Leasing a Wrangler? If You’re Really Cheap, You Might Want to Choose the Newer Model

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

Unlike other vehicles in the Fiat Chrysler lineup, and we could list off a number of them, Jeep’s Wrangler line has a near supernatural ability to hold on to its value. Does worrying about depreciation keep you up at night? Forget that compact sedan and shell out a little more for a Wrangler.

For non-buyers, however, the leases offered by Jeep on both the 2018 JK Wrangler Unlimited and next-generation 2018 JL Wrangler Unlimited present both an opportunity and a mystery. Strangely, the cost of leasing an all-new Wrangler amounts to one dollar a month less than the cost of leasing the old Wrangler. What gives?

After discovering the JL Wrangler’s hidden leasing value, CarsDirect has an easy explanation.

First, some figures. In February, Jeep’s U.S. website shows the old 2018 Wrangler Unlimited Sport leasing for $284 a month for 36 months, with $2,499 due at signing. Listed MSRP is $30,390. In the same configuration, the new model leases for $283 a month for the same term, with the same downpayment. Despite a lower monthly payment, the new model’s MSRP is significantly higher than the outgoing model, at $33,690.

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon

With no incentives available for either model, with both leases offered at the same annual percentage rate, the reason for the discrepancy comes down to the two vehicles’ residual value.

Unlike leasing, say, a Mitsubishi Mirage or Ford Focus, the monthly cost of a JK Wrangler Sport is helped by the fact the vehicle retains 71 percent of its value when the term ends. The lease payment has to cover less depreciation. For the next-generation JL Wrangler, an even higher residual value of 75 percent factors into the payment.

Great news for people wanting to spend three years behind the wheel of the newest Wrangler, right? Not necessarily. The residual factor helps lessees of four-door Unlimited models, but doesn’t do much for two-door lovers. A 2018 JL Wrangler Sport carries a residual value of 66 percent, making it 39 dollars a month more expensive to lease than its four-door sibling. In this case, going big saves you money.

As if two-door vehicles needed another disincentive.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]