Here are 10 rides you can drive off the lot this July and onto the open road for less than $300 a month.
Here we are smack in the middle of summer, the point in the year when time seems to pass a bit more swiftly as we move toward crisp fall afternoons and (at least for many of us) a harsh winter ahead. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to plan an exhilarating excursion across both open and twisty pavement to get the juices flowing while the days are still long and the weather remains accommodating.
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It’s also one of the best times of the year to lease a new car, with automakers launching special promotions to help prevent their dealers from getting stuck with excess inventory before the 2018 models start arriving. Fortunately, you can avail yourself of both an adrenaline-charged driving experience and a great deal we’ve uncovered on any of 10 performance-minded models.
How hot are the cars? Our picks range from pony cars to pocket-rocket hatchbacks, with a few bona fide European sport sedans thrown in for good measure. How great are the deals? All 10 of our top picks for July are leasing through the end of the month for less than $300 a month with nominal down payments.
Though we’ve identified national offers to the best of our abilities, new-car lease deals often vary from one part of the country to another, so be sure to check automakers’ websites to confirm these and find details on other offers that may be specific to your ZIP code.
$299 a month for 36 months with $2,349 due at signing.
The compact Golf is an eminently practical hatchback, with a large cargo hold, but gets all sportified in GTI guise. It’s sufficiently quick and nimble in the true hot-hatch tradition, with a 210-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four engine with a launch-happy 258 lb-ft of torque under the hood, but can still be relied upon to help a friend move or make a monthly run to Costco.
$209 a month for 36 months with $2,427 due at signing.
Minis enjoy a well-earned reputation for their precise go-kart-like handling and urban-hip demeanor, and for just around $200 a month (this offer varies slightly by region) you can drive a four-door model in its speedier S configuration with a 189-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four engine and a proper six-speed manual transmission.
8. Jaguar XE 25t
$249 a month for 36 months with $3,995 due at signing.
Jaguar takes a stab at the BMW 3-Series with the new-for-2017 XE and it’s one of the better contenders for segment superiority with crisp handling and a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine sending 240 hp to the rear wheels. Unfortunately for purists, an eight-speed automatic transmission, instead of a manual, comes standard here.
7. Ford Mustang
$280 a month for 39 months with $3,635 due at signing.
The original pony car is offered in many performance flavors, with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four model offering just enough pluck and punch (with 310 hp) to remain entertaining, with less weight to toss around than with the similarly powered V6, while still coming wrapped in aggressive exterior styling.
$291 a month for 39 months with $3,501 due at signing.
If the above Fiesta ST is too small for your tastes, try on its compact cousin, the Focus ST. It’s a bit larger and roomier, but is also more powerful, with a 252-hp EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbo-four engine and six-speed stick shift. Unfortunately, we could find no deals on the really hot Focus RS with 350 raging horses. On the other hand, if you’re cash-poor, the more-passive Focus SE is going for $169 a month for 36 months with $1,324 due at signing.
$242 a month for 39 months with $3,089 due at signing.
Ford’s pocket rocket hatchback is quick and nimble, powered by a 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo-four engine that puts 197 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque to the asphalt via a six-speed manual gearbox. If that’s too much fun for you, the less-stirring Fiesta SE is leasing for just $157 a month for 39 months with $2,256 due at signing.
$289 a month for 36 months with $2,999 due at signing.
Another seductive European beauty, the sleek 124 Spider roadster spices things up in an entertaining Asian-Italian fusion, with throwback styling that harkens back to the 1960s' original, and underpinnings and interior controls that are shared with the Mazda MX-5 Miata. It runs on pure Fiat power, however, courtesy of a 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo four with 160 hp and a 184 lb-ft of torque.
3. BMW 320i
$289 a month for 36 months with $3,964 due at signing.
The BMW 3-Series is the compact sport sedan to which all other automakers aspire. You won’t find an M3 at this price, but the base 320i does the job with a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine with 180 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. And it still handles like a dream, careening through the curviest mountain roads or whipping around the corners around town.
$279 a month for 39 months with $3,209 due at signing ($2,709 down for current GM lessees).
Sure, it’s not the rip-roaring Camaro ZL1, or even an SS for that matter, but the LT Coupe offered at this price holds its own with a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that channels a peppy 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque through the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
$299 a month for 24 months with $3,299 due at signing.
The new-for-2017 Giulia is a lusty midsize Italian sports sedan that can run with the best of the bunch and look good doing it. This price is for the otherwise capable base model that packs a peppy 280-horsepower turbo-four that yields a 0-60 mph time around five seconds. Best of all, leasing an Alfa ensures you won’t have to worry about any glitches or gremlins that might surface beyond the car’s warranty period.