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Lease This, Not That: Camry and Accord Compared (Hint: $129/Month, $0 Down)

Cars of the same price and type can cost vastly different amounts of money to lease. Case in point: the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

On paper, these two cars are very similar. Both are midsized family sedans that sell in the hundreds of thousands. Both are available with the same kinds of powertrains (four-banger, V6, and hybrid), and the two have sticker prices and equipment levels that mirror each other. 

The enthusiast press (Car and Driver, et al.) will tell you the Accord is a bit better (because, sporty!) whereas the Camry has the personality of a refrigerator. But what they won't tell you is that one costs significantly less to lease than the other.

2016 Toyota Camry XSE and 2016 Honda Accord Touring (source: DealerFire)

2016 Toyota Camry XSE and 2016 Honda Accord Touring (source: DealerFire)

Second Place: 2016 Honda Accord LX ($223/Month)

We actually prefer the Accord; it's a more harmoniously calibrated and precisely engineered device than the Camry. But none of this will matter to the average consumer who simply wants a spacious, comfortable, safe and reliable car. The price difference is simply too big to ignore, and for that reason, it's coming in second place.

The 2016 Accord LX CVT, Honda's bread and butter, has an MSRP of $23,725. Aim for a selling price of $21,300 (about 3% below the average). Add the $595 acquisition fee, and the net capitalized cost becomes $21,895

Honda estimates that an Accord LX CVT will be worth 58% of its MSRP ($13,761) after 39 months of use at 12,000 miles per year. Therefore, the total depreciation expense is $8,134, or about $208 per month.

The money factor (MF) for the Accord is .00041 (0.98% APR), which will result in a finance charge of about $15 per month. The total lease payment? $223 per month. Program valid through January 4, 2016.

2016 Honda Accord LX (source: hondacars.com)

2016 Honda Accord LX (source: hondacars.com)

Winner: 2016 Toyota Camry SE ($170/Month)

To the vast majority of folks, a 2016 Camry is legitimately a nice car. All Camrys now come with a reversing camera, touchscreen radio with Bluetooth, and power driver's seat; SE trim gets you paddle shifters (sporty!) and alloy wheels.

The 2016 Camry SE has an MSRP of $24,675. Aim for a selling price of $21,235 before incentives (dealers on a popular car buying site are offering that amount). After the $650 acquisition fee and $1,000 Lease Cash, the net capitalized cost becomes $20,885.

Toyota estimates than a Camry SE will be worth 63% of its MSRP ($15,545) after 36 months of use at 12,000 miles per year. Therefore, the total depreciation expense is $5,340, or $148 per month. 

Toyota's MF rates and incentives are highly regional. In Southern California, the Camry has a MF of .00060 (1.44% APR), which will result in a finance charge of about $22 per month. The total lease payment? $170 per month. Program valid through January 4, 2016.

2016 Toyota Camry family (source: toyota.com)

2016 Toyota Camry family (source: toyota.com)

But Wait, There's More ($129/Month)

Toyota Financial Services offers a multiple security deposit (MSD) program that few people know about. By putting down 7 security deposits, the MF drops to .00004 (0.96% APR). This reduces the monthly finance charge from $22 to $2.

Additionally, if you graduated from college within the past two years, or will graduate within the next six months, there is an additional $750 rebate. This will further lower the lease payment to $129 per month.

Here's what you should expect when all is said and done. We've added in Los Angeles County sales tax (9%), license/registration, and fees. Program valid through January 4, 2016.

Total Drive-Off
First month's payment (after 9% tax) $140
DMV license/registration $252
Dealer document fee ($80 max. in CA) $80
Down payment $0
Security deposit (refundable) $1,050
Upfront taxes $165
TOTAL DUE AT SIGNING $1,687

Toyota's lease rates and incentives are regional. Let us know if you have any questions about your region!

December 20, 2015 Update: Toyota also offers a 24-month lease program on Camry. The same MF rates apply, but the residual is 71% for 12,000 miles per year. Going for the 24-month program would actually reduce the sample lease above to $110 per month + tax.

December 28, 2015 Update: We are getting mixed information as to whether MSD can be used on the Camry lease program. It may be regional: readers in the Northeast have reported success, while others have had no luck in Southern California. If you have any insight into this, please share in the comments section below!

December 31, 2015 Update: We have confirmed that MSD cannot be used on the subvented lease rates for Camry. However, some readers have reported getting the same deal without MSD, because they negotiated a lower selling price (approximately $20,600) to make up for the higher money factor. (Source: slickdeals)

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