In 2014, 2.47 million new cars were registered, up 9% on 2013 and the best annual performance since 2004 – Sounds too good to be true with the economy being where it is? You might be right – 1 in 4 new cars registered is actually a lease.
Popularized in the USA, the UK has taken to vehicle leasing like a duck to water and car leases are a reflection of this, with a 30% increase of leases to purchase since 2012.
An explanation can come in the form of a change in culture and buying habits – who wants to own something that’ll rapidly depreciate or become obsolete when you can stream it, lease it or rent it?
Take mobile phones for example, in the UK most phone contracts are pay monthly and include the payment for not only the phone network, but the phone itself. The same goes for gyms, home rentals with all bills included and now catching up is vehicle leasing.
Demand for the latest in technological advances in safety, entertainment and economical driving ability is pushing more consumers to the idea of leasing over buying. It’s a simple decision, however. After 3 years, the typical lease length, drivers are able to trade in their vehicle for a new one or return it and hand the keys back, no hassle.
The thought of hanging onto a vehicle for more than ten years is not a comfortable one for many, and the peace of mind in knowing that your vehicle is the safest on the market, with all manufacturer warranties intact, is tough to pass up.
Unsurprisingly, with the ability to access luxury cars at an affordable price, luxury cars dominate the UK leasing market. We’ve put together a short guide to what’s in demand, and where, based by city.
The most popular lease cars in the UK
As mentioned, luxury cars are the most popular in the UK when looking at leases. Mercedes comes in at number 1 taking a massive 22% of the lease market, BMW is second with 21% and Audi rolls in shortly after with 18% – these guys clean up. Range Rover is in a distant 4th with 8% share, but the results vary city by city.
London – Range Rover Evoque
The so-called “Chelsea tractor” is as popular as ever in London, with the most searched for Land Rover vehicle being the highly desirable 2015 Range Rover Evoque.
Range Rover’s newest and most stylish vehicle on the market is the Evoque, and is actually one of the most popular SUVs in the United Kingdom. Before production on the model even began, Range Rover had over eighteen thousand orders, and with the stats we shared beforehand, that’s got to be at least 4,500 fully-customized and out on lease contracts – affordable contracts.
Available in both 5 and 3 door styles, the furnishing is pure luxury and comes second to none in its price range. Packing a meaty 2L Turbo 4 Cylinder Engine packs grunt with a quiet, comfortable interior, so it’s equally at home on the motorway, on a fox hunt or parking in a multi-storey in Kensington.
Edinburgh – Audi A3
Number 3 in searches but the Scot’s top choice is Audi’s latest A3 model. This sharp saloon offers fantastic handling, luxurious interior and practical features that set presidents for the rest of the market. The A3 comes in various body styles, including a three-door hatch, five-door Sportback, Cabriolet and a four-door saloon. Additionally, all four body styles are available in sporty S3 guise, which features quattro 4-W drive and a 296 BHP 2.0 TFSI turbo petrol engine.
The handsome, Bauhaus-inspired design hasn’t changed radically in the years since the B5; the A3 looks instantly familiar but oh-so new. So it comes at no surprise that it’s so popular, plus with precise steering and 220HP, you’ll never be too far from a lease Audi in Edinburgh.
Cardiff – BMW X5
The BMW X5 is surprisingly agile for such a big luxury SUV, and most of its engines offer strong performance and good fuel economy. Rear space is better than in many rivals too so it’s third generation has come along in leaps and bounds.
The X5 is among the best-rounded SUVs in the class, critics say, because of its powerful engines, outstanding fuel economy and poised handling. Possibly not chosen due to Welsh weather, but the sunroof is a panoramic, push-button start, front and rear parking sensors, plus BMW’s iDrive infotainment system give it serious pulling power, no wonder it’s a popular lease.
Belfast – Toyota Yaris
Belfast is an odd one, and the luxury lease car market isn’t as rampant as over on the mainland. In Belfast, searches for leases are a little more sensible as the top brand being Toyota with the latest Yaris coming up on top.
The Yaris is a force to be reckoned with through, and with its compact looks yet spacious interiors, the Japanese-German car ticks all the right urban boxes.
Offering up excellent reliability and sharp handling, the Yaris’s most popular trim level is the “Icon” level, combined with its punchy 1.33L Petrol engine, there more than enough power to tackle the highway as well as the country roads or city streets.