Leasing a car isn't for everyone. If you're like me and keep your car for many, many years then leasing isn't for you. If however, you don't get "attached" to a vehicle as some of us do, and you like having a new car every few years then leasing may be for you.
Today's cars are built very well and you can expect to get a good amount of mileage from your car. You can expect at least 100,000 miles. If you purchase a car you may have five years of payments, but your car may last eight to ten years. This means three to five years of no monthly car payments. However, as you car ages, the need for upkeep goes up too. With more mileage on you car things start to break down and costs to keep your car up mechanically may go up. It's doubtful though that what you pay out for maintenance and car repair will ever be as much as monthly payments would be.
When you lease a car you make monthly payments as you would if you purchased a car outright. But, when a lease is up you have nothing to show for it. These monthly payments may be somewhat less than if you were purchaseing the car. Leasing a car usually requires large down payments and security deposits, taxes and fees. It isn't necessarily cheaper up front than purchaseing a car. Also, when you lease a car you have mileage restrictions. A lease generally allows between 12,000 and 15,000 miles annually. If you go over that amount you pay for each mile. This can really add up.
Leasing doesn't mean you don't have to pay for upkeep. You are held to the manufacturers specified servicing schedule for your vehicle. If you don't have the required maintenance performed this can void your lease.
If you want to end the lease early there are generally large termination fees. At the end of your lease if there is damage to the car, or if there are missing parts you will be charged for them.
Make sure if you are considering leasing a vehicle that you understand all the fine print in the contact and all possible extra costs before signing on the dotted line.