6 Top Auto Leases Right Now

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Sure as summer brings thunderstorms, it also brings car lease deals to spike traffic on dealer lots. This year, of course, is no exception to that rule.

But the deals may be even sweeter sweeter than usual this summer. "This year's deals are eye-poppingly good, much better than most years, maybe the best we have ever seen," said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com.

He added that this summer has brought deals on cars people actually would want, equipped in ways that people would also want.

Why? Car sales have been slumping. In May, sales amounted to 1.54 million cars, down 6% from the year before. GM and Toyota sales slumped worse than others but, throughout the industry, the grumble is that auto makers are building too many cars that are flooding dealer lots. Enter the summer sales season, and this year, said Nerad, because sales have been "tepid," the "manufacturers are putting out attractive offers."

An advantage of a lease is that, generally, a driver can get into a new car with less money down and with dramatically lower monthly payments than are involved in a purchase. Of course in a purchase, the driver owns the car outright at the end of the four or five year typical loan term. With a lease you turn in the car and the key and that's that.

Even so, maybe one in four new cars now moves off the dealer lot as a lease, and in luxury car categories, the lease share is well over half. That's why what Nerad is saying will cheer those looking to get new wheels this summer - and note that many good deals expire around July 4. So this is the time to act.

Nerad added this prod to action: "You can inexpensively get cool cars this year."

Like what?

Here are Kelley Blue Book's top six lease deals:

1: Nissan Rogue - Lease offer: 36 months at $189 per month, with $1,899 down. That's for a car that KBB said is worth $25,206. Nissan also offers a purchase deal on the Rogue - 0% interest for 60 months. Put down $2,000, and the monthly note is about $380, and that is twice the lease payment. Not bad for a compact SUV that is widely praised as spacious and fuel efficient.

2: Buick Encore - Lease offer: 39 months at $199 per month, with $2179 down. A subcompact SUV, the Encore is worth about $23626, said KBB. Buying it - at 3.1% with $2000 down - would cost around $365 per month.

3. Chevrolet Trax - Lease offer: 39 months, at $199 per month, but only $1,619 down (a full $500 less than the Encore). KBB pegs the true price at $22,483.

4. Buick Enclave - Lease offer: 39 months at $349 per month, with $2968 down. Figure a monthly note on a typical purchase - with around $3,000 down - to be around $600. A mid-sized, luxury vehicle, KBB puts the price at $37,683. 

5. Kia Sorento - Lease offer: $239 per month, for 36 months, with $1999 down. KBB pegs the price at $25892. A 0 percent purchase plan is available. That monthly note, for 60 months, is about $400.

6. Toyota RAV4 -  Lease is 36 months, $219 per month, with $1,999 down. KBB put the price at $23,387. Buy it on a 60 month note and the ante is about $375 monthly. Another - and very popular - SUV, in many recent months, it has ranked as the top selling SUV. 

You were hoping for something, well, special?

Gary Flom, president of BNF Automotive, a group of dealerships in the New York region, has the offer for you: 2016 Maserati Ghibli S Q4 - $599 per month on a 36 month lease, $4,995 down. The MSRP is $79,800. Miles included in the lease are 5,000 per year (15,000 total); excess miles are $0.60 apiece.

But know this: pull up in a Maserati and you will be greeted with envious stares. And it has all the Italian style you might crave.

Buy the Maserati, by the way, and the monthly note - with a 1.9% special rate now on offer - might be over $1,200.

Do the math, and, in every case, a lease is less expensive per month, sometimes just half of what it would cost to buy the car outright. And at the end of the lease the driver slides into a new lease on another new car. There's never a need to drive aged iron.

But there's also never any equity. That's the trade off.

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