Part of the small print in the Cash for Clunkers legislation is that it can only be applied to leases with terms of at least five years. Most lease deals are for much shorter terms — two to three years — because the allure of a lease is that you get out of a car and into a new one quickly.
Toyota is one of the few automakers we’ve heard of that will offer five-year leases, created just for the program. The 60-month leases are available for the Yaris, Corolla, Camry, RAV4 and Tacoma. One sample offer for a Yaris lease lists a headline-grabbing monthly payment of $79 per month for 60 months. The money you’d have to pay up front is $5,229, but if you deduct the $4,500 Cash for Clunkers credit, you’d end up paying $729 up front.
How much would it cost you to buy a Yaris in the same scenario and own it outright at the end of the term? Financed at 2.9% for 60 months, with that same down payment, it would be $125.03 a month, not including tax or destination.
The lease also allows you to drive only 12,000 miles a year. Offers vary by region.