If you’ve wondered why there are a slew of brand-new vehicles on your morning commute despite the economic downturn, then you might be interested to know that more than 25% of all new vehicles on Britain’s roads last year were not actually owned by their drivers – they were leased.

Popularised in the US some decades ago, the phenomenon has spread to the UK and taken the new car market by storm. Recent statistics show that the percentage of leasing is up by about 30% on 2012 numbers, so it would appear leasing a vehicle is the new norm.

Taking this into account, it’s not just the amount of cheap deals on offer, but a cultural mind-set. Although, with 3 or 4 year leases costing less than the VAT on a new vehicle purchase, it’s no wonder that leases have increased in popularity.

It’s a cultural change too, not just economic. Consumer spending habits have evolved – ownership is seen as a burden, not an asset. Indeed, what good is an asset if it’s depreciating? With phone contracts, internet access, rent and holidays available on fixed term payment contracts, why wouldn’t you lease your vehicle?

The demand for the latest technology is also driving motorists towards the world of leasing. With today’s must-have gizmo tomorrow’s trash, it can be daunting to think of owning a vehicle that will technologically be out of date in 10 years, not to mention the added hassle of resale, initial costs and financial deadweight owning a depreciating vehicle can cause.

Typically, leases return their vehicle within 3 years and are able to upgrade their vehicle to the latest model on a similar rate to what they’ve paid with none of the problems associated with depreciate, maintenance or repairs as new vehicles are customized, factory fresh and come with manufacturer warranties.

But, the scene in the UK changes when it comes to the luxury car market. Luxury cars have always been a greater percentage of the lease market than regular cars. The company Vertu Lease Cars had a look at some of the top lease car searches in the UK to determine who’s on top, and where the hotspots are. Check out their findings below:

The most popular lease cars in the UK

As mentioned, the standard lease car market is incredible affordable, often with many models coming in at less than £100 a month over the course of the lease contract. Mercedes Benz is the daddy of the UK market with almost a quarter (22%) of all lease car searches. They’re followed by BMW at 21% and chased finally by Audi with 18% of the market. Overall, these are the winners, but there are certain hotspots where different models are popularized. We’ve looked at the capital cities of the UK to see who’s leasing what.

London – Range Rover Evoque

Overall fourth in the UK lease searches, Range Rover’s most popular model and London’s favourite is the Evoque.
Proving incredibly popular, the Evoque was pre-ordered by more than 18,000 drivers before it went into production, and they’re still on waiting lists today.

Not surprisingly, the Evoque is one of the UKs most popular SUV’s too with its head-turning look, and customizability. Coming in both 3 and 5 door models, luxury inside is paramount. High quality materials and engineered components mean that it’s 2 L turbo engine lets the Evoque breakaway on the open road in comfort and style. As you might have seen, the “Chelsea tractor” is also capable off-road, but footballers and celebs joining in, you’re just likely to see the Evoque in a London borough as on a muddy back road.

Edinburgh – Mercedes A Class

The most popular searched for lease car in the UK, and Edinburgh is the Mercedes A Class. Now in its third generation, released in 2012, it’s a serious contender in the premium hatchback market. The new Mercedes A Class is better looking than any previous model but with surprising interior features to boot. It now includes a majorly improved plush interior, tons of the latest sound and entertainment technology with a competitive engine range for its category class.

A secret to the popularity of the A Class may be due to the range of engines and specs on offer, with the lowest-price A180 SE starting off the model line-up and the super-fast A45 AMG hot hatch being at the top end of the market.

Cardiff – BMW X5

Number two as the most searched for lease car in the UK is the BMW X5, and number one in Cardiff. The X5 is also in its third generation and is one of the more comfortable SUVs to drive. Coming with a great dynamic ability both in urban and rural environments, it can handle anything that’ thrown at it – be it the muddy wild, or just your shopping. This luxury BMW model also gives more comfort and practicality than all previous models.

Belfast – Toyota Yaris

Surprisingly, the Northern Irish have a popular lease model that’s not a luxury car with the Toyota Yaris winning as most searched for lease vehicle. The Yaris is nothing to be looked down at through, with a fantastic track record of reliability and a roomy interior, the funky city-car Yaris has all that Belfast could want.

With the top trim level, Icon coming with a surprisingly spacious passenger and driver experience, the 1.33 L petrol engine packs enough punch for city slickers and country goes alike. Its sleek styling has the right curves, and new available projector-beam headlights and an oversize blacked-out grille adds attitude, no wonder it’s the number one lease car in Belfast.


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