Should You Buy or Lease Your Next Car?

Steering wheel

For many, leasing a car can save money with the right finance contract, while for others, buying it may work out more financially beneficial. It's a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons of both before making a final decision.


Buying vs Leasing a Car

The Pros and Cons of Buying:


  • You know it’s always yours and you can do whatever you want with it.

  • You don’t have to worry about being charged for exceeding a mileage limit.

  • The car could make money in years to come (if it’s a rare vehicle, for example), so you may make money if you decide to sell it, or lose nothing if the re-sale value stays the same.

  • Once you’ve paid the car off, you can keep it for however long you want without having to keep up with any more payments (except insurance, etc).



  • You may be tied to the car for a long time and struggle to sell it later on (as it will be an older model).

  • Generally, all cars lose money over time (see Depreciation Value below) - around 60% of their value within the first three years, so you could end up losing out a lot financially if you decided to sell.

  • Depending on your budget, you may have to settle for a cheaper car if you plan on buying, rather than the one you really want.



The Pros and Cons of Leasing:


  • It is possible to choose the car you really want and afford something you might not have been able to before.

  • You can change the car for a newer model once the contract ends, so you’re never stuck with the same car for too long.

  • Payments are usually lower than if you were buying the car.

  • Any maintenance problems with the vehicle are dealt with and covered by the leasing company.

  • Road tax is included as part of the cost, so you don’t need to sort anything out yourself or worry about renewing it.

  • As most leasing contracts last for around three years, you won’t need to arrange an MOT.

  • With some finance contracts, you have the option to keep the car (with a balloon payment) or return it for a new model when the term ends.

  • By signing up for a deal with Complete Leasing, your car will be delivered to your home – so you don’t need to venture out anywhere to get it.



  • The car never belongs to you.

  • You might be charged for going over the mileage limit.

  • If you change your mind throughout the contract and wish to cancel, you may have to pay a fee (depending on the length of time you’ve had the vehicle).

  • You need to arrange your own insurance.

Generally, leasing appears to be more beneficial, but it really depends on your needs and financial situation. If you would like help and advice on which option is best for you, don't hesitate to contact us today.


When deciding between buying or leasing a car, you need to consider the depreciation value. For many, it is the biggest factor when choosing a car, as it can really affect the overall cost of your vehicle.

Depreciation is when the value of a brand new car decreases over time due to general usage and wear and tear.

Ultimately, it is the difference between the amount you paid when you bought it and the value it will be when it comes to selling or part-exchanging it later.

It all depends on the type of car you want and need. If you bought a car for £10,000, for example, you might be losing around £2,000 a year because of depreciation, and it could end up with a selling value of around £4,000 after three years.

If you spent £50,000 on a car, the depreciation could mean losing out on around £10,000 a year, which is a significant financial loss.

Leasing a car means you don’t have to worry about the depreciation value – you simply get a brand new car at the end of the contract and you don't need to be concerned with selling it.

See our full guide Depreciation Explained for more information.

Is it Cheaper to Lease or Buy a Car?

If the car you want is going to depreciate, which is often the case, you’d be saving money by leasing it.

However, if it is going to end up with a resale value you’re happy with – you’d be better off buying the car. Try to get a predicted depreciation value of the car for after three years, and then you can weigh up your options.

Another important factor is mileage. If you travel a lot, take into account how much that is going to cost you over three years and compare it to the price of leasing a car in total. We can help with all of this, just contact us today for further advice.

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)

This is similar to a leasing contract, but it gives you the option to buy at the end of the term. As usual, you pay a deposit and keep up with monthly payments – then when the contract expires, you can make a balloon payment to keep the car or you can return it to the leasing company.

So, looking at the depreciation – if the car is going to be worth less than the original value by the end of the contract, you can hand it back and get another new model. Or, if the value has remained the same or increased, you can keep it and then sell it if you wish.

Due to its flexibility, approximately 80% of new cars are sold on a PCP contract, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

For more detail about a PCP contract or the various ways to finance a car, see our page What is Car Leasing or contact us today for expert advice.

The Best Car Leasing and Finance Deals in the UK

If you’re unsure whether you should buy or lease a car, contact us at Complete Leasing today to speak to one of our experts in vehicle leasing and car finance.

We can find you the car you want and give you the best price based on your needs.


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