Looking at the upfront cost of most new cars, many will assume that a showroom-fresh ride that’s anything other than a base-spec Dacia Sandero is well out of reach. Increasingly, though, new car buyers are turning to leasing, putting down a much more manageable sum as a deposit and paying a monthly rental cost for anything from 24 to 60 months.
This isn’t just for the humdrum stuff either: there are great lease deals on all kinds of interesting cars, from stylish sports saloons to powerful hot hatches. We’ve rounded up five that have caught our attention, starting at a mere £173 a month. Which tempts you the most?
The base, 1.5-litre version of the current ‘ND’ MX-5 offers all the performance you could ever realistically need. All its little inline-four N/A engine asks is that you give it a jolly good thrashing to extract every last one of its 129 brake horsepowers, something you’ll gladly do here, safe in the knowledge that you’re achieving simple sports car nirvana while barely making a dent in your monthly outgoings.
Approximate cost: £175 pm with a £1559 deposit
Sure, the VW Polo GTI may be one of the less exciting cars in its hard-fought segment, but it makes for a brilliant daily driver, and good residuals make it a thoroughly affordable leasing option. The standard GTI spec is generous, including comfortable yet supporting tartan-trimmed sports seats and a digital cockpit. The car is also well-built, and with 197bhp offered up by its 2.0-litre inline-four turbo engine, it’s fast enough for most.
Approximate cost: £205 pm with a £1849 deposit
The pokier Veloce and Quadrifoglio versions of the Giulia make it all too easy to overlook the base 2.0-litre, inline-four version of the car. But there’s a lot to like here: it still has a healthy 197bhp on offer, making 0-62mph possible in 6.6 seconds. So it’s hardly slow, yet it still looks just as good as the more powerful options and is a lot cheaper to lease than its more potent big brothers.
Approximate cost: £281pm with a £2534 deposit
To get the most possible performance for your monthly-outlaid cash, the M140i might just be as good as it gets. BMW facelifted the fastest 1er - formerly the M135i - in 2016 and switched out the old N55 turbocharged engine. In went a newer, even more powerful big six, creating a car that gives its own M2 a serious run for its money.
You’re looking at 338bhp, 369lb ft of torque, 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and a playful rear-wheel drive chassis all adding up to the performance car lease deal of the century. The replacement for the M140i is likely to be four-wheel drive and powered by a considerably less interesting inline-four cylinder engine, meaning there’s all the more reason to enjoy this often overlooked hot hatch while there’s still time.
Approximate cost: £326.10 with a £2934 deposit
Relatively affordable Porsche ownership doesn’t have to involve rolling the dice on an old Boxster or a leggy 996-generation 911. The 718 Cayman - now the entry-point to the Porsche range after it did a switcheroo with the Boxster a couple of years ago - is a fast car even in base, non-S form, with a 2.0-litre turbocharged flat-four developing 295bhp and cracking 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds.
Yes, that’s not a great deal quicker than the much cheaper and more practical M140i, but the 718 Cayman isn’t some jumped-up hatchback. It’s a proper sports car that’s seriously sharp and rewarding to drive, and it could be on your drive for a smidge over £500 a month.
Approximate cost: £521pm with a £4688 deposit
So far we’ve had sports cars, a sports saloon and a brace of hot hatches. They’re all great, but none have a breadth of abilities quite as impressive as the Range Rover Sport. It handles far better than an SUV has any right to, is roomy, luxurious, and can conquer pretty much any terrain you put under it. As an all-rounder, it’s hard to beat.
The SVR versions are fun and all, but the best Range Rover Sport lease prospect is probably the SDV6. Its V6 turbodiesel engine develops 292bhp and 442lb ft of torque, meaning this leather-lined hulk will dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in just 6.8 seconds.
Approximate cost: £544 pm with a £4,444 deposit
Note: all prices based on 48-month contracts with a nine month initial rent deposits and 5000 annual mileage limit. Longer/shorter terms, larger/smaller deposits and greater mileage limits also available.
Disclosure: This branded post is brought to you by VantageLeasing