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How long can you lease a car?

Learn more about the usual lease contract length.
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Summary
  • Car leases in the UK typically last 24-48 months but can range from 12-60 months.
  • Traditional car leases in the UK don't usually offer month-to-month options.
  • Car subscription services provide a flexible alternative to traditional leases.
  • A car subscription is a flexible, all-inclusive monthly service that covers costs such as insurance, maintenance, breakdown cover and road tax as part of one flat monthly fee.
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When it comes to car leases, the length of time you'll be driving that shiny new motor can vary quite a bit. On average, most car lease agreements in the UK last 24 to 48 months, but you have some flexibility. 

You can sometimes find shorter leases of 12 months or longer ones of up to 60 months if you prefer. Just remember that the lease length will impact your monthly payments – shorter leases typically come with higher payments, while longer leases might be easier on your wallet. 

The way it works is you pay a fixed monthly fee for a certain period of time and then return the car at the end of the lease contract.

How long is a car lease?

Figuring out the ideal length for your car lease can be a balancing act, but we're here to help you make sense of it all. While lease lengths can range from 12 to 60 months, the most common options you'll come across are 24, 36, and 48 months.

Let's dive into the details to find the best lease length for you.

Short-term leases (12-24 months)

These might be a good fit if you love changing cars frequently and always driving the latest models. They are great for short-term commitments or if you're on a temporary work assignment.

But be warned, the monthly payments for these shorter leases will likely be higher, as you're covering the car's depreciation at a faster rate.

Mid-term leases (36 months)

These are popular for being the "sweet spot" for many drivers. With a 3-year lease, you get a nice balance between enjoying a new car for a decent amount of time and not having excessively high monthly payments.

Plus, most cars come with a 3-year manufacturer's warranty in the UK, meaning you'll be covered for repairs and servicing during the entire lease.

Long-term leases (48-60 months)

If you want to keep your monthly payments as low as possible, a longer lease might be the way to go. This option lets you spread the cost over a more extended period, but you'll have to stick with the same car for longer. 

Be cautious about going beyond 48 months, though, as the manufacturer's warranty may expire, and you could end up with costly repairs or maintenance. These are some of the longest car leases available, but they are only sometimes the most cost-effective option.

Next, to decide which lease length is right for you, there are a few key considerations:

Budget

How much can you comfortably afford for monthly payments? Shorter leases come with higher payments, while longer leases may be more affordable. This applies to electric car leasing too!

Driving habits

How many miles do you drive per year? Most leases have annual mileage limits, and exceeding those can lead to costly penalties.

Lifestyle

Are you likely to need a different type of vehicle in the near future due to changes in your family or work situation? If so, a shorter lease might be better.

Preferences

Do you enjoy driving the latest models or prefer sticking with a reliable car for longer? Your preference for change should also influence your decision.

Leasing a car on a monthly basis

We understand why the flexibility of a month-to-month car lease might sound appealing. However, traditional car lease agreements in the UK typically don't offer month-to-month options. 

Most leases start at a minimum of 12 months, and any shorter lease deals are either hard to find or get approved for, or the monthly payment is too expensive. 

But don't fret! If you're looking for shorter-term car usage, consider a monthly car subscription service! A subscription may be suitable for you if you:

  • Enjoy driving new cars frequently with cutting-edge features.
  • Avoid high upfront costs and long-term lease contract commitments.
  • Skip car ownership hassles like depreciation, maintenance, and selling.
  • Embrace flexibility to swap cars or adjust mileage allowances depending on your needs.
  • Switch between various car types, including electric, hybrid, and premium models.

Tips for getting the best car subscription deal

Navigating the vehicle subscriptions to find the best deal might seem daunting as there are a few services out there, but fear not! 

We're here to give you some helpful tips to make the process as smooth as possible. 

Shop around and compare

Take your time to research different providers and compare their offers. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and make sure you understand the terms and conditions. 

Make a list of what's essential for you, such as mileage limits, delivery fees or deposits, and the types of cars available.

We have a very handy guide which compares the best UK subscription providers and their pros and cons.

Look for promotions and discounts

Keep an eye out for seasonal promotions, discounts, or referral programmes offered by vehicle subscription providers. You could potentially save a significant amount of money, so it's well worth the extra effort.

Read reviews

Look for reviews from other customers to learn about their experiences with various providers. This can give you a better idea of the quality of service, potential issues, and how the company handles customer concerns.

Consider your mileage needs

Car subscription providers often have different mileage packages, usually from 750 miles to 1,000 miles per month. Make sure you select the one that suits your driving habits to avoid extra charges. If you're unsure, it’s often possible to start with a lower mileage package and upgrade later if needed.

Flexibility & add ons

Flexibility can be a crucial factor in car subscriptions. Inquire about how easy it is to swap cars, return the vehicle, or change your plan. This information could help you decide on the most suitable provider for your lifestyle.

Examine the car selection

Each provider may offer a unique range of vehicles, from electric to luxury cars. Consider which type of vehicle you're most interested in driving and whether the provider's fleet matches your preferences.

Understand the fees and costs

Apart from the subscription fee, there may be additional costs like joining fees, delivery charges, or excess mileage fees. Make sure to ask about these so you won't face any surprises down the road.

Consider your credit score

A good credit score may help you secure a better deal. If your credit rating needs improvement, you might want to work on that first to enhance your chances of getting a great car subscription offer.

By keeping these tips in mind and taking your time to explore the market, you'll be in a great position to find the car subscription deal that best suits your needs and budget. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!

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