the world, as it is now, may not be how it is in the next few years. And that’s how long a new vehicle lease runs: a few years. Everyone’s situation is different. Maybe purchasing something (new or used) is the play right now instead of taking on the contractual obligations of a lease. It may be best to do nothing at all.

Whatever your decision, you’ll have to live with it. Know yourself and know your money.Negotiate, NegotiateThe cost of a lease is rather straightforward. You (the lessee) pay for the depreciation of the vehicle over the lease term and the cost of the money the lessor is using to purchase the vehicle, plus fees such as security deposits, acquisition fees, disposition charges, and anything else the creative accountants can come up with. Basically, you pay some of the capital costs and fees up front in the form of your initial payment and then a monthly charge that varies with expense and depreciation.Always shop for the total cost first; don’t negotiate solely on the basis of monthly payments, and never be afraid to ask for a little more sugar to sweeten the deal. And if they don’t have sugar, honey works well, too.


2021 Acura TLX$369 per month/$3788 at signing36 months/30,000 miles56 cents per mileThe Acura TLX is all better for 2021 with the return of what was once the brand’s signature engineering element: the double-wishbone front suspension. This deal is solid for a luxury mid-size sedan. And it’s even fun to drive. Watch out for the low 10,000-mile-per-year allowance. But at least additional miles are affordable at 20 cents each.Offer ends March 1.


2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer$219 per month/$1549 at signing39 months/32,500 miles32 cents per mileWith adorable crossover utes like the Hyundai Venue, Nissan Kicks, and Ford EcoSport attracting entry-level buyers, Chevrolet had to enter the fray. This deal is for the upscale LT model with all-wheel drive and a more powerful 1.3-liter turbo rated at 155 horsepower. That’s not a lot of power, but finding all-wheel drive on a featured lease model is rare. This is a national deal, but only available to lessors coming out of a current lease.Offer ends February 1.


2021 Kia K5$189 per month/$3337 at signing36 months/36,000 miles29 cents per mileEven on its newest vehicles, Kia is aggressively promoting leases. That includes the K5, which replaces the Optima in the lineup for 2021. It’s a dang fine-looking machine on this lease, which includes a full 1000 miles per month over its 36-month term. In most states, there will be a $400 termination fee at lease end.If the LXS trim isn’t exciting enough, Kia also offers a $199-per-month lease on the sportier GT-Line trim under the same terms and after $3336 at signing. That’s a dollar cheaper to start, and 10 bucks more a month to keep it going.Offer ends February 1.


2021 Kia Seltos$189 per month/$2699 at signing36 months/36,000 miles27 cents per mileKia’s ever-expanding lineup of crossover SUVs now includes the Seltos, which adds aggressive and attractive styling into a class that was often just boxes on wheels. While the offer here is on the base, two-wheel drive LX model with the 2.0-liter engine, Kia has similar deals available on the slightly posher S model. There will be a $400 termination fee at lease end in most states.Offer ends February 1.


2021 Kia Sorento$279 per month/$2799 at signing36 months/36,000 miles38 cents per mileKia has been on a tear, development-wise. And that includes a new Sorento family-size SUV for 2021. This is the very heart of Kia’s SUV line and the one that usually sells the best.Don’t look for the fanciest version at this price point. This is for the base LX version with front-wheel drive and the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 191 horsepower. There’s also a deal on the LX with all-wheel drive for the same money due at signing but $199 per month. The more powerful EX with a 281-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four is also available.As with the other two featured Kias, there’s a $400 termination fee at lease end. Offers end February 1.


2021 Lexus IS300$349 per month/$3999 at signing39 months/32,500 miles53 cents per mileIt’s a real live rear-drive sports sedan. And it’s new for 2021 from a brand that is nearly synonymous with quality. What’s not to like? This deal is on the IS300 with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 241 horsepower. Decent, not brutal. It’ll take more to get an IS350 with power from a 311-hp 3.5-liter V-6. Either way, Lexus includes the first two years of service in the deals.Not only is this deal decent for a luxury sports sedan, but for $10 more a month Lexus will up that to an IS300 F-Sport in AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, and WA. Meanwhile, that same $359 per month will get an IS300 with all-wheel drive in IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, NE, OH, WI, CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, and WV. And $379 per month will get you an IS300 AWD in CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, WV.Here’s hoping you know your postal code.Offer ends February 1.


2021 Nissan Rogue$219 per month/$3644 at signing36 months/30,000 miles39 cents per mileQuietly, almost unnoticed, the Nissan Rogue has become one of the best-selling vehicles in America. The 227,935 sold in 2020 made it 12th overall. And there’s a new one for 2021. This featured deal is in the New York City metro area, but similar deals are available in other regions. Those usually run you $229 per month. Note: this is for an all-wheel-drive vehicle, while most other featured leases are on front-drivers.Offer ends February 1.


2021 Nissan Sentra$149 per month/$3099 at signing36 months/30,000 miles29 cents per mileAt $149 a month for the new Sentra (which is actually a pretty sweet little car), this may seem like a bargain. But consider the rather steep $3099 up front. And this is for New York City. In other regions the featured lease is at $189 or $199 per month with significantly lower buy-ins to kick things off.Offer ends February 1.


2021 Toyota Sienna$329 per month/$2999 at signing36 months/36,000 miles41 cents per mileThis is offered in the Chicago metro area and for a big, eight-passenger, hybrid minivan it’s a good deal. Toyota further sweetens it with 25,000 miles’ worth of paid maintenance. Don’t want to put that much money down? The same deal is offered at $420 a month with zilch due at signing. Other regions have slight variations on these deals.Offer ends February 1.


2021 Toyota Venza$279 per month/$2999 at signing36 months/36,000 miles36 cents per mileIt’s kind of sneaky pretty. The well-detailed and comfortable Venza is available only as a hybrid, and it’s a roomy one that rides sweet. This deal is offered in the Chicago area, but similar deals are available in other regions, and mileage allowances may vary. Toyota throws in paid scheduled service for the first two years or 25,000 miles. Cool.Offer ends February 1.

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