Car leases are more popular than ever. Leasing is a great way to get into a nicer car for less money per month. Plus, the car will always be under warranty in case anything breaks. But have you ever wondered which cars people are choosing to lease rather than buy?
We've gathered a list of the top leased cars for under $50,000, according to Edmunds.com transaction data for 2015. We left out SUVs (which will get their own list). We also excluded plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles, due to the small percentage of overall car sales that they comprise (less than 1 percent in 2015).
In order to make this list, a car needed to have a 60 percent or greater lease rate. That's more than double the average lease rate, and so it's a strong indication of a car's lease popularity. While our data is for 2015 cars, we suspect that the 2016 versions of these vehicles will be heavily leased, too. Rank is by lease rate.
You'll notice that the list skews heavily toward luxury cars. This is no coincidence. Because luxury cars are costlier, automakers are more likely to offer lease deals than financing options, says Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds. Luxury vehicles also take a greater hit in depreciation, which makes them better candidates for leasing. Finally, "luxury buyers are more inclined to want something new in a shorter time horizon," says Caldwell, "and they have the disposable income to do so."
Keeping track of the ongoing lease specials can be difficult, but luckily we have tools to help you. One focuses on very affordable leases. Our Incentives and Rebates page will show you lease specials and other current incentive and rebate offers.
87 percent lease rate. The 2016 Kia K900 represents a premium luxury sedan experience that won't break the bank. It lacks the refinement and engineering sophistication of pricier rivals, but it's a legitimate luxury sedan that offers similar quality, comfort and size at a much more reasonable price. Starting MSRP: $49,000.
81 percent lease rate. The conventionally powered Infiniti Q50 ranks as one of the better luxury sedans in the class, although the Infiniti Q50 Hybrid receives comparably poor ratings. The 2015 Infiniti Q50 is still on the market; the 2016 model will roll out later this year with three new engines to choose from. Starting MSRP: $37,150.
81 percent lease rate. The 2016 Lexus CT 200h is a distinctive choice for a premium-brand hybrid car, thanks to its high fuel economy, moderately sporty handling and hatchback body style. Starting MSRP: $31,250.
78 percent lease rate. Boasting a refined interior, plenty of high-tech features and class-competitive performance, the 2016 Lexus GS 350 can go toe to toe with the historically strong competitors from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Starting MSRP: $50,000.
76 percent lease rate. The 2016 Lexus IS's blend of style, comfort and power makes it an appealing choice for a small luxury sedan. Starting MSRP: $37,325.
68 percent lease rate. Based on the IS sedan platform, the 2016 Lexus RC 350 distills the brand's traditional refinement into a sporty two-door package. Starting MSRP: $42,780.
61 percent lease rate. Combining coupe, sedan and hatchback qualities, the four-door 2016 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe blends stylish fastback looks with refined performance and utility. Starting MSRP: $41,650.
61 percent lease rate. If you're looking for relaxed, serene transportation in an entry-level luxury sedan, the 2016 Lexus ES 350 is a fine choice. Starting MSRP: $38,000.
61 percent lease rate. With its luxurious interior, advanced powertrains and high-tech safety and driver assistance features, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of the best small luxury sedans you can buy. Starting MSRP: $38,950.
10. 2016 Audi A3
60 percent lease rate. Attractive, upscale and fun to drive, the 2016 Audi A3 sets the standard for the new, smaller crop of entry-level luxury cars. Starting MSRP: $30,900.
11. 2016 Audi A4
60 percent lease rate. The 2016 Audi A4 might not seem as fresh or exciting as newer rivals, but its well-rounded nature still makes it a very enticing choice for an entry-level luxury sedan. Starting MSRP: $35,900.
12. 2016 Lincoln MKZ
60 percent lease rate. The 2016 Lincoln MKZ is based on the Ford Fusion, but offers a few more modern features and distinctive style. Starting MSRP: $35,190.