Leasing a Wrangler? If You're Really Cheap, You Might Want to Choose the Newer Model

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Unlike other vehicles in the Fiat Chrysler lineup, and we could list off a number of them, Jeep’s Wrangler line has a near supernatural ability to hold on to its value. Does worrying about depreciation keep you up at night? Forget that compact sedan and shell out a little more for a Wrangler.

For non-buyers, however, the leases offered by Jeep on both the 2018 JK Wrangler Unlimited and next-generation 2018 JL Wrangler Unlimited present both an opportunity and a mystery. Strangely, the cost of leasing an all-new Wrangler amounts to one dollar a month less than the cost of leasing the old Wrangler. What gives?

After discovering the JL Wrangler’s hidden leasing value, CarsDirect has an easy explanation.

First, some figures. In February, Jeep’s U.S. website shows the old 2018 Wrangler Unlimited Sport leasing for $284 a month for 36 months, with $2,499 due at signing. Listed MSRP is $30,390. In the same configuration, the new model leases for $283 a month for the same term, with the same downpayment. Despite a lower monthly payment, the new model’s MSRP is significantly higher than the outgoing model, at $33,690.

With no incentives available for either model, with both leases offered at the same annual percentage rate, the reason for the discrepancy comes down to the two vehicles’ residual value.

Unlike leasing, say, a Mitsubishi Mirage or Ford Focus, the monthly cost of a JK Wrangler Sport is helped by the fact the vehicle retains 71 percent of its value when the term ends. The lease payment has to cover less depreciation. For the next-generation JL Wrangler, an even higher residual value of 75 percent factors into the payment.

Great news for people wanting to spend three years behind the wheel of the newest Wrangler, right? Not necessarily. The residual factor helps lessees of four-door Unlimited models, but doesn’t do much for two-door lovers. A 2018 JL Wrangler Sport carries a residual value of 66 percent, making it 39 dollars a month more expensive to lease than its four-door sibling. In this case, going big saves you money.

As if two-door vehicles needed another disincentive.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Vulpine Vulpine on Feb 08, 2018

    Considering the resale value, why would ANYBODY lease one?

  • Tstag Tstag on Feb 09, 2018

    That’s interesting on this side of the pond you could write a similar article but substitute the brand Jeep for Land Rover. In the UK the brands that lose the least money are Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes and Audi. Consequently I have a penchant for buying used BMWs as they depreciate more than the aforementioned brands but are also very good premium cars. BMW it seems are flooding the UK lease market so getting a great deal is easy. However my next car will be a Land Rover, question is do I buy new?

    • FORDSHO FORDSHO on Feb 10, 2018

      I just picked up a L494 RANGE ROVER SPORT with the Dynamic Package, corris gray with brown leather interior back in October, has the 5.0L Supercharged V8, Meridian sound, pano roof, etc. Amazing vehicle...I was initially scared away from all of the "reliability horror stories" you hear, but quickly learned through research and talking to actual owners that this applies to the late 90s and 2000s vintage Land Rovers. The 2014+ models have had very minor problems, if any, common of any auto-maker. Only widespread things are an initial run of bad 02 sensors due to a supplier glitch that was fixed mid-model year and some ECU updates to the suspension programming to fix initial glitches in weather below 20 degrees. You will not regret it!

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.