car salesman holding out car keys

Buying vs. Leasing a New Car in Madison WI

When it comes to buying vs. leasing a new car in Madison WI, which option is better for you? It all depends on your lifestyle and your preferences; there really is no completely right or wrong answer. Let’s go over some of the aspects of leasing and buying and see where you fall.


You are paying for the use of the vehicle during the lease period. The vehicle must be returned when the lease is up, although you may have the option to purchase the vehicle at the end of the term.

The vehicle is completely yours once you have finished paying it off. You own it until you don’t want it anymore, and you can drive it until its last breath if you wish.


Monthly payments for leases are generally lower than what you would pay when you buy a car.

Monthly payments are usually higher than what is paid on a lease because you are paying for the whole purchase of the vehicle.


You may only customize your vehicle through the dealer at the time you begin the lease, and only with accessories approved by the dealer.

You are free to customize your vehicle however and whenever you desire.


You are contracted to drive a set amount of miles, determined at the beginning of the lease, and may have to pay extra for miles driven in excess of the miles specified in the lease..

You are free to drive as many miles as you need or want.


The lease will cover a reasonable amount of wear and tear, but you can be held responsible for paying for wear and tear that was not outlined in the contract.

You won’t be charged for wear and tear, other than whatever it may cost to repair it to retain its trade-in value.

End of Term

When the lease is finished, you may purchase the vehicle at a price that was outlined at the beginning of the lease, or you may return it to the dealer.

When you are finished paying off the loan for your car, it is yours to do with as you wish.

When deciding whether to buy or lease, ask yourself these questions.

How long do you plan to keep your vehicle? If it is less than two years or more than four years, buying might be your best option. If you want to drive a new car for two to four years, leasing may be your best choice.

How many miles do you typically drive in a year? If it is over 20,000, you may be better off buying. Many lease contracts include a variety of mileage options, but you will be held responsible for the cost of any miles driven in excess of the mileage outlined in the lease.

How is the condition of your vehicles? If you keep them in good shape, a lease might work for you, since normal wear and usage is covered. If you are tough on your vehicle, buying might be your better option.

Do you plan to customize your vehicle? Customization is allowed whenever and however you want when you buy, but is extremely limited to dealer authorization and approval when leasing.

How much does warranty coverage matter to you? A lease will typically keep the vehicle under warranty, but owning a vehicle will likely mean the warranty will expire while it is under your care.

How important is vehicle equity to you? When you buy a vehicle, payments contribute to the vehicle’s equity, and it becomes yours completely once you have finished paying off the loan.

How important is vehicle maintenance to you? Leasing a vehicle makes you responsible for maintaining the vehicle as recommended by the manufacturer, but when you buy a vehicle, maintenance is entirely up to you.

Figuring out your answers to these questions will help you better understand which option is right for you. If you have any questions or would like more specific information about our leasing and buying terms, contact us and we will be happy to assist you.