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Buy vs Lease: Toyota Sienna

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We continue our series of Buy vs. Lease comparisons with the Toyota Sienna. 

The decision to buy or lease depends on a number of factors, including how long the vehicle will be driven. We'll look at three different scenarios at three years, six years and nine years to see how the situation changes with time. 

 

Vehicle: Toyota Sienna

The Toyota Sienna is a perennial top seller at Cartelligent. Our clients love the available third-row of seats, good fuel economy for a car of its size, a standard back-up camera, and the safety and reliability of driving a Toyota. (Watch a Video Review.)

For our sample Sienna, we've chosen a 2015 Toyota Sienna XLE Premium with navigation, moonroof and leather seats. MSRP for the vehicle as configured is $39,835.

Lease incentives and rates are accurate as of the time of writing, but may vary month to month. We've made the following assumptions:

Purchase: $2,500 down, 60 month loan at 1.90% interest. Vehicle is in very good condition at time of trade-in. 12,000 miles driven per year.

Lease: $2,500 down, 36 month lease with money factor of 0.00010. No excess mileage charges or wear and tear. 12,000 miles driven per year.

 

Scenario One: Three Years

This scenario assumes that the vehicle above is only driven for three years. In the purchase case, this involves trading it in at the end of three years and paying off the balance due. In the leasing case, the vehicle is returned at the end of the three year period. We've assumed maintenance costs of $500/year in both cases; the Toyota warranty will cover all components other than normal wear and tear and maintenance.

 

  Buy (1 car) Lease (1 car)
Down payment $2,500.00 $2,500.00
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $665.00 $385.00
Total of payments made $25,775.00 $15,975.00
Balance due $15,960.00 n/a
Maintenance & repairs $1,500.00 $1,500.00
Estimated trade-in value $21,000.00 n/a
Equity remaining $5,040.00 n/a
Lease disposition fee n/a $350.00
Total cost $22,235.00 $17,825.00

 

In this case, leasing the car for three years saves around $2,500 compared to buying the car and selling it three years later. Leasing makes monthly cash flow easier, saving about $280/month in payments and saves the trouble of selling the vehicle and paying off the balance at the end of three years.

 

Scenario Two: Six Years

In this scenario, the buyer either buys a new car and sells it six years later or leases a new car for three years and then leases a second car for the next three years. The purchased vehicle will have payments for the first five years and then will be paid off in the final year. It will only be under warranty for the first three years. We've assumed that after the warranty is up, maintenance and repairs will cost about $1,250/year. Both leased vehicles will be under warranty for the full six years. We've assumed that payments for the second lease will be 5% higher than the first with the same down payment and that the disposition fee will be waived when the first vehicle is turned in because the client is leasing another Toyota. 

 

  Buy (1 car) Lease (2 cars)
Down payment $2,500.00 $2,500.00 (x2)
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $665.00 $385.00/$405.00
Total of payments made $41,735.00 $32,650.00
Balance due $0 n/a
Maintenance & repairs $5,250.00 $3,000.00
Estimated trade-in value $13,650.00 n/a
Equity remaining $13,650.00 n/a
Lease disposition fee n/a $350.00
Total cost $33,335.00 $36,000.00

 

The break-even point in this analysis occurs just after Year 4 and, by Year 6, leasing costs around $2,600 total (or $450/year) more than buying. Leasing offers the benefit of consistently driving a newer car—in this scenario the vehicle driven is never more than three years old as well as offering lower payments during the six year period.

 

Scenario Three: Nine Years

In this final scenario, the buyer either buys a new car and sells it nine years later or leases three new cars in succession for three years each. As in the six year scenario, the purchased vehicle will have payments for the first five years and then will be paid off for the remaining four years. It will be under warranty for the first three years and we've assumed that maintenance and repairs will be the same as above for the first six years and rise to $1,500/year for the final three years of ownership. All three leased vehicles will be under warranty during the nine years. Payments for the second and third leases will each be 5% higher than the previous with the same down payment. The disposition fee will be waived when the first two vehicles are turned in and another Toyota is leased.

 

  Buy (1 car) Lease (3 cars)
Down payment $2,500.00 $2,500.00 (x 3)
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $665.00 $385.00/$405.00/$425.00
Total of payments made $41,735.00 $50,025.00
Balance due $0 n/a
Maintenance & repairs $9,750.00 $4,500.00
Estimated trade-in value $7,350.00 n/a
Equity remaining $7,350.00 n/a
Lease disposition fee n/a $350.00
Total cost $44,135.00 $54,875.00

 

Buying a single vehicle saves about $10,500 as compared to three leases over the course of a nine year period (or about $1,800/year). For those who are willing to drive the same vehicle for nine years, this represents a notable savings over leasing.

 

Toyota Sienna: Lease or Buy?

The Sienna becomes more cost effective to buy than to lease after about four years for clients who don't mind driving an older car. For those who would rather drive a consistently newer vehicle or prefer the consistent low payments, leasing remains a cost-effective choice. Ultimately the choice is up to the individual and involves a thorough analysis of their personal circumstances. (For more on the decision to lease, see The Beginner's Guide to Leasing.) 

 

Whether you're considering a new Toyota Sienna or any other vehicle, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888-427-4270 or get started today.