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Best Lease Deals of October 2019

John Pearley Huffman
Photo credit: Chevrolet - Car and Driver

From Car and Driver

The heart of the new-vehicle market is a moving target. What was popular yesterday is a niche today. And what's popular now is obscure next week. Right now there's no more active new-vehicle category than compact crossovers­: Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, and the like.

Meanwhile, the mid-size-truck market was dormant and apparently dying just a few years back. Now it's a robust segment with established machinery like the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado having to fight the reborn Ford Ranger and second-generation Honda Ridgeline. Finding the best lease deal in these competitive environments means doing your research. There's no substitute for that hard work when it comes to getting the best deal. Featured here are the factory-backed, factory-advertised lease deals. The best deal for you may not be any of them.

This is survey of manufacturer websites. It isn't a comprehensive roundup, and most manufacturer deals are regional ones. What's offered in Shipshewana, Indiana, may not be the same as the deal on offer in Chicopee, Massachusetts, or Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. To keep this survey manageable, we looked at deals in four regions: Southern California, Chicagoland, New York City, and C/D's hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. It's a useful look at what's out there, but what's available near anyone who doesn't live in these ZIP codes will differ.

Compact Crossovers

Photo credit: Honda - Car and Driver

The three best-selling vehicles in America this year are all full-size pickup trucks. And numbers four, five and six are compact crossovers: the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue. The Chevrolet Equinox comes in at number nine. There are only three sedans in the top 10. Right now, the standard family vehicle is the small SUV. Trunks are so 1998.

That in mind, we're not covering luxury brands here. Acura, Audi, BMW, and most other prestige makers all have products of similar size, but they're too hoity and even more toity to be considered mainstream. This is about real crossovers for people on a budget. And the competition for customers could hardly be more fierce. Some highlights:

Blowing Out the 2019 Ford Escape

Photo credit: Ford - Car and Driver

The all-new 2020 Escape is already crowding Ford dealer lots, so they need to get rid of the 2019s still in inventory. So Ford is backing lease deals on 2019 model Escapes that have been in dealer inventory for more than 60 days.

In Ann Arbor, conveniently located in the Southeast Michigan nexus of Ford ownership, a 2019 Escape SE with all-wheel drive is advertised at only $159 per month after $2279 paid at signing on a two-year lease. This is a deal for returning Ford lessees, but if you’re already working with a Ford dealer, it's a solid deal that works out to only about 30 cents a mile for 21,000 miles. Similar deals are available in other locations, but the Michiganders get the choicest morsel. The offer ends October 31.

No Money Down on a 2019 Toyota RAV4

Photo credit: Toyota - Car and Driver

Chicago area shoppers should be tempted by Toyota’s $298-a-month lease on a new RAV4 LE with no money due at signing. It’s a three-year, 36,000 mile agreement, which works out to about 30 cents a mile. Keen negotiators will keep this in mind when seeking a no-money-down lease anywhere in the country. Toyota’s deal runs through November 4.

Mazda CX-5 Is the Best Deal

Photo credit: Mazda - Car and Driver

C/D’s favorite compact crossover is the Mazda CX-5. And this month, in Southern California, Chicago, and Ann Arbor, the front-drive CX-5 Sport is available for as little as $209 per month after $2999 at signing. Returning lessees get the best deals, but with three years and 36,000 miles, this one works out to only 29 cents per mile. That's a sweetheart deal on a sweetheart crossover. This one expires October 31.

Mid-Size Trucks

Photo credit: Honda - Car and Driver

Big pickups are great, but they suck up fuel and are tough to park. For personal use, the mid-size trucks are a more livable alternative. Of the manufacturers offering trucks in this general size category, only one doesn’t seem to be advertising any offers: Honda, with the Ridgeline.

The Ancient Nissan Frontier

Photo credit: Nissan - Car and Driver

There are rumors of a new Nissan Frontier on its way for 2020. But it’s not here yet, so what’s on dealer lots now is essentially the same as the truck Nissan was selling during George W.'s first term. Just imagine: you could be driving a machine that was introduced three years before the iPhone. But the Frontier is made in Tennessee and keenly priced. And all crew-cab versions come with a standard 4.0-liter V-6. So that's kind of cool.

Right now, the Frontier is available in Chicago as a short-wheelbase Crew Cab 4x4 SV trim at $219 per month after $3144 at signing. The lease runs 36 months and 36,000 miles, but watch out for charges that come at the end of the lease. That’s 32 cents per mile, until October 31.

Tacoma Tails

Photo credit: Toyota - Car and Driver

The Toyota Tacoma's great advantage has always been its reputation for quality. But how much does that matter on a lease that only lasts three years and a mere 30,000 miles? Ann Arborites can secure a double-cab SR 4x4 for $219 per month after $2999 at signing. That’s 37 cents per mile. The SR isn't a plush trim, but you can be confident the thing will feel as solid when you turn it in as it did when you picked it up.

Chevrolet Colorado Is the Best Deal

Photo credit: Chevrolet - Car and Driver

C/D's top choice in this class from a driving perspective is the Honda Ridgeline. But Honda doesn't play the lease game with the Ridgeline. So, how about the Chevrolet Colorado? GM employees in Michigan can get a 2019 Colorado LT crew-cab 4x4 for only $189 per month after $3289 at signing on a short, 24-month lease. That’s only 40 cents per mile.

If you don't work for GM but are a returning lessee, and you happen to move to New York, you can sign up for a three-year lease on a Colorado LT Crew Cab 4x4 with a V-6 for $269 a month after a stout $4069 at signing. It only includes 30,000 miles, with extras running 25 cents each. For those not coming out of a lease, it's the same deal with $5569 at signing. That might sound steep, but in Manhattan, $5569 is just two weeks' rent on a studio apartment.

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