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The 10 Most Popular Vehicles to Lease in 2020

Leasing a car can be a good alternative for some people who want to drive a new vehicle while paying less per month than they would with a new car auto loan.

The most commonly leased vehicle in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020 was a Honda Civic, with roughly 60% more market share compared with the next option, the Honda CR-V, according to Experian data.

If you're considering leasing a vehicle, but you're not sure which one, knowing what's popular can help you narrow down your list of options.

Top 10 Most-Leased Models

With dozens of car brands on the market, it can be difficult to find the right fit for you. To help you get started, here are the top 10 most leased vehicle models in the U.S. by market share.

ModelMarket Share
Honda Civic4.5%
Honda CR-V2.8%
Toyota RAV42.7%
Ram 15002.3%
Honda Accord2.3%
Chevrolet Equinox2.2%
Ford F-1502.2%
Jeep Grand Cherokee2.1%
Ford Explorer1.9%
Toyota Tacoma1.8%

Source: Experian State of the Automotive Finance Market, second quarter (Q2) 2020

Most-Leased Brands

If you're starting your search by focusing on a brand instead of a specific model, here are the top 10 leased brands based on market share.

BrandMarket Share
Honda13.6%
Toyota9.7%
Chevrolet8.0%
Ford7.8%
Nissan5.8%
Jeep5.8%
Mercedes-Benz4.8%
BMW4.6%
Hyundai4.2%
Kia4.1%

Source: Experian State of the Automotive Finance Market, Q2 2020

Average Credit Score for New Lease

Getting approved for a lease can be challenging if you have a low credit score. The average score on new leases in Q2 2020 was 729. Here's how that average has changed over time.

Average Credit ScoreYear
729Q2 2020
724Q2 2019
722Q2 2018
722Q2 2017
716Q2 2016

Source: Experian State of the Automotive Finance Market, Q2 2020

That doesn't mean you can't lease a car with bad credit. But it can be difficult, especially if you don't have anything else to sweeten the deal, so to speak, for the leasing company.

For example, you can put a down payment or get a creditworthy cosigner to lease the vehicle with you. Keep in mind, though, that if you do get approved, your costs may be higher than if you were to wait until you've improved your credit score.

Should You Lease Your Next Car?

Leasing a car can be a good option for some people, but it's important to weigh the benefits and the drawbacks before you sign on the dotted line.

A lease can be especially beneficial if you enjoy the new-car experience, but don't want the high monthly payment that comes with buying a brand-new model. Also, leases typically require lower down payments, so you don't have to part with as much cash upfront.

Finally, a lease may be less of a hassle for some people. Instead of going through the process of selling a vehicle you no longer want, you simply return it once your lease expires. And if you want to extend your lease or even buy the car at that point, you have that option.

The primary drawbacks of leasing are the lack of ownership and the restrictions on how you can use the vehicle. You'll typically be limited on how many miles you can drive each year, and you can't make any modifications to the car. Any damage, scuffs or maintenance needs that exceed normal wear and tear can cost you when it's time to return the car. Also, leasing comes with several fees of its own, and if you decide you no longer want to lease, breaking your agreement could also be costly.

If you are planning to lease, learn how to negotiate the agreement to reduce your costs and compare offers from multiple dealerships. Some things you may be able to negotiate include:

  • The value of the vehicle
  • Mileage allowance
  • How much it would cost to buy the vehicle at the end of the lease
  • Interest rate (called the "money factor" on a lease)
  • Trade-in value of your current vehicle
  • The dealership's cost to return the vehicle to market when you return it (disposition fee)

Do some research on each of these, including what other people are driving in your area, to make the best case for what you want.

Maintain Good Credit for the Leasing Lifestyle

If leasing is the best option for you, it's crucial that you maintain a good credit history. Whether you plan to lease again or would rather finance your next vehicle, a score drop between now and then may be challenging to get approved for your next agreement.

You can stay on top of your credit score with Experian's credit monitoring service. The platform provides free access to your FICO® Score powered by Experian data, as well as an Experian credit report, which is updated every 30 days. You'll also get real-time alerts when something changes, such as a credit inquiry, new credit account, personal information or suspicious activity.

As you stay on top of your credit report and scores and take steps to address potential problems as they arise, you'll be in a better position to continue your leasing lifestyle.