Are you a road hog or mileage hoarder?
The typical car lease imposes a penalty on miles driven above an annual limit such as 15,000 miles.
"Some leases now limit you to 10,000 miles per year, so a lease really only makes sense if you don't intend to drive the car much at all," D'Arruda says.
If you have a long commute or frequently take long-distance vacations by car, you may be better off buying.
"If you lease your car, you won't be as free to be spontaneous about road trips," says Yochim. "Look at your current driving habits, and estimate how many miles you drive per year to make sure you won't exceed the limit."
Yochim says car leases are negotiable, so you may be able to negotiate a reduction in the excess mileage penalty or an increase in the number of allowable miles. Just be sure to negotiate this at the beginning of your lease because it's unlikely you can change the terms when you turn in the car.