Looking for the best SUVs to lease? First, determine how much vehicle you need and the type of capabilities you want, such as passenger and cargo capacity and off-road ability. Then look at performance, style, amenities and price. Manufacturers offer their best lease rates on models that they want to move, so factor that in as well. Don’t forget to check amount due at signing, amount of your trade (if any), lease term (months), lease rate (percentage), over-mileage penalty at lease end, purchase price option at end of lease, as well as local lease deals.

Here are three top picks for Best SUVs to Lease, ranging from the low-end to luxury models.

  • Kia SoulIn the under $20,000 price range, the all-new 2010 Kia Soul urban crossover car-based hatchback with SUV styling offers versatility and excellent fuel economy – and good lease rates, especially for young buyers. AOL Autos highlights Soul, saying “Kia has put an attractive lease [$179/month for 36 months, $1,999 due at signing] on its quirky new multi-purpose vehicle to get it out on the road and give it some exposure.” Edmunds comments “Soul is the first Kia to appeal to one’s emotions as well as more practical concerns like value, features, space and warranty.” Downsides are limited cargo room, noisy ride, and unrefined manual transmission.
  • Nissan PathfinderAppealing to those who want a car-like and truck-like SUV, the midsize Nissan Pathfinder has room enough for seven, third-row seating, tow a 6,000-pound trailer, and go off-road with ease. Edmunds hails its ergonomic cabin, plenty of V6 and V8 power, generous storage room and towing capability, while knocking fuel economy and cramped 2nd– and 3rd-row seats. Automotive.com notes estimated lease rates at 2.568 percent for 24- and 36-month terms.
  • Audi Q5Moving up to the luxury category, the car-based crossover 5-passenger Audi Q5 is, according to Edmunds, “one of the best bets for consumers in search of a fun-to-drive yet practical compact luxury crossover.” Other plusses include excellent crash test scores, sporty handling, firm and supple ride. But there’s below-average cargo capacity and artificial steering feel. U.S. News and World Report puts Q5 at the top of its luxury compact SUVs, saying it “provides one of the best combinations of spectacular performance, an ultra-luxury cabin and a stunning interior in its class.” Automotive.com lists estimated 24- and 36-month lease rates at 2.592 percent a month.

Other considerations for Best SUVs to Lease include the Honda CR-V, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and Volkswagen Tiguan.

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