Agreed - we leased once with the intention of purchasing at the end. When I went in to talk to them lo and behold they wanted to charge me another $500 documentation fee or some other silly thing. I told them they could keep the car. Went somewhere and bought a new car, but not having a trade-in really made the payments high.As with most kids, my daughter knew better than I did and "leased" her current car. I know this opens an entirely different discussion, but thought it was worth mentioning since her lease will be "up" in a few months. She put $3500.00 down on the car, has made three years of payments on it, as well as paid for maintenance... and now she'll be walking away with "nothing" in a few weeks. The "cycle" begins all over for her now.
Yes, the lease payments were substantially less than a loan payment would have been ($249/mo as opposed to $369/mo), BUT she's paid for roughly three quarters of the MSRP that car originally had - and she'll have to get a loan if she wants to keep it now, OR go through the leasing process again for another car. Essentially, she gave a substantial down payment, and made three years of payments and maintenance bills - all to walk away with nothing now.
Unless you can write a lease payment off to a business you own or operate, leasing is probably not very beneficial for an individual ... especially now with record low interest rates on car loans.
Just a little more food for thought.
I'll never lease again. I suppose if you enjoy perpetual car payments or get a tax break somehow then it could work for you.
I bought a 91 Stealth ES in October 1990. Paid it off, kept it 12 years and 87k miles, sold it for $4500.