I currently lease a 2008 Ford Fusion SEL 5 speed, loaded with heated leather, sunroof, SYNC. It has under 20,000 miles with 2 payments left. The lease end buyout is $14,100. I am debating whether to buy out my lease for cash, or just by a beater – I was thinking of a 1998 Ford Contour SVT in the $2500 range. I am about to start a 5 year sprint to pay off my mortgage, so I don’t want endless repair bills during this time. Buy the lease, or buy the beater?
Steve Lang: We have an old saying in the horse country of upstate New York. “It’s not the horse, it’s the rider.” When it comes to cars, it’s not really the type of car that’s important, it’s the driver. How a used vehicle is driven and maintained before you get the keys will usually be the biggest factor in your own ownership experience.
Having said that I’m not a personal fan of Ford Contours. However your current ride is a bit overpriced as well and given that you have the desire to pursue a debt free life, I would pursue the beater route. Just find something that is comfortable and mildly entertaining if you must. But to be honest your footwear is going to have a far greater impact on your life than the car that you drive. I would save the money and smile forever.
Sajeev Mehta: I’ve never been a fan of leases for individuals who can’t reap it’s inherent tax benefits. Your buyout is close to the asking price of a used Fusion at retail pricing, which isn’t terribly thrilling to Steve Lang. I’d buy the Fusion to ensure having a solid car with a service history. If you don’t have the time to hassle with buying someone else’s problems, that is.
Like to a 2004-ish Taurus. They are close to indistructable with regular fluid changes so you can live debt free. And fast of foot with the Duratec motor, if you grab some SHO suspension bits for next to nothing. You might not even miss the Contour if you go this route. If I’m wrong, console yourself with the money you’re saving every month. That usually works.