Benchmark Auto

Which is Better: To Lease or Buy?

Benchmark Auto can offer guidance to help clarify the best decision for your auto financing needs.




You own the car upon purchase and can keep it as long as you like.

You don't own the vehicle unless you buy out the lease. You use and are responsible for the car throughout the term of the lease, but must return it at the end of the lease unless you decide to buy it.

Upfront Costs

They include the cash price or a down payment, taxes, registration and other fees.

Typically you pay the first months payment, a security deposit and other applicable fees. A down payment or taxes may also be included at lease commencement.

Monthly Payments

Loan payments are usually higher than lease payments because you're paying off the entire purchase price of the vehicle, plus interest and other finance charges, taxes, and fees.

Lease payments are almost always lower than loan payments because you're paying only for the vehicle's depreciation during the lease term, plus rent charges (similar to interest), taxes and fees.

Early Termination

You can sell or trade in your vehicle at any time. If necessary, money from the sale can be used to pay off any loan balance.

You may have the option to sell or trade your vehicle. Please contact us for more details. Fees apply.

Vehicle Returns

You'll have to deal with selling or trading in your car when you decide you want a different one.

You can return the vehicle at lease-end, pay any end-of-lease costs, and walk away.

Future Value

The vehicle will depreciate but its cash value is your's to use as you like.

If the value is less than the residual, it doesn't affect you financially. If the value is more than is owed you get to keep the equity.


You're free to drive as many miles as you want. (But higher mileage lowers the vehicle trade-in or resale value.)

Most leases limit the number of miles you may drive and charge a fee if you exceed those miles in the lease term.

Excessive Wear & Tear

You will incur costs for wear and tear and it could lower the vehicle's trade-in or resale value.

Most leases hold you responsible. You'll have to pay extra charges for exceeding what is considered normal wear and tear.

End of Term

When you make your last payment at the end of the loan term you have no further payment obligations and then own the car.

At the end of the lease term (leases are typically a 2-4 year obligation) you have the option to return the car and walk away, buy the car, sell the car or trade the car. Contact us for details. End of lease fees may apply.


The vehicle is yours to modify or customize as you like.

The vehicle is yours to modify or customize as you like, however if it is deemed that the value is negatively impacted, you could be financially responsible.