Opinions on Leasing a CLA 250 - Mercedes CLA Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-12-2013, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Opinions on Leasing a CLA 250

I've never leased a car before, but I've been seriously thinking about giving it a try for the first time with my soon-to-be-acquired CLA 250.

When I've solicited opinions on leasing options on other sites, the debate usually turns religious pretty darn fast. And the folks preaching "NEVER, EVER LEASE A CAR!" the loudest are also typically folks who have never, ever leased a car in their lives. The loudest voices typically come from clowns advocating that I buy a 10-year-old Toyota or Subaru or Prius. :facepalm:

So, if you HAVE leased a car and you liked the experience, please share some of your anecdotes and tips/suggestion. Why did it make sense to you?

Here's my short list so far.
  • I'd like to have the option of trying out a nice, new car every 3 years or so. More bling, more safety features, better mileage, the works. Also, to me, driving a car is much, MUCH more than just getting from Point A to Point B. I think leasing gives me more options to try out different cars at a modest premium that I'm prepared to pay.
  • I don't buy in to the mantra that a car is an asset. I think that if you own a car out of warranty that you drive regularly, it will inevitably become a money pit. A minty 1970 Plymouth Barracuda is an asset, a used CLA is not.
  • I LOVE the peace of mind that comes from driving a car that is always 100% under warranty.

Last edited by Armchair Bronco; 11-12-2013 at 02:54 AM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-12-2013, 07:38 AM
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@Armchair Bronco, whenever I've leased, I've always done:

$0 down
Higher lease payments
Don't care about residual
Find the best lease rate % (0.9%, etc -- you won't find 0.9% on the CLA though I doubt. Honda has one right now for 0.9% but it's only on their Civics and we're talking a different beast of car there).

If you don't plan on keeping it, you want to put as little overall cash into it as possible. Try and go as low mileage as you can.

There's nothing wrong with leasing a car, esp if you are someone who has a business, does consulting, etc, and you want to write off the mileage. Tax depreciation writeoff kind of sucks when you own a car. The leasing market is also a huge used car feeder, so there is a place for it.

A few other suggestions:

If you lease it, I suggest not doing as many aftermarket enhancements. Don't paint the house you rent if you don't plan on living in it long.

Remember that you are required to repair any dings/damage when it's leased

Remember that if your'e low mileage and you did negotiate a good residual (or it has a good residual) you can return it early and sometimes make money on it. There's another thread about this on the forum, but be wary that if your residual is awful or if the car isn't in demand in your area, the best you can do is walk away from it.

And, of course, if you're leasing, you can buy something a bit above what you'd buy financing. So enjoy it, get the car you want!

Joe

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post #3 of 10 Old 11-12-2013, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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@CLAJoe - thanks for the great feedback. Very refreshing to get a leasing response that is "on target" and non-judgmental.

I can't tell you how many replies I've received on work-related aliases from folks grandstanding on the evils of leasing as a lifestyle choice:

"If you can't afford to buy the car outright, you shouldn't be leasing it in the first place!"

"If you're really interested in a new car every 3 years, I suggest you re-adjust your priorities and stop wasting global resources just to satisfy a materialistic need!"

"Don't buy a new Mercedes Benz. You really need to look at the used Prius market instead!"


For what it's worth, I agree that MB is trying to appeal to younger American buyers with the CLA 250, but I don't think this is their only goal with this car. I just turned 50, and the CLA is offered at a price *and* configuration that makes it a realistic new car option for me. And if I like my experience with the car, there's a very good chance that *I* will want to move up the chain as well...to say nothing of my two teenage boys who will also get to enjoy being passengers and occasional drivers in this car.

There are lots of ways to get new customers enthusiastic about a new car, and I think MB is "firing on all cylinders" with the CLA. If all goes according to plan, there will be 3 new MB loyalists resulting from this lease. :-)
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-12-2013, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armchair Bronco View Post
@CLAJoe - thanks for the great feedback. Very refreshing to get a leasing response that is "on target" and non-judgmental.

I can't tell you how many replies I've received on work-related aliases from folks grandstanding on the evils of leasing as a lifestyle choice:

"If you can't afford to buy the car outright, you shouldn't be leasing it in the first place!"

"If you're really interested in a new car every 3 years, I suggest you re-adjust your priorities and stop wasting global resources just to satisfy a materialistic need!"

"Don't buy a new Mercedes Benz. You really need to look at the used Prius market instead!"


For what it's worth, I agree that MB is trying to appeal to younger American buyers with the CLA 250, but I don't think this is their only goal with this car. I just turned 50, and the CLA is offered at a price *and* configuration that makes it a realistic new car option for me. And if I like my experience with the car, there's a very good chance that *I* will want to move up the chain as well...to say nothing of my two teenage boys who will also get to enjoy being passengers and occasional drivers in this car.

There are lots of ways to get new customers enthusiastic about a new car, and I think MB is "firing on all cylinders" with the CLA. If all goes according to plan, there will be 3 new MB loyalists resulting from this lease. :-)
Well, first, the Prius is a totally different vehicle. That's apples to oranges. Second, the CLA250 is meant to target people who want to spend a bit more and have a taste of luxury.

When I was younger and still living at home (read: disposable income lol) I leased a BMW. It wasn't because it was the right thing to do, it's because I wanted to drive one. I had it for 3 years, and got rid of at the end of the lease. I don't regret it.

Test drive the car, calculate what you can afford monthly, and decide if you want to be owning a car long term or want to experiment with a few cars. If anything, I would always lease a car in its first model year. Who knows what bugs will come out (read the forums through thoroughly, people are having issues with CLA's, although few and far between). My BMW 330xi had issues where the computer would think there was enough rpm's to idle, and would stall - at the worst times - at traffic lights when about to take off. I'm glad I leased it. If i hadn't, I would have had a lemon.

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post #5 of 10 Old 11-12-2013, 09:30 PM
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Here are my reasons for leasing:

- higher residuals supported by manufacturer's finance arm (MB Finance) hence lower depreciation upon which lease payments are calculated
- lower finance rates especially for single pay leases and auto pay
- no need to stress over "babying" the car or loaning to a friend or family member
- no hassle getting rid of the car at end of lease period
- leasing another from same brand usual includes some form of minor damage waiver
- lower use / sales taxes which are often (not always) based on the lease payments and not the whole car
- certain tax benefits not realizable through purchase, especially with one pay leases
- able to order certain options, colors, materials, configurations, etc. without worry of desirability when getting rid of car at lease end the problem becomes that of the leasing company

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post #6 of 10 Old 11-13-2013, 04:37 PM
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I've always been warned against leasing. I'm sure it makes sense for some people, but I always thought that it was a bad investment because you don't actually own anything in the end. Can't give too many details though since I've never leased before. I would also not do it with a cheaper vehicle. I'd rather lease with a more high end vehicle to cut down the cost per month while still getting a nicer car.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-13-2013, 09:33 PM
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The trick is to lease a car with an inflated residual (over what is truly expected in the market at the time of lease termination), is being heavily discounted, and has a low money factor. Higher end vehicles tend to have low residuals both in terms of percent and absolute dollars and you are financing a higher MSRP on top of that.

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2014 Mercedes E 350 4Matic Luxury
2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
1997 Porsche 993 Turbo
1972 Mercedes 600 SWB

Notable past MBs: '79 450 SLC 5.0, '85 300 CD-T, '86 190 E 2.3-16, '02 SLK 32 AMG, '07 CL 600, '12 CLS 550 4matic LE
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-04-2013, 12:59 PM
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I'm actually a finance manager in the auto industry. Been with BMW, Lexus, and Toyota for the last twenty years.

There are MANY advantages to leasing that some are not aware of. Even cash buyers should look at the pros and con's.

Sales tax. If you purchase you pay 100% of the tax up front. With a lease you only pay tax on your monthly payment and any down payment. (I'm in Ca. Sure it's different in other states )

Guaranteed future value. This is HUGE! The finance company is giving you a fixed value quote up front. If it's worth less at lease end. Give it back and walk away. If your car is worth more then your residual value...... Keep it, sell it, trade it in and use your equity.
***here's the big perk with leasing. ..... Say you BUY your new car cash or retail financing. At some point the car gets damaged in some manner. IE traffic accident. That car now has a diminished value forever. When it comes time to sell or trade in, the Carfax report will show this accident and your car will be worth MUCH less. On a lease, you are not subject to this financial concern. You were given a guaranteed future value at the time of sale. This is where you can give the keys to the dealer and walk away. I've personally seen this many times over the years. Accidents do happen.
Or simply say the market on this vehicle changes.........?? Who knows what the future will hold.

Cash flow advantage. Your basically paying on 40% of the car over the 36mo term. This will provide a smaller more manageable monthly payment.


JUST BE CAREFUL****** everything is disclosed on a retail installment contract. Price, fees, interest rate, finance charge, total of payments.
On a lease, you will see the cap cost with is the sales price, MSRP, and the bank fee/ acquisition fee. You will NOT see the cost of money/ money factor. This is pretty big! The dealer can and will mark this cost up for a profit. Profit is not a bad thing, and your dealer does deserve to make a profit. Just make sure it's reasonable.

CASH BUYERS may want to look into a 1 pay or pre paid lease. Again instead of buying 100% of the car, you pay for say 40% of it on a 36 month term (apx) tax advantages and the biggest advantage is the decreased financial liability if a accident occurs.

You can tell..... I'm a leasing fan

Last edited by Bugetballer; 12-04-2013 at 01:01 PM.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-04-2013, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Bugetballer View Post
There are MANY advantages to leasing that some are not aware of. Even cash buyers should look at the pros and con's.

You can tell..... I'm a leasing fan
I concur.

2014 Mercedes CLA 250 Edition 1
2014 Mercedes E 350 4Matic Luxury
2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
1997 Porsche 993 Turbo
1972 Mercedes 600 SWB

Notable past MBs: '79 450 SLC 5.0, '85 300 CD-T, '86 190 E 2.3-16, '02 SLK 32 AMG, '07 CL 600, '12 CLS 550 4matic LE
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-07-2013, 09:31 AM
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I look at it this way. If you always keep the cars for a long time, puchasing can offer you a financial advantage if you choose reliable makes and models. If you like to change cars , leasing is advantageous as stated above. You know your cost up front and have a guaranteed residual value and no problems when you are ready to switch to a new car.

Where you are in life plays a part. For the last 20 years, I've been raising a family and buying and holding cars made sense for me. As the kids start going to college, I'll be leasing in the future since cars are a passion for me and I like the idea of changing and trading up. Will probably lease E class convertible for my wife when the minivan is no longer needed and a CLS, E-class, or maybe a S-class lease looks like a nice reward for me once the kids are done with college.

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Current Cars: Mercedes-Benz CLA250, 2008 Honda Odyssey, 2003 Honda Civic Si
Previous Cars: 2012 Honda Civic Si, 2003 Honda Odyssey, 2001 Honda Accord, 1998 Honda Accord, 1997 Honda Odyssey, 1995 Honda Civic EX, 1992 Honda Civic Si, 1986 Honda Civic Si, 1979 VW Rabbit, 1975 Olds Delta 88, 1971 Saab 99, 1971 Olds Delta 88
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